Apple Computer Inc. (AAPL) on Wednesday launched iTunes Latino, a dedicated area within its U.S. online store for Latin music, videos, audio books and podcasts.

The iTunes store, the world's leading digital music outlet with more than 1.5 billion songs sold since its launch, had previously included Latin as a music genre, but company officials said customers were asking for more Latin content.

Offering a dedicated Latino section with a broader product mix also made sense given the nation's growing Hispanic population, of which more than half are Internet users, said Eddy Cue, Apple's vice president of iTunes.

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"It's a key opportunity that we were missing," said Cue, whose father is from Spain.

The new section features different music genres, including regional Mexicano, baladas y boleros and pop Latino, as well as Spanish-language and bilingual TV shows under a new deal with NBC Universal's Telemundo, the nation's second-rated Spanish-speaking network.