“The next version of iTunes, which Apple says will be out by the end of the month for both Mac and Windows, represents the latest step to address some of [the] changes in the way people store and use their content on computers,” Josh Lowensohn reports for CNET.

“It’s more deeply tied into Apple’s media store, as well as a user’s music collection that can now be backed up and stored indefinitely in Apple’s cloud as part of a paid subscription service,” Lowensohn reports. “Apple’s even redesigned its player to put many of the commonly used features in a widget that can be used even when you’re doing something outside of iTunes.”

Lowensohn reports, “All these things are likely to be welcome additions for longtime users, but the fact remains that the software now plays a less important role in the way people are finding, purchasing, and ingesting content. Consumers have bought more than 20 billion songs from Apple during the past nine years, but where that’s happening has changed dramatically. According to Apple, two-thirds of iTunes downloads now come from iOS devices, as opposed to desktops. That statistic, mentioned by the company at the unveiling of iTunes 11 in September, is more impressive when you consider that iOS devices have only been in existence since the iPhone in mid-2007, a little more than four years after Apple added its store to the desktop software in early 2003.”

Read more in the full article here.