iTunes to become an offline/online multimedia giant.

by Mike
Posted December 10th, 2009 at 2:27 pm
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itunesAs if iTunes wasn’t already massive enough, Apple’s recent purchase of La La could spell a tidal wave of change making it’s way though Cupertino. For the longest time, Apple has stood against the onslaught of online streaming services such as Last.fm and Pandora to name a couple, saying that “consumers would rather own their content”. Fair enough. I in fact would rather “own” my content as opposed to paying a set fee every month to “borrow”/stream content with no physical or digital back up of my own. In one fell swoop by purchasing La La, Apple completely wiped out any recollections I had of them trying to fight the advancement of online/streaming services. La La itself was a very unique online offering to say the least. The service would scan your hard drive in search of media content. Whatever content was on your hard drive you were allowed to stream for free via La La. Any content on La La’s site that you didn’t own you had the option of streaming one time for $0.10 or purchasing the song outright. Talk about innovative and cool!

Further bolstering this whole “tidal wave of change” at Apple comes by the fact that permanent positions within the company were made for several exec’s of La La to likely further develop iTunes and push it ahead in the realm of streaming content.

Going back to La La’s old model highlights one key thing: If Apple were in fact looking to relaunch iTunes as a new monster, streaming content, storing vast libraries, and allowing users to purchase music aside from streaming would no doubt require a huge amount of storage space. Apple already has some pretty beefy servers. But taking on something as large as they’re suspected of doing would require a completely separate facility. Could this be the facility Apple was scouting earlier this year in North Carolina?

The clues all point to an obvious answer. The answer of course being that Apple’s acquisition of La La wasn’t a “just because we can” move. At the very least, iTunes will be gaining some pretty cool streaming features and services within the app with more involved solutions being a full migration of iTunes to the web to Apple opening up their own streaming service removed from iTunes. If you’re asking why Apple would want to do that, I can only say “bloat”. iTunes while universally recognized as “the” music player/digital music store of choice by countless millions, the increasing amount of work Apple is requiring of one of it’s most popular projects is beginning to show. iTunes just isn’t as fast, simple, or easy as it used to be. A separate streaming solution either as a web app of sorts or complete website service all on it’s own would still be unique and relieve the iTunes app/name itself of being so weighted down.

Though until Apple officially announces anything or insiders close to the plans get a case of loose lips, it’s all speculation and dreams for us. What is Apple working on? What does the future have in store for Apple, iTunes, and the way we consume content as a whole?

TUAW > Mac Rumors


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