That is if you believe the rumors circulating around the web at the moment, originating from a Boy Genius report describing how the next iTunes version will feature loads of new opportunities that users have been asking for (rephrase: demanded) since iTunes 8 came out. If we are to believe these rumors, iTunes 9 will feature blu-ray support, better application organization, twitter and facebook integration, and possibly Last.fm integration as well.Now for many mac users Blu-ray support in iTunes 9 have been asked for ever since blu-ray became the chosen format for HD quality movies, and although Apple has previously claimed there would be issues with adding the feature, it now seems that those issues have been resolved.
Another feature expected in iTunes 9 is better application management. At the moment there is not much that can be done in terms of managing or categorizing your applications, and the transfer of these settings to your iPhone or iPod Touch. From iTunes 9 we are hoping this will be much improved, including a genius feature helping you to better identify other useful applications based on your preferences, as finding apps in the iTunes store is not always the easiest of processes.
Although blu-ray support may have been one of the most demanded new features, we are more interested in the opportunities that some of the other talked about iTunes 9 features brings to the table, especially the integration with Twitter, facebook, and possibly last.fm – opening up iTunes 9 to the world of social media. A live integration with these popular services could mean that you could easily share favourite playlists, automatically update on twitter or facebook status what you are currently listening to.
For the many of us that are also looking to find new ways to earn a living, this could perhaps open up new business models in terms of earning commission on content downloaded through links on your automatic twitter and facebook updates, although I believe Apple would be very reluctant to start paying people for any of these services. But Apple could be opening up the doors for other content providers, such as Amazon MP3 to deliver similar services where such features could be available.
What if Apple on iTunes 9 provided the service that if you share the music you are listening to with your facebook and twitter followers, and any of them end up downloading it through one of your links, you earn points towards free downloads? Would that be an interesting concept?
Of course any integration of Facebook and Twitter to iTunes 9 should also give you the possibility of viewing, in iTunes 9, a list of the latest songs and playlists that the people you are following have been listening to, and being able to directly download them.
There is no doubt that opening up iTunes 9 to be more social creates a world of new opportunities for both Apple and other service providers out there in terms of getting their content and services out to a wider audience, creating new points of contact and influence, giving us as users more information and choice.
Keep checking back to find more information about when iTunes 9 will be in the market, and exactly what the features will be. For now the rumors indicate a possible launch next month when it is likely that Apple will hold their annual iPod event, where it is also expected that the new 3rd generation iPod Touch and the possible Apple Tablet will be announced.