At a Wednesday morning press conference in San Francisco dominated by iPhone 5 news, Apple also announced that it would open up iTunes to Facebook and Twitter integration in October, among other changes the company will make to its online marketplace.
The move effectively shelves Apple's previous internal efforts at creating its own social network for music listeners, called Ping. Instead, iTunes users will be able to "like" songs and "share" their iTunes purchases on Facebook and Twitter.
Apple made several other modifications to iTunes, which has more than 200 million customers. These include:
- Concert information on artist pages;
- A new interface designed to have a cleaner, simpler look and feel more intuitive;
- Playlists that are hidden until users need them;
- Improved search functions; and
- Built-in iCloud integration to allow users to access their iTunes-purchased music, books, movies and apps on any other Apple device.
Apple has sold more than 20 billion songs since it launched iTunes in 2001, making it the world's largest music retailer, online or otherwise. The store has a catalog of more than 26 million songs.
Contrary to recent rumors, Apple did not discuss whether it will launch a streaming radio service. According to two executives familiar with the talks but not authorized to speak publicly, the Cupertino, Calif., technology company has been negotiating music licenses with several major record companies in order to be able to offer an Internet radio feature on iTunes.
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