Apple iTunes Offering '12 Days of Gifts' to Users

Each day from Dec. 26 through Jan. 6, the iTunes store will allow users to download one free featured holiday gift, which could be a song, a movie, an ebook, an app or other free product.

Apple's iTunes store wants to give its members some presents this holiday season to thank them for their purchases all year by unveiling its "12 Days of Gifts" program, which will feature a free downloadable product each day.

The 12 Days of Gifts will run from Dec. 26 through Jan. 6, 2014, and will feature a different free download every 24 hours, according to the company. Users must download the 12 Days of Gifts app for free from iTunes to obtain each day's free downloads.

The free gifts from iTunes will include songs, apps, books, movies and more, according to the company. "Each day's gift will only be available for 24 hours, so download the free app to make sure you don’t miss out."

One caveat is that not all of the free content will be available in all countries, according to Apple.

The 65MB app will work on iPhones, iPads and iPod touch; however, devices must be running iOS 7.0 or later. The app is optimized for iPhone 5 and is available in several languages, including English, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Turkish.

Apple's iTunes store, which celebrated its 10th birthday in April 2013, continues to dominate the online digital music download market, but Amazon is gaining, according to an earlier eWEEK report. Apple controlled a 63 percent share of the download market during the fourth quarter of 2012—down from 68 percent in 2011, according to a report by NPD Group earlier this year. AmazonMP3, in second place, controlled a 22 percent share of the market, up from 15 percent a year ago.

During the quarter of 2012, 80 percent of digital music buyers downloaded their songs or albums from Apple's iTunes store, the report stated. In 2012, 44 million Americans bought at least one song or album download. But that number has remained stagnant over the last three years, while music-streaming options have increased.

In June, Apple introduced its own Pandora-like iTunes Radio streaming music service at its 2013 World Worldwide Developers Conference as it began to fight back harder against its competitors in the busy streaming music marketplace, according to an earlier eWEEK report. Apple followers had been expecting such a service since the company purchased streaming site Lala back in 2009.

The Pandora-like iTunes Radio is now built into the iMusic app in iOS 7. Apple has created featured stations, though users can also create their own. Users can also tap on a station to share it with a friend, or create stations based on an artist or song.

In March 2012, the iTunes store marked its 25 billionth download by its more than 315 million iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users at the time around the globe. The 25 billionth app downloaded, "Where's My Water?" (free version), was downloaded by Chunli Fu of Qingdao, of China, who was awarded a $10,000 iTunes gift card to mark the occasion.

More than 37 million DRM-free songs are available today on iTunes for prices ranging from 69 cents to $1.29 each.