Apple today is introducing iTunes 7, and the company says this is the most significant enhancement to its popular music jukebox and online music and video store since it debuted in 2001.
The iTunes 7 delivers new features such as the new album and Cover Flow views of music, TV shows and movies, enabling users to quickly find titles in their library as well as casually browse through and re-discover titles they already own.
In addition, the iTunes Store is now offering over 75 movies from Walt Disney Pictures, Pixar, Touchstone Pictures and Miramax Films, that customers can purchase and download to watch on their computers and iPods, and soon on their flat screen televisions with Apple’s upcoming iTV player.
Movies will become available on the iTunes Store the same day they are released on DVD, with new releases priced at US$12.99 when pre-ordered and during their first week of availability, and US$14.99 thereafter, and library titles available for just US$9.99 every day.
With iTunes 7, all videos purchased from the iTunes Store are downloaded in near-DVD quality at a resolution of 640x480 (up to 480, depending on the aspect ratio), which is four times higher than before. Downloaded videos can be played on computers and iPods. iTunes 7 also includes new features to better organize and enjoy digital music and video, including expanded parental controls, an iTunes video playback window with on-screen controls, and the new Cover Flow view that lets you visually browse your entire video collection by cover artwork.
The iTunes Store began selling TV shows with five shows from ABC/Disney less than a year ago, in October 2005, and rapidly expanded its library to over 220 television shows from over 40 networks today. The iTunes Store also features a catalog of online music with over 3.5 million songs and has sold 1.5 billion songs.
The iTunes Store now also offers downloads of popular video games for fifth generation iPods, including “Tetris,” “Mahjong” and “Mini Golf” from Electronic Arts Inc.; “Pac-Man” from Namco Networks America Inc.; “Cubis 2” from FreshGames, LLC; “Bejeweled” and “Zuma” from PopCap Games, Inc.; “Texas Hold’em” and “Vortex” developed by Apple, all available for US$4.99 each.