At a Special Media Event on Wednesday morning, Apple unveiled the latest iPods along with a new version of iTunes, version 9.
Apple revitalizes their iPods every year, so this was not unexpected. However, what surprised me was what I first attributed to idle commentary: the redesigned iTunes Store and new iTunes LPs render in WebKit.
Some may overlook this detail, but keep in mind Apple has always used iPods+iTunes to push their digital agenda. And the push for WebKit will be no different.
The first iPod and iTunes combination on Windows opened up QuickTime for millions of users. Now it is a healthy competitor for web media, right up there with Flash. (Remember when music and videos on the Web would occasionally pop up in Windows Media format? Yuck.)
Today, MobileSafari on iPhone provides users with a WebKit-powered “killer app” that makes people actually want to browse the web with their smartphones. Apple’s iPhone OS accounts for an astounding two-thirds of mobile web traffic. And the competition has taken notice: in August RIM acquired Torch Mobile, hoping to bring the WebKit experience to BlackBerries.
The possibilities with iTunes LP are really terrific. The announcement led Engadget frontman Joshua Topolsky to proclaim “Apple has officially reinvented the 12-inch.” Apple is constantly setting design trends and iTunes LPs will be no different. I can already imagine a swarm of imitations from devoted music fans flooding the net with intricate tributes to their favorite artists that render best in WebKit browsers. Not to mention what iTunes LPs may look like on your 50″ (Apple) HDTV.
While most PC users may have never heard of Safari for Windows, iTunes will soon establish a record amount of computers on which WebKit is the conveyor of premium web experience.
It won’t be long until WebKit rules the PC world too.
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