Say Hello to This New Apple Product

It took a month longer than expected, but Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) finally released a significantly redesigned iTunes on Thursday. The new version of the media service was expected to arrive at the end of last month, but Apple said then that it needed more time to get the program ready for public use. Perhaps a case of once bitten, twice shy, after the maps disaster?

How Has iTunes Changed?

iTunes 11 is pretty much a overhaul of the look and feel of the program, while adding much improved and tighter integration with the company’s iCloud. There are new library views, a redesigned mini player, a feature called Up Next for queuing new songs in a playlist, and iCloud playback syncing of media. The iTunes Store has been redesigned for a cleaner look and includes Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) integration, while the search function turns up quicker results.

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What are the Implications of the Changes?

With more than 435 million registered iTunes payment accounts, changes to the software, which allows for downloads of music, movies, television shows, and software applications, affect the media industry as a whole. Apple is also clearly getting more serious about music and is even rumored to be contemplating launching a rival to online radio Pandora (NYSE:P).

How Could it Affect Apple’s Stock?

Any new product release — hardware or software — has the potential of acting as a positive catalyst to the stock. Not only is iTunes a direct source of revenue for Apple, it also contributes to sales of its devices, especially with changes like seamless syncing.

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