Apple planning to open iTunes access

NEW YORK - Apple is looking to use its newly acquired US-based music streaming service Lala.com to overhaul its iTunes service and allow users to buy and listen to music through a web browser, according to WSJ.com.

The iPod and iPhone maker acquired Lala.com for an undisclosed sum last week. Lala allows users to listen to a catalogue of around eight million songs for free through the web, similar to music streaming service Spotify.com.

According to WSJ.com, Apple is considering adopting Lala's model for songs sold on iTunes, giving users more ways to access and manage their iTunes purchases. Apple's iTunes Store has always offered music on an a la carte basis, with users paying to download specific tracks and albums.

Were a browser-based system to be implemented, it would allow Apple to sell music through search engines and other websites and extend its reach beyond the iTunes store.

Apple's plans are in the early stages of development and could be altered, according to the report.

Speaking about Apple's purchase of Lala.com, Apple spokesman Steve Dowling said: "Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time and we generally do not comment on our purpose or plans."

Separately, Apple is planning to launch its highly portable tablet computer in March or April with a 10-inch screen. According to a report on Apple Insider the impending launch is based on activity within Apple's supply chain.

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