Apple Inc. (AAPL) unveiled a new version of its iTunes media service, overhauling its look and feel while integrating it more closely with the company’s iCloud Internet- storage service.
The iPhone maker, which planned to release the upgrade last month, said it needed more time to get it ready. Changes to the iTunes store are intended to make it easier to search for content and discover new material, Cupertino, California-based Apple said when it previewed the changes earlier this year.
The update is one of the biggest Apple has made to iTunes since its debut more than a decade ago. Under Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook, Apple is working to improve the tools that helped make it the largest seller of music while giving customers added incentive to buy more of its other products.
The company is seeking to make it easier for people to access media content from various Apple devices without having to plug them into a desktop. With the iCloud integration, if a user starts a movie on an iPad computer tablet, it can be restarted at the same point on a different device later.
The changes have broad implications for the media industry because, with more than 435 million registered accounts, it’s the largest gateway for people to legally download music, movies, television shows and software applications. In Apple’s last fiscal year, iTunes and related media services generated $8.53 billion in revenue.
The new design of iTunes moves away from the spreadsheet format that Apple has featured since its debut. The update adds more art and information about musicians, movies and television shows. It also adds recommendation features so users can find new material.
While Apple is offering new features, it’s not matching those of Spotify Ltd. and Rdio Inc. Instead of selling downloads, those Internet music services have gained traction by offering users unlimited access to entire song libraries for a subscription fee or listening to advertisements. Apple isn’t shifting to that “all-you-can-eat” model with this update.
Apple rose 1.1 percent to $589.36 in New York. The shares have jumped 46 percent this year.
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