Safari and iTunes combined

MacRumors is reporting on claims that Apple is planning to combine iTunes and Safari into a single application. Whilst in many respects this seems like a somewhat unusual move (who in their right mind would want to have the memory footprint of Safari just to listen to a few tunes) it also is somewhat natural progression.

Let’s break iTunes down into its constituent parts, we have:

  • a media player, which can be further broken down into physical media (music and videos) and streamed content (radio);
  • a media management tool for music, video, books, apps, and ringtones;
  • a media store, a place buy all of the media mentioned above; and,
  • a social network, in Ping .

Except for the physical media component of the media player everything else can be transitioned to the web space. The iTunes store is essentially just a web app wrapped by iTunes, the same goes for Ping. Media management is something that really should live in the cloud, if I have playlist on one of my iOS devices it should be mirrored on iTunes and all my other devices. Cloud based media management is really just about syncing a library file representative the current state of your media, it is not rocket surgery.

There has been recent turmoil that iTunes has grown into a monster, this is rubbish as integrated is always better than segregated and iTunes is just wrapper for a bunch of web based services. If Apple moves to a streaming model, where purchases can be downloaded but the default is for them to be streamed from their shiny new massive data centre and cached locally based on preference, then there is absolutely no reason why the monolith that is iTunes is needed in its current form. Whilst I personally don’t see a iTunes/Safari hybrid in the wings, I do see the rest of iTunes moving to a web-based platform; that is media playback and management. The maybe Apple may release an iTunes plugin which interacts with a local library but means that iTunes is present when you browse. It makes a lot more sense for Apple to offer a web-based iTunes, which can be accessed regardless of browser, and plugins than it does Apple requiring users Safari to access iTunes services.