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Rumors from Bloomberg today that Apple will overhaul iTunes, making it look like other products out there with deeper iCloud and sharing integration, shows that, unlike with some of its other products, Apple is behind the times. True or not, this anonymous news has people welcoming a change to service that has gotten bloated over the years. "Seeing is believing, but this would be a welcomed development," tweeted @Lessien, who runs the tech blog Dioegenex, which mirrors the sentiments about iTunes found on the MacRumors forum and elsewhere.

Though a hallmark of Apple's success -- the app store brought in $1.9 billion in revenue last quarter -- iTunes has come to represent everything Apple is not: a messy, confusing, over-stuffed service that needs some cleaning up.

The actual changes, per Bloomberg, would fix some of these bloat issues.

  • The overhaul would get rid of Ping, a confusing service that didn't do the social or discovery part very well, replacing it with "tighter" Facebook and Twitter integration. 
  • It would streamline the whole library, improve how people manage files, including both new music and stuff users already own.
  • Apple will also improve sharing, à la Spotify, which Bloomberg cites specifically.
  • Deeper iCloud integration will fix library synch discontinuities acquired over the years with different devices and software.

All these moves aim to make iTunes simpler, something, as an Apple product, it should have been all along. When it comes to user experience, Apple prides itself on simplicity and ease. iTunes doesn't succeed according to those metrics.

Given this unusual predicament for Apple, it has found itself in another unique position: The company is suddenly behind, a place it's not used to being. Instead of innovating the future of music, it has found itself copying the modern winners, like Spotify. Even Google looks more with the times than Apple, unveiling an iTunes-Spotify amalgamation with Google Play yesterday.

Apple's quite prideful when it comes to originality. Steve Jobs called Microsoft genius Bill Gates "unimaginative." He also swore revenge on Google for copying iOS with Android, calling it a "stolen product." Continuing that legacy, Apple has ongoing fights with Samsung for stealing its iPad design, which just yesterday resulted in a U.S. injunction of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. When iTunes first came out in 2001, it was original, changing the music industry along with the way we listen to, store and share music. Eleven years later, it looks like an over-accessorized outfit, trying to capture all the trends of the day. It looks like something from a different company (we won't name names) -- one that follows, not leads.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

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