Inside the new iTunes LP format

With the release of iTunes 9 came iTunes LP, The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW)’s Dave Caolo gave iTunes LP a glowing review, but if you’re wondering just how Apple worked their magic with the new format, web developer Jay Robinson has picked it apart thoroughly.

“As it turns out, simply replacing the ‘.itlp’ extension with ‘.zip’ reveals the contents of the package, which are actually HTML, CSS, and a little JavaScript,” Tim Wasson reports for TUAW. “The Flash-like interfaces really use no Flash, but instead rely on the proposed CSS3 animation properties.”

Wasson reports, “We’ve also been informed by a loyal tipster that if you take that unzipped folder of content and put it in your Sites directory (with Web sharing turned on, naturally), you might try browsing to it from your iPhone or iPod touch and seeing what shows up in Mobile Safari. Fascinating.”

Full article, with links, here.

Jay Robinson’s article is here.

MacDailyNews Take: We tested it on our iPhone 3GS units with Tyrese’s “Mayhem” iTunes LP. On our Mac, we just secondary-clicked (right-clicked) on the .itlp and chose “Show Package Contents.” No renaming to .zip necessary. Then we moved the contents into our Sites folder, turned on Web Sharing, and visited the “site” via the iPhones. The comic worked visually (speech bubbles, too), but the audio didn’t play.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “iWill” for the heads up.]


  1. iTunes 9 is about to become the backbone for a new Apple TV Media Center, with its ability to share a library with other users on the local network. Store all your media on one box, backed up by TimeMachine. Add the ability to run iPhone style apps, add some form of TiVO etc…

  2. iTunes 9 is really nice. The sharing feature is very nice as my wife and I enjoy the same classical music; Beach Boys, Stones, Beatles, LZ, etc. The app management file in sync is very nice. Makes it much easier to clean up.

  3. Does anyone know how to bust open iphone/pod apps. The ones with the .ipa extension. I thought it would simply be a matter of ‘show package contents’ but no. I was wondering if it is possible to break in to them to pinch the audio files and maybe customise some graphics. Can the software developer kit open existing apps, or just create new ones.

    Probably works a bit like Flash huh. Flash won’t open a swf file for customising.

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