Along with the announcement of the new iPhone 5, Apple announced some big changes to its iconic music and media store iTunes.
The new iTunes’ iOS store app redesign optimizes the screen to focus more on products (such as music, apps, and games). The redesign also enables you to play music while browsing the store and added more options to share via Twitter and Facebook. Apple says two-thirds of all sales come from iOS, which is surprising considering the desktop has been so dominant in the past.
But that doesn’t mean Apple is ignoring the desktop version. The new iTunes store has plenty of new features and U.I. changes. Albums now expand when you click on them to show the contents, sort of like a detailed folder. Albums also have a new feature called “In the store” that shows you top songs, and related albums. The artists can even share photos within this new view.
Also, the U.I. is now split-up so that you can add songs to a playlist while still browsing the store. The new iTunes revises the mini-player and search functionality and adds a new “upcoming” window that shows what’s about to play next.
Overall, it seems like Apple is unsurprisingly trying to merge the iTunes iOS experience with the desktop. Much of this should be easier to do since the new iTunes version comes with iCloud built-in. Obviously, we won’t know if this enhances the experience or annoys the heck out of us until we play around with it.
The new version of iTunes for desktops (iTunes 11?) should be available in late October, according to the company.
Apple didn’t, however, make any mention of a subscription-based music service.
Last week, Apple was first rumored to be launching its own version of Pandora’s “smart radio”service, which would allow the company to compete against the multitude of streaming music rivals. And while Pandora’s business isn’t exactly proving lucrative at the moment, Apple could be more focused on keeping its customers on company-branded products instead of jumping ship to competitors like Samsung and HTC — both of which are planning their own streaming music offerings. Sony already provides its users with an option for a monthly streaming subscription service, and Microsoft is about to rebrand its Zune streaming music service under the Xbox name.
It’s possible we might hear more information about a music in October, which is when Apple is rumored to stage yet another event.
Photo by Dean Takahashi/VentureBeat