Apple launches the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store

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In addition to overhauling its iPod line-up, Apple also launched the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store, a new service for iPod and iPhone users.

When accessed from the iPod Touch, the music store displays four buttons: Features, Top Tens, Search and Downloads. The Wi-Fi store works just as the desktop version of the iTunes Store does -- when you find a song you want, click “Buy Now” and the song will download to your iPod.

Pricing for songs purchased on the iTunes Wi-Fi Store are the same as the iTunes Store on your desktop computer.

The iPod will also take care of syncing any songs you purchased while away from your computer. The next time you sync to your computer, you’re downloaded songs will automatically be synced to your iTunes library.

Songs downloaded from the Wi-Fi Store are added to a playlist called “Downloads,” so you can easily see what purchases have been made.

The iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store is available internationally in every country where Apple operates an iTunes Store, said Jobs.

The new software would be delivered to iPhone users via an iPhone software update later this month.

Starbucks partnership

Calling Starbucks “an incredible phenomenon in our culture,” Jobs introduced a feature of the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store that will allow customers to purchase songs they hear in Starbucks.

When your Wi-Fi enabled iPod or iPhone gets near a Starbucks, a fifth button will automatically appear on your display. The button will show you what song is currently playing in that Starbucks location, which you can purchase by tapping the “Buy Now” button.

You also have the ability to look back to the last 10 songs played to purchase those songs as well.

Howard Schultz, founder and chairman of Starbucks, joined Jobs on stage. Schultz called Starbucks “the third place between home and work, an extension of peoples’ lives,” and suggested that his company’s partnership with Apple would prove to be “transformational.” The Starbucks feature in the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store won’t be limited to iPhones and iPod touches, either — he said it would be free to access from Mac and PC laptops, as well.

Schultz said the Apple partnership required a substantial infrastructure upgrade for Starbucks. Subsequently, not all of the company’s 5800 Wi-Fi enabled stores would be online at the same time.

Starbucks will begin offering the service October 2nd with the Seattle and New York locations — San Francisco will follow in November. By February Los Angeles will follow suit, then Chicago in March. The company will expand the ability to buy music from the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store throughout 2008 in most metropolitan markets, and by 2009 will have “all of the Wi-Fi stores completed,” he said.

Update: Added Starbucks partnership information. Added pricing information for the Wi-Fi Store.

This story, "Apple launches the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store" was originally published by PCWorld.

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