You’re reading an article by Jay Robinson, a designer living in California.

iTunes 9 and the Future of WebKit

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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