COOL TO THE CORE
When Apple released ITUNES MUSIC STORE in May, one of the tech world’s icons called the online service “a turning point in the music industry” and “landmark stuff.”

OK, the icon was Apple CEO Steve Jobs. In this case, however, Jobs’ typical immodesty can be forgiven. Credit him for understanding and providing what millions of consumers clearly want: quick, easy — and legal — access to music online.

Apple’s solution to this much-litigated problem is vastly superior to the illegal file-sharing bazaars and legal Big Music services like MusicNet and pressplay. Apple users just download the iTunes 4 jukebox, register, and enter the Music Store, where more than 200,000 songs sell at 99 cents each, $10 for an album.

Unlike MusicNet, et al., the Music Store charges no monthly fees and puts few restrictions on what customers can do with the music they buy. Songs can be copied to as many as three computers. And, yes, the music can be burned onto CDs.

Apple says users bought more than a million songs during the Music Store’s first week. Not bad, considering Apple owns less than 5 percent of the world computer market. By the time Jobs releases a Windows version later this year, the Music Store buzz could be deafening.