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Early Word On iTunes 9

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Contributor:
David Silversmith
David Silversmith

With over 75 million accounts on iTunes, there are many people waiting to hear wait will arrive in iTunes 9.  Rumors are running wild that we'll soon hear about iTunes support of Blu-Ray, Twitter, Facebook and even Last.fm.  Only time will separate the rumors from reality.

While there is no published time frame for a launch of iTunes 9, Apple has in recent years held special media events to update its iPod line and iTunes every September, which begins the sales rush to the Holiday season.  Most industry insiders are speculating that iTunes 9 could make an appearance within the next month or two.

After the 8.2.1 update, which did little besides blocking the Palm Pre from accessing iTunes, the rumors are that 9 will bring real new features. The big rumors seem to be coming from a “reliable source” over at Boy Genius Report.  The big ticket rumors include:

Blu-ray: Many are hoping that the Sony-backed disc format will finally see support from iTunes. There’s speculation that this makes sense because of reports that the next generation of iMacs will support Blu-Ray. In Apple's notebook keynote on October 14th 2008 Steve Jobs said: "Blu-ray is just a bag of hurt. It's great to watch the movies, but the licensing of the tech is so complex, we're waiting till things settle down and Blu-ray takes off in the marketplace."  Taking Job's comments and the fact that rumors of Blu-Ray have come and gone with earlier versions of iTunes - this enhancement is remains a long shot.

iPhone App Organization: When most users had 1, maybe 2, iPhone Applications the issue of organization was not much of an issue.  However, with many users now having more than 100 iPhone apps, there is a growing need for a way to organize them. Right now, the only organization is alphabetical which is pretty darn limiting. Categorization not only makes perfect sense, but is almost a necessity for continued app sales.  Most industry experts are expecting this to be in iTunes 9.

Social Media Integration - I'm hoping this one is true, but the Boy Genius Report is completely unclear as to what this integration could be. Will there be Twitter integration so you can tweeting out what songs you play (and how many existing Twitter applications will go by the wayside if this becomes a reality!). The ability to automatically scrobble and favorite songs in Last.fm? Maybe you will be able to include links to your iTune store downloads via Facebook?  Certainly it seems logical that iTunes will add some social media integration - and which applications get blessed by iTunes will have a huge impact on the social media space. With millions of accounts and billions of downloads - integration with iTunes could be the holy grail for a struggling social media site or the icing on the cake for one of the big players.

Those are the big rumors, though many other vendors have been lobbying Apple quite hard.  There are many sites like blueNotes, LaLa and Echodio that can help automate online backups of files and synchronize iTunes libraries across devices.  Likewise there are many startups like PulpTunes that are helping to stream music from iTunes over a network - and solve the issue that many iTunes customers have with multiple PCs and one iTunes setup.  Any of these companies would love to partner with iTunes and is standing by hoping that iTunes does not add "their" feature without that integration.

Consumers and developers alike are waiting to hear what tune iTunes 9 will he humming!

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