Is it bad that I hope almost none of the rumours about iTunes 9's explosion of new features, like social networking integration, come true?
• Blu-ray integration to go with Blu-ray support in upcoming Macs—iTunes 8.2 sorta kinda pointed to Blu-ray, if you recall. • Ability to re-arrange your iPhone/iPod touch apps in various ways (the one feature I actually want). • Social networking integration: This seems like it'll start out slightly more involved than say, iPhoto's Facebook integration (though hopefully less crappy), but grow deeper as it hooks into a "Social" application Apple will release in the future that'll consolidate all of your social networking services into a single app. At launch, iTunes 9's social networking component—which'll tap Facebook, Twitter and Last.fm—will do stuff like broadcast the music you're listening to, share music with people in your networks (remote streaming?), and update all of your various statuses. • Cocktail—Apple's plan to revive the album, with "a new type of interactive album material, including photos, lyric sheets and liner notes that allow users to click through to items that they find most interesting", according to the Financial Times.
Let's look at the odds. Blu-ray seems possible, though iffy, given what we saw in 8.2 earlier. Re-arranging your growing library of apps is a useful and logical addition. The Cocktail rumour comes from the respectable Financial Times, and is backed up by word the labels are working on their own competing digital album format after Apple rejected their original proposal.
The social networking components, like Last.fm integration, also make some sense: People are streaming more music than ever, slightly shifting away from downloads. So while Pocket Lint has torn apart supposedly leaked images of the Last.fm part, it still seems more than possible. Basic integration with Facebook and Twitter makes sense—iPhoto already taps into Facebook, for instance (though not very well, admittedly).
The Apple "Social" app, that will supposedly bring together all of your social networks in a single interface, we'll have to wait and see. It'd be new ground for Apple, for sure. Interestingly, Apple "resisted" integrating social networking with Facebook into the OS, though Apple poo-pooing something is by no means an indication they won't ever go there. Like Cocktail, actually. [BGR, FT]