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iTunes Store could be slated for a major overhaul this year

A redesign of the iTunes Store and the App Store could be in the works for later this year, according to 9to5Mac.

Is the iTunes Store scheduled for a major redesign?
Is the iTunes Store scheduled for a major redesign? Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

iTunes users who've been wishing for a kinder, gentler version of the online store may finally get their wish.

Apple is said to be prepping a redesign of the iTunes Store and the App Store for later this year, says 9to5Mac. The goal would be to make the store simpler and help people more easily and quickly find the content they need.

Apple has reportedly told its various music and entertainment partners that it wants to make the iTunes Store a "much more engaging experience," 9to5Mac added. The redesign is considered a "top priority" for Apple in light of rival operations such as Amazon's online music store and Spotify's music streaming service.

The overhaul would affect the iTunes experience for music, movies, TV shows, and apps but could include the iBookstore as well. Changes to the iOS mobile versions of the iTunes Store and App Store are likely in the works as well.

Still unknown, however, is whether the revamp would extend to the actual iTunes desktop application, says 9to5Mac. It's possible Apple would redo its online store but only unveil a small update to iTunes 10.

Well, here's one iTunes user hoping Apple will revamp the iTunes application as well.

The iTunes desktop app began life as a relatively simple way to synchronize your iPod content with your computer. But over the years, the program has become more complicated, more bloated, and more confusing.

I teach an iPad class for adults in my spare hours. The students typically find the iPad fairly intuitive and enjoy learning its various features.

But when I show them iTunes, their eyes start to glaze over as if they can't understand why they need to use this cumbersome piece of software.

Apple has continually focused on adding new features, such as Ping and iTunes Match, but in so doing has also turned iTunes into a beast of a program.

I run iTunes primarily on a Windows 7 PC. Of all the software I use, iTunes gives me the most amount of trouble. It freezes, it hangs, it crashes. To be fair, the last few versions have improved the stability somewhat. Version 10 doesn't freeze or crash as often as did the previous versions. But it still reeks of software that definitely needs an overhaul with an eye toward simplicity and reliability.

So a redesign of the iTunes Store and App Store would be a step in the right direction. But what we really need is a kinder and gentler iTunes app itself.