According to sources, Apple has recently begun internally seeding the next major release of the iTunes application for computers, iTunes 11. Work on iTunes 11 began prior to the release of iTunes 10.6, and the development of the new software product – that we are familiar with – is currently focused on under-the-hood changes, rather than cosmetic changes. However, Apple develops different portions of products in separate groups or at separate times, so the final product will likely include some new user-interface elements and more visible features.

Apple is working on iTunes 11 as a version of iTunes that supports their upcoming iOS 6 release and future devices. Apple typically releases new versions of iTunes alongside major new OS’s and mobile devices. While iTunes 11 is built as an iOS 6 compatible-release, according to sources, iTunes 11 could very well be a release coming farther down the road, and Apple could very well release another iTunes 10.x point update as a simple iOS-6-compatiblity release. One source calls that the more likely situation.

On the subject of iTunes, we’re still hearing that a full iTunes Store and App Store revamp is underway for a launch between this summer and the fall. Earlier this year, Apple purchased a company called Chomp to help with that refresh. Since then, we’ve heard multiple independent whispers that the Chomp team has been fully integrated into a team that specifically exists in order to improve content discovery within the iTunes application and the online store.

The above image is an actual screenshot from an internal iTunes 11.0 build, but we have seen more than that. iTunes 11 includes an increased presence of iCloud integration. Perhaps the biggest testament to this is a dedicated iCloud settings panel within iTunes. This panel is a centralized, always accessible spot for users to control iCloud related features while in iTunes. These features include iTunes Match, iTunes in the Cloud, iCloud iOS device backups and more. We’ll have more on this soon.

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