Predictions For iTunes X

by Josh Rubenoff Apr 26, 2010

In the beginning of 2001, Apple released version 1.0 of iTunes, a simple music management app, for Mac OS 9. In the 9+ years since, the application has totally outgrown its humble roots. It's dramatically increased the variety of files it supports: in addition to podcasts, Internet radio and audiobooks, it stores Quicktime-compatible video, PDF files, ePub books, and even mobile software. iTunes 4.0 shipped with an online music store, which quickly became one of the top music retailers worldwide in both the physical and digital realms. With both Mac and Windows versions, iTunes has become the de facto standard multimedia player, with other companies bending over backward to make their devices iTunes-accessible. Where could Apple possibly go with iTunes X?

Well, first off, I wouldn't rule out the possibility that Apple would discontinue iTunes altogether...or, at least, rename it. iTunes got a little too big for its own good starting with version 6 or 7. Once Apple added video support, it started evolving into the current behemoth. I wouldn't mind if Apple used the occasion of iTunes X to split it into a suite of media programs—one for music, one for video, maybe an e-reader for books and an app just for managing your iPod/iPhone. I do see the appeal of just having one place to manage all of those, so maybe Apple could just call it something other than "iTunes." After all, the program has supported more than just music for over half of its lifespan now.

I made a prediction a few days before the iPad's announcement that the iTunes Store would open its doors to amateur content creators, and while that didn't happen in January, I wouldn't count it out for iTunes X. Whether it's enabling a kid to cut a demo tape with Garageband or a photographer to refine a killer print in Aperture, Apple has always encouraged the creativity of its users. So, I think it's not a huge leap for Apple to integrate the iTunes Store into these applications and encourage its users to profit off of their creations on its online marketplace. At the very least, I'd love for purchasers of Final Cut Studio to be able to pay a small additional fee (similar to the $99 entrance fee for the Apple Developer Program) to get their independent films and videos distributed on iTunes.

Or perhaps there'll be a way for amateurs to submit their apps to iTunes. Many pundits have proposed in recent weeks that Apple create a HyperCard of sorts for the iPad, just like that application let amateurs go wild creating basic applications for the Macintosh, Apple could create a way for those not fluent in programming to create basic touch applications for the iPhone OS. To me, this seems like a good idea, and would extinguish many of the complaints that the iPad is nothing but a closed-platform brainwashing consumption machine.

Those are my two big predictions: a fundamental relaunch of the iTunes interface (or a dissolution of the program altogether) to better reflect how it's grown to encompass so many media formats, as well as a sort of democratization of the iTunes Store. As for things I'd merely like to see? Well, FLAC support is always on my wishlist, and ever since iTunes Extras/LP was released I've wanted Apple to open up the format so that independent artists could distribute iTunes LP files for direct download on their websites. Finally, bringing back Smart Shuffle would be such a good move. Right?


  • My main complaints at this point is that everything other than music is bolted on.  Go to your meta data for movies and it’s album info.  They really just need to look at how the information is arranged and organized in your library with modules dedicated to apps, music, and movies.

    Beeblebrox had this to say on Apr 26, 2010 Posts: 2220
  • I’d like to see it divided into 3 or 4 apps
    * store
    * tunes
    * TV
    * some sort of integration (syncing, printing integration from iPads)??
    * something else??

    I really want to see an “AppleTV” application for the Mac, iPad, Windows - where I can watch trailers, rent movies, see my own tv shows etc. Merge it with FrontRow.

    Greg Alexander had this to say on Apr 26, 2010 Posts: 228
  • I’d like to see these separate, but store is where the money is, so Apple will want to make it easy to get to.  Or maybe store/Lala.

    Howard Brazee had this to say on Apr 26, 2010 Posts: 54
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