Newly-introduced application, Simplify Media, lets iTunes users access their music over the internet from within Apple's media software.

The free software also lets users access their friends' music over the internet. The application lets users sort, search and play all remote libraries using the standard iTunes user interface.

Simplify Media is available now as a beta version for both Windows and Mac systems. It's described as easy to set-up - there's no port forwarding, firewall configuration and no need to upload any files to a website.

The solution supports MP3, AAC and WMA files across both supported platforms. Users can access their iTunes purchases using the system - but only those held in a user's own account.

Streams between computers are encrypted, and - in an attempt to stave off any fears of file-sharing - there are limits to the number of friends a user can connect to

Links to partner stores (currently Amazon) help users buy music held on remote collections a listener may want to own. The software doesn't let songs held on remote libraries be put on an iPod or burnt to a CD.

The release that is currently being distributed is an early beta that doesn't yet support Windows Vista.