Unnamed sources are telling Bloomberg that Apple plans to overhaul iTunes by the end of the year, marking one of the largest changes to the platform since its original 2003 debut. This change will include a deeper integration of its iCloud file storage service so that users can better access and manage their music, videos and apps across different Apple gadgets.
The news arrives as rumors begin to boil regarding the supposed Apple iTV. One of the reported features Apple has been hammering out regarding the unannounced device is the ability to better share content across multiple iOS platforms. More specifically, Apple wants to provide customers with the ability to start a movie on one Apple device, and then continue later on with another iOS device.
As Google discovered over the past year after the launch of Android tablets, a strong multimedia platform is essential in selling tablet hardware. In the last quarter alone, Apple's iTunes has generated almost $1.9 billion USD -- it's the largest link between Hollywood, record companies, book publishers and the general consumer. A major overhaul will reportedly have implications for a media industry that has seemingly been shaped by Apple's virtual storefront.
According to sources, the overhaul is intended to improve how people manage all their files. This will include how customers will discover new media, and how they will access their stocked library across multiple iOS devices. Improving discovery will mean offering tools that will make sharing music easier. One source said Apple is actually negotiating with record labels so that users can listen to a song sent to them from a friend for free, similar to what Google offers.
As for the iCloud aspect, Apple plans to fix problems associated with the way users organize their storage so that it's not such a chore. Other changes coming to iTunes include creating separate applications for features like podcasts, additional multimedia for music like photos and videos, and an expansion into Asia.
Bloomberg reports that music labels have been urging Apple to offer a music-subscription service similar to Spotify, but Apple is unlikely to announce that type of service, sources said.