Bloomberg reported earlier today that Apple will be making significant changes to iTunes for its next major release (iTunes 11?), this according to those with “direct knowledge of the matter”. As part of the overhaul, iTunes will include deeper iCloud Integration, which will help make it easier for users to access all their media files from various iDevices. Perhaps even more significant, will be an improved experience for discovering content, primarily through a new song sharing feature that would allow friends to listen for free. Currently through the (doomed) Ping service found on iTunes, users can only listen to 30 second previews of songs that have been recommended by friends.
On the improved content discovery:
With an increasing amount of content available on the store, the overhaul is intended to improve how people manage all their files, one person said. That includes changes to how users find new material and how they access what they already own on different Apple devices, said one person.
One of the main ways Apple will attempt to improve discovery is by making it easier for people to share songs, a popular feature of Spotify Ltd.’s music-subscription service. Apple has been negotiating with major record labels for rights that would let a user listen to a song sent to them from a friend for free, one person said.
As for deeper iCloud integration integration into iTunes, Bloomberg writes:
Customers also use the software to activate and update iPhones, iPads and iPods, as well as to synchronize their libraries of music, videos, photos and applications. Yet as more content is being stored on people’s mobile devices, organizing all that material has become increasingly difficult. The further integration of the iCloud Internet-based storage service is aimed at fixing some of those problems, according to the people familiar with the changes.
The report goes on to say that Music labels have been urging Apple to follow in Spotify’s footsteps by offering unlimited access to songs via a monthly fee, but one person familiar with the overhaul doesn’t believe that Apple will be offering such a service.
As for when this new and improved version of iTunes will see the light of day, Apple will supposedly launch it by year’s end.