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Apple's Next Big Thing: iTunes

Tickers in this article: AAPL EBAY GOOG

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- There's been a lot of talk about where Apple innovates next. A new iPhone? An iWatch? An Apple TV? It very well could be something you already have and don't think twice about.

Apple holds more than 500 million credit card accounts and valuable personal information -- consumer habits, preferences -- through its iTunes software. That's a veritable treasure trove that has been little more than an after-thought among Wall Street investors perpetually focused on iPhone and iPad sales.

In Apple's most recent quarter, both of those product segments accounted for 72.7% of Apple's $43.6 billion in revenue. It's clear that the iPhone and iPad butter Apple's proverbial bread but there's been a subtle shift in recent months about how CEO Tim Cook talks about Apple.

At a Goldman Sachs conference in February, Cook said Apple is not a hardware company despite the fact that it generates the vast majority of its revenue from hardware sales. "Because we're not a hardware company, we have other ways to make money and reward shareholders," Cook said at the conference.

On Apple's most recent earnings call, Cook talked about the great hardware, software, and services that Apple has forthcoming. "Our teams are hard at work on some amazing new hardware, software, and services that we can't wait to introduce this fall and throughout 2014," Cook said.