October 24, 2012, 12:09 PM

Apple to unveil new iTunes store by month’s end

The iTunes store will feature new navigation tools and an updated library.

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Fresh off announcing the new iPad mini and shipping more than 5 million units of its iPhone 5, Apple Inc. has one more treat left to hand out in October. The consumer brand manufacturer plans to debut a new version of its iTunes digital music, books and video store by the end of the month.

Apple says the redesigned iTunes store will showcase featured content at the top with a shelf motif to navigate to selections of music, movies and TV shows. A new library view enables consumers to view a category and see only that content in the iTunes window.

Consumers access iTunes on their desktop computers, iPhones and iPads. IPads are increasingly popular with consumers, and many use the devices to visit iTunes. The number of iPad users may grow, too, with the announcement Tuesday of the smaller, and cheaper, iPad mini. That device sells for $329, compared with $399 for an iPad 2 and $499 for the latest version of the full-size iPad. Apple also released iBooks 3, the latest version of its e-book reader software. Users can view all of their iBooks purchases in Apple’s iCloud service.

In addition to a catalog of more than 26 million songs, iTunes also contains more than 700,000 apps, more than 190,000 TV episodes and more than 45,000 films.

Apple is one of a few digital stores offering downloadable content at this scale.

By comparison, Amazon.com Inc.’s Prime service, which costs $79 annually, offers some 25,000 titles via Prime Instant Video, Amazon says. The e-retailer’s Amazon Instant Video, from which consumers can rent or buy, includes about 120,000 titles. Google Inc. also has a digital store called Google Play, which offers more than 4 million books and more than 675,000 apps. Google would not disclose the number of songs and movies available in Google Play.

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