In April Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced that his company would, before the end of the year, introduce a Windows version of its iTunes software. Since then, Jobs and other Apple executives have stopped short of offering a specific timetable for when the Windows version of the music player software would be released. Now, at long last, it appears that the wait will soon end: MacCentral has received an invitation to a special Apple event scheduled for October 16th, presumably for the rollout of the long-awaited iTunes for Windows.
“The year’s biggest music story is about to get even bigger,” reads the invitation, which provides directions and instructions to attend the event. The invitation itself features a silhouetted figure on a colored background holding an iPod — an image that’s becoming ubiquitous in Apple’s multimedia campaign to build brand awareness around its enormously popular digital music player.
In late April Apple held another special event in San Francisco to unveil the iTunes Music Store — the company’s own commercial music download service. The service, hitherto available only for the Macintosh, debuted with about 200,000 songs from commercial artists available for download — many available as US$0.99 singles and $9.99 albums. Since April Apple has sold over 10 million songs through the iTunes Music Store, and has continually added new music to its online offerings.
The music files available through the iTunes Music Store utilize the Advanced Audio Codec (AAC) format, but what’s captured much attention from many reviewers is Apple’s digital rights management (DRM) technology and licensing scheme. The scheme allows iTunes Music Store users to make unlimited copies of their downloaded music to CD-R, copy the files to iPods and play the music on up to three Macs.
Apple has become a lightning rod for media and analysts discussing commercial online music sales, especially as competitive services have launched or been announced. Apple’s own advertising for the iTunes Music Store has, at times, even served as a source of parody for other companies attempting to carve out a niche in the online music space.