iTunes 9 to support Blu-ray & add social media features?

Over the weekend some new and interesting Apple rumors sprouted. This time we're talking about new features in iTunes 9: Blu-ray support, integration with Twitter, Facebook and Last.fm, and a better way to organize your iPhone apps. The latter just seems like common sense, but let's talk about Blu-ray and social networking.

Until now, Apple has shown very little interest in supporting Blu-ray, but iTunes on Windows really needs Blu-ray support since plenty of Windows machines have Blu-ray players, so this all might be as simple as Apple wanting to better support the Windows audience rather than any real change in attitude on Apple's part. On the other hand, a lot of Apple's perceived anti-Blu sentiment is based on Steve Job's infamous quote (from October 2008) referring to Blu-ray as a "bag of hurt," but here's the full text of what he 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." [Source] So it's possible that Apple has decided that things have in fact 'settled down' and that Blu-ray's time has come, which could mean Blu-ray support in iTunes and Blu-ray players in Macs. That said, the timing is interesting considering that Windows is getting ready to roll out instant-on 1080P streaming to the Xbox 360 and web browsers running Silverlight 3. This far iTunes has emphasized 720P video, and you might expect Apple to be focused on getting streaming 1080P video support into iTunes rather than supporting Blu-ray. Wouldn't that be a perfect match for the rumored iTablet, assuming it has some kind of video out that lets you get content onto your big screen?

As for the social media integration, Last.fm seems like a natural fit for iTunes, but Twitter and Facebook? Automatic Tweets and Status updates sharing what we're listening to, suggests The Boy Genius Report (which appears to be Ground Zero for this new batch of rumors) and that's about all I can come up with. Not sure I need more of that kind of Twitter-spam, personally.

No date is attached to any of this, but the best guess of Apple observers seems to be late September or October.

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