iTunes may be more social starting next week

August 26, 2010

Cloud-based iTunes streaming may take some time for Apple to get up and running, but a new report suggests that Web-based improvements may yet be coming to the iTunes Store in the form of social networking integration. And we may finally see wireless syncing between iOS devices and iTunes. Both new features could be unveiled at next week’s annual "music" event, where updated iPods are typically announced.

According to anonymous music executives speaking to All Things Digital, Apple still hasn’t acquired the necessary licenses from record labels to launch a widely anticipated streaming music service. These sources believe, however, that Apple could be adding Web-based tools to the iTunes Store for sharing currently playing or favorite songs as well as playlists—but not actual music files. Think something along the lines of Last.fm without the streaming audio. These features could also tie into Facebook or Twitter for additional social networking "synergy."

These same sources also suggest that Apple could finally bring wireless media syncing between iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches. For reasons unknown, Apple has required these devices to physically connect to a computer running iTunes to sync music and other media. However, Apple’s licensing doesn’t necessarily require a physical connection, only a secure one. If Apple launches an iPod touch based on the A4 processor as expected next week, it will have a stable of iDevices with built-in encryption capabilities that may make wireless syncing secure enough to satisfy contractual obligations.

All Things Digital warns that Apple hasn’t been open with record labels about its upcoming plans, so these possibilities are merely the (slightly more) informed opinion of the unnamed music executives. Still, such features would fit in with some of the direction Apple has been taking recently to add more social networking features to its products, and don’t require additional negotiation with labels to implement. Especially when it comes to wireless iTunes syncing—well, it’s nice to dream, isn’t it?

This post has been written by Chris Foresman on August 26, 2010 10:30 AM couresy of arstechnica.com.

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