Apple is reportedly working on an overhaul of iTunes that will include social networking tools that will allow you to broadcast and share music to friends. The reports are iffy at best and come from anonymous sources at BoyGeniusReport. If true, though, the update could breathe some needed new life into the iTunes software.
Here what is rumored to be in the works from the makers of iPods, iPhones and computers:
*Tie-ins with a new "social" application also being planned by Apple, according to the report. The report suggests this could be "similar to Yahoo's OneConnect," which can consolidate all your social networking destinations into one place for easier access. The report lacked further details, including whether it would be a separate application for your iPhone or desktop.
*The new app will reportedly allow users to share the music they are listening to at that moment to friends on their networks in real time, as well as provide status updates, according to BoyGenius. The app will also allow users to "connect with their friend's friends." Hmmmm, it sounds like this one harkens back to the wicked old days of the original Napster, which let users share an amazingly cool feature - the ability to share playlists with other people. OK, so Napster was eventually determined to be illegal, but for many people, it was very cool while it lasted.
*Upgraded and improved capabilities for sorting your iPhone and iPod Touch applications alphabetically, by genre or custom arranging to suit your own visual whims.
*Blu-ray support, which would be welcomed by many.
OK, that's not a lot to go on right now, and it is all rumors, but much of this is cool stuff for Apple enthusiasts. But I'll tell you one new feature I'd sure like to see in the next version of iTunes - a faster launching time on my PC. Personally, I don't know how many more bells and whistles Apple can fit into this bloated piece of software. It seems like it takes five minutes to load, sucking major RAM. Are you listening, Apple?
(Todd R. Weiss is a freelance technology journalist who formerly wrote for Computerworld.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/TechManTalking)