iTunes may be one of the best products that Apple ever developed, or at the very least, one of the smartest. Just a few weeks ago Apple released iTunes 11 with a myriad of visual and technical changes and improvements. iTunes will turn 12 years old in January, and in those years Apple has found a way to streamline, connect, condense, and centralize a userâ€™s content and multimedia experience. With that in mind, I think itâ€™s worth looking at a few of the existing features, the new ones in iTunes 11, and the future ones planned for next year to see just how theyâ€™ll continue to do that.
First letâ€™s look at how Apple already connects users and their content across multiple devices. One of the earliest features that did this was the â€śLibrary Sharingâ€ť feature that enables users to share their library across 5 devices connected to the same network using the same Apple ID. This was great because a user could have a whole collection on their desktop computer and access that same collection on their laptop. With this feature, users can also share content with other people on their WiFi network.
A similar feature thatâ€™s been out for a few years is AirPlay. AirPlay allows users to stream media from one device across multiple devices on their WiFi network. For example, a user can start listening to an album or playlist in one room and stream it to their home stereo in their living room. Users can even adjust which devices are playing at what time and the volume of those individual devices. Apple TV even lets users stream a movie from their computer on their Apple TV. Of course, all of these devices are controllable with an iPhone, iPod, or iPad.
Finally, with iTunes 11 and the updated iTunes store, all of a userâ€™s downloads are automatically synced to the iCloud and accessible by any other iCloud capable device. This means a song downloaded in the iTunes store on your computer will be available on your iPod or iPhone. A similar service, iTunes Match, was released last year and allows users to pay an annual fee to have any of their music in their library uploaded to the iCloud, whether it was purchased or available in the iTunes store or not. These services could prove to be interesting competitors for Spotify, Rhapsody, Amazon, and other streaming/cloud based music delivery services.
Lastly, Apple recently announced that it will launch its own streaming radio service to compete with Pandora in the first few months of 2013. Like the aforementioned services, it will be available across iPhones, iPods, iPads, Macs, and PCâ€™s as part of iTunes.
With all of these developments that have made Apple products so seamlessly integrated into a personâ€™s life, it seems Tim Cook is moving forward to fulfill Steve Jobsâ€™ goal of having an Apple device in every home. Cloud storage and online streaming is all the rage right now, and Appleâ€™s solutions could prove to be big problems for its competitors. With so many solutions to a userâ€™s content needs, why would they bother going elsewhere?
CEO of The All Access Group