iTunes 4.5 a sign of what’s really in-store…

So in case you missed the news, Apple updated iTunes to version 4.5 which comes with some very cool features as well as additions to the store. The features are great and include Party Shuffle which is a nice way to handle dynamic playlists, iMix which lets you publish a playlist to the store to share with anyone. It would be nice to add an affiliate purchase scheme to kick-back some whufie to the user in the form of iTunes bucks. I also really like the addition of Apple Lossless Format:

iTunes can give you that quality with the new Apple Lossless encoder. You�ll get the full quality of uncompressed CD audio using about half the storage space. You can copy music in this format onto your iPod or iPod mini, to take perfect audio wherever you go.

The big deal to me though seems to be the addition of VIDEO! Apple bundled in their movie preview site which is the largest movie streaming site around and then added Music VIDEOS for PURCHASE! Video for purchase!! Steve had alluded to the possibility of videos for sale, and I think it’s really just a preview of what is really coming next…

Apple now has a full multi-media store that sells music, music videos and audio books. Movies and TV shows are are the logical next step. An iTunes store service with reasonable pricing (say $3.95 a TV show and $9.99 a movie) could offset a good portion of downloads if done right because it would be Apple simple. I think even a rental market would be an interesting play. The DRM might work in a similar way your VOD does now on cable… you get get XX hours or days to watch as many times as you like and then it expires. Apple could own the on-demand market for video in an instant, because they know how to deliver very high quality content in a very easy to use manner and even integrate it simply with devices to enjoy it all on.

It could only get better with the addition of a new portable device…or of course a set-top box.

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