Apple to Update iTunes with iCloud Integration, Music Sharing

Apple is planning to give its iTunes media player program a makeover later this year, which is to include new ways of sharing music and further iCloud integration.

ITunes has been Apple’s media player since January 2001. It is used for playing, downloading and organizing digital video and music files on a desktop/laptop computer or mobile Apple devices like the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. Currently, there are over 28 million songs and 45,000 movies in the iTunes store.

The two major changes Apple is looking to make to iTunes are new ways for sharing and discovering content, and increased iCloud integration.

Social networking seems to be a key feature in most services today, since social giant Facebook took the world by storm and proved to be a major success. Apple is now looking to do the same by making it easier for iTunes users to share songs. According to anonymous Apple sources, the tech giant is talking with record labels to obtain rights that would allow users to send a song to a friend for free.

In addition, Apple wants social networks Facebook and Twitter to play a part in the iTunes update, where users can share music that they’re listening to on either site.

ICloud integration is another key feature update that will be revealed later this year. ICloud is a cloud storage and cloud computing service that was released in June 2011, and it is used to store data like music files on remote computer servers and can be shared on multiple devices such as the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

Apple is looking to use iCloud in the iTunes update to help users organize all of their libraries of music, photos, videos and applications.

Other upcoming changes include separate applications for new features in iTunes, such as Podcasts; band photos and videos for more multimedia features, and iTunes’ expansion into Asia, where digital stores will open in Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and nine other locations.

Speaking of cloud computing, Apple is hoping to build a new data center for iCloud in Reno, Nevada, which will open up approximately 500 construction jobs. Once completed, about 230 direct jobs and 90 indirect jobs would become available. Apple predicts that the data center would create a $1 billion economic impact in the region over a 10-year period.