The rumours posted by The Boy Genius Report this weekend about the next version of iTunes look incredibly exciting. The headline features of iTunes 9, according to their source, are:
- Blu-ray support
- The ability to organise your iPhone / iPod Touch apps
- Integration with Last.fm, Facebook and Twitter
As useful as Blu-ray support and App organisation are, it’s the integration with third party social services that is by far the most interesting move.
So, how might a social iTunes work?
- Last.fm – This is by far the most obvious service for Apple to integrate. Built-in ‘Scrobbling’ would be fantastic for Last.fm addicts. No more need for the Last.fm app to run in the background, logging the songs you listen to, iTunes could do it natively. This would be especially usefuly for iPhone and iPod users who often have trouble with Last.fm’s app scrobbling songs they’ve listened to on the go. Being able to add songs to your Last.fm ‘loved’ and ‘banned’ lists would be a great addition too. Why not got the whole hog and include the ability to stream music from Last.fm’s servers as well?
- Facebook – Integration here is less straightforward to guess. One possibility could be to recommend music to your friends. Your recommendation would appear in their feed, complete with the 30 second preview clip from iTunes. One click takes them to the iTunes store to buy the track and generate more cash for Apple!
- Twitter – Similarly, music ‘recommend and buy’ makes sense. It may even stretch to anything you can buy in the iTunes store, from movies to audiobooks.
Of course, this is all speculative, but a social angle to iTunes is long overdue. Integrating existing services is a far smarter move for Apple than forcing people to use some sort of new iTunes social network.
When will we see iTunes 9?
Expect iTunes 9 to be formally announced within the next few weeks. New iPods are usually announced in September. Don’t forget that the new version of Mac OSX, Snow Leopard, is out next month and a snazzy launch event featuring Steve Jobs, a bunch of new iPods, Blu-ray-equipped iMacs and a new version of iTunes to tie them all together is certainly within the realms of possibility.