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Is Apple iTunes the best music player? CEO Tim Cook boasts it is

Apple this week announced that iTunes accounts are approaching 800 million.

That's a "staggering number," Apple CEO Tim Cook said during a Wednesday earnings call with analysts. Most of those accounts, meanwhile, are linked to a credit card, he said.

"iTunes software and services revenue continues to grow at a double-digit rate, thanks to an incredible ecosystem and our very large, loyal and engaged customer base," Cook said. "With its strong momentum in growing profitability, iTunes is a very important driver of our business not only here in the United States, but around the world."

Overall iTunes software and services revenue was $4.6 billion (£2.7 billion) for the first quarter, up 11 per cent year over year and an all-time quarterly record, said Luca Maestri, who will take over for Peter Oppenheimer as CFO this fall.

Customers purchased $5.2 billion (£3.09 billion)worth of goods on iTunes during the quarter, a 24 per cent jump from last year, "driven by very strong growth in App Store sales," Maestri said. "These iTunes billings translated to quarterly iTunes revenue of over $2.6 billion, up 9 per cent from the year ago quarter, and also a new all-time record."

In June 2013, iTunes accounts stood at about 575 million.

For ages, there have been rumours about an Apple iTunes music subscription service (not to mention an Android iTunes app), but thus far, Apple has only launched iTunes Radio with iOS 7.

This week's earning call also covered iDevice sales, including 43.7 million iPhones and 16.3 million iPads shipped between January and March—both down from the fourth quarter.