Apple to Overhaul ITunes, App Store

Apple to Overhaul ITunes, App Store

Apple will redesign its iTunes and App stores, ramping up competition against media-streaming rivals Amazon and Google with more interactive and easier-to-use services.

The Cupertino, Calif.-based company revealed its redesign plans to record labels and entertainment companies yesterday, 9to5Mac reported, offering few details other than it expects to launch the overhauled iTunes and App stores for the desktop OS first, then follow up with refreshed iOS versions.

The redesign will coincide with the latest Mac OS update, OS X “Mountain Lion,” which will integrate third-party services with Apple’s desktop ecosystem, including social networking, music listening and media streaming.

Mountain Lion will bring the Mac desktop and iOS mobile experiences closer, extending the “feel” of the iPhone and iPad to the Mac environment. This move will both strengthen Apple’s brand and enable users to easily access Apple’s services from any one of its products, sharing media between mobile and desktop devices.

The redesign will also make it easier for users to find songs, movies, television shows, apps and other content, and is expected to engage users more thoroughly with Apple’s online stores by adding new, interactive elements.

Apple faces pressure from rivals as the market for streaming content and apps grows more dense, and its pending iTunes overhaul is one response to the increasing competition.

Google will gain power to integrate hardware and software with its Motorola acquisition, providing new avenues for the search giant to push music, video and social media offerings into people’s homes on a variety of computers and connected devices.

New hardware will tie into Google’s growing entertainment offerings, such as YouTube and Google Music, providing more competition for iTunes and pressuring Apple to provide a fresher, more interactive experience to keep pace.

Amazon is also emerging as a digital content powerhouse. The company’s Kindle Fire tablet is proving a low-cost iPad challenger, giving customers a new way to enjoy the books, movies and shows Amazon has been providing to computer users for years. Amazon is expanding its “Prime” service offerings, and is fast becoming a one-stop shopping experience for Kindle users to find digital content.

When Apple launched iTunes and the App Store, they were revolutionary and provided an entirely new way for people to access and enjoy digital music, movies and other content. Now, consumers have alternative choices for digital entertainment, forcing Apple to step up its game and compete with offerings that grab users’ attention in a crowded marketplace.

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