Code named Cocktail, "It's all about recreating the heyday of the album when you would sit around with your friends looking at the artwork while you listened to the music," one executive familiar with the initiative told the Financial Times. "It's not just a bunch of PDFs. There's real engagement with the ancillary stuff."
If it caught on, Cocktail could help save an industry suffering from the lower profits garnered by single track sales. And deeper engagement with the album could also lead to more loyal fans who know and care enough about the artist to consider their next album project as well.
But the new format may come with a hefty price.
Cocktail's full interactivity appears to be designed to be part of a new top secret tablet computer/entertainment hub that Apple is rushing to market to compete with the net book mini-laptop boom. In addition to Cocktail, the web connected device would also offer a rival Amazon's Kindle book reader as well as play videos as well as perform other computing functions.
Both Cocktail and the new device could be launched as early as Fall, but a Christmas launch seems more likely according to a variety of sources.