Jan 17, 2011 — by: Mark Reschke
Categories: News, Predictions, Products, Rumors

Apple may be preparing a massive move that will propel Safari from niche browser to market leader. The move to merge Safari and iTunes into one software solution appears long in the works, which may arrive this fall at Apple's usual iPod special event.

Apple acquired the streaming music services company, lala, for $80 million in December 2009. The purported purposes for such an acquisition was for Apple to spearhead the way towards taking iTunes towards an online service, accessible via any browser, and away from a desktop software solution. That may no longer be the case.

iTunes now appears to be staying put as a desktop application. Despite Amazon's (and others) best online efforts to derail iTunes, the software and its sales continue to outpace the competition as a media content platform. As long as iOS devices continue to proliferate so to will iTunes.

In April 2003 Apple launched the iTunes Store within iTunes software. The integration of the iTunes Store transformed iTunes into a WebKit browser that organized and stored media files. Currently, this browsing experience is strictly tied to Apple's secure iTunes content, however, Apple integrating the iTunes software into the Safari browser changes the entire landscape.

While iTunes has been continuing its march, Safari's growth has been minimal. Safari claimed just 4.46% of browser market share in December 2010, yet Google's Chrome browser eclipsed Safari in December and has seen rapid growth since its launch. Safari's weak market position allows for Google to make bold moves, as evidenced by their recent discontinuation of h.264 support within their Chrome browser in favor of its WebM video codec. While this isn't a direct affront to iTunes or Safari, it is an attempt to further alienate the iOS platform, which also damages Safari.

It is believed that Safari will be the only browser able to access iTunes, as iTunes is built into the browser itself. "Moving iTunes organizational side-bar into Safari isn't a monumental task" claimed a source, adding "Safari would skyrocket in use as a result of integrating the software titles together."

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17 Comments

  1. Kevin ~ Jan. 17, 2011 @ 12:44 pm

    The idea sounds really bizarre, but iTune and Safari are both running two separate instances of webkit, right??? How much memory bloat would that consolidate? iTunes could just be another tab for that matter. Take a while to get use to this, but may make sense... #
  2. Rob ~ Jan. 17, 2011 @ 12:47 pm

    Right on! It's about time Apple built their own Windows 98! /sarcasm #
  3. Rob ~ Jan. 17, 2011 @ 12:49 pm

    @Kevin (comment #1) iTunes does not and has not ever used Webkit. Dave Hyatt (Safari's lead developer) squashed this rumor shortly after the launch of iTMS in 2004. http://weblogs.mozillazine.org/hyatt/archives/2004_06.html#005666 #
  4. Don ~ Jan. 17, 2011 @ 1:04 pm

    Isn't this the sort of thing that got Microsoft in trouble? #
  5. Francis Schmaltz ~ Jan. 17, 2011 @ 2:25 pm

    @Rob (comment 3) iTunes store uses webkit. it has since the launch of itunes 9. it only uses webkit for itunes store and itunes LP. everything else is done in carbon #
  6. Peter ~ Jan. 17, 2011 @ 2:50 pm

    Yeah, Don, this sounds definitely Microsoftian in nature. With Steve out of the way, the time may be right for Apple to make a dumb move like this. The only reason to do this is to make Safari look better than it really is. #
  7. Robert ~ Jan. 17, 2011 @ 3:01 pm

    Actually, I just opened the iTunes executable file in BBEdit and searched in the complied code for Webkit. It returned 53 references including the use of UIWebKitViewMacOS #
  8. Jim ~ Jan. 17, 2011 @ 3:30 pm

    AHHHHHH!! The sky is falling! The sky is falling!!!! Morons. #
  9. Saad Ahmed ~ Jan. 17, 2011 @ 9:04 pm

    That could really improve Safari's share in browser market. #
  10. BJ ~ Jan. 17, 2011 @ 9:37 pm

    This is a rumor that not even the good rumor sites believe. Don't think the sky is falling because some weirdo thinks it is. #
  11. Halfpipe1203 ~ Jan. 18, 2011 @ 1:45 am

    Good thing i don't use iTunes or Safari. Clementine and firefox FTW!!! #
  12. JH ~ Jan. 18, 2011 @ 1:58 am

    Nonsense. iTunes is already bloatware. #
  13. Steven Klein ~ Jan. 18, 2011 @ 5:49 am

    @Rob (comment #3), It's true that iTunes didn't use Webkit back in 2004, but that definitely changed when iTunes 9 was released. See here for proof: http://www.satine.org/archives/2009/09/09/does-itunes-9-use-webkit/ #
  14. Iza ~ Jan. 18, 2011 @ 7:10 am

    This is craaazy...safari doen't work properly and will mess with itunes.... #
  15. roby ~ Jan. 18, 2011 @ 8:19 am

    OK, that's fine by us--just as long as Apple overhauls the entire iTunes interface--it's a mess. Distracting, too much going on, too many rows and columns-- and still no font selection and only minimal font resizing. We should have an option of only showing certain stores, not always entering the music store. Can anyone even read app reviews on a decent, high resolution or laptop monitor? The font is tiny and cannot be changed in size! You would think that Apple would be running afoul of the ADA, disabilities act. #
  16. Rob ~ Jan. 20, 2011 @ 11:41 am

    I stand corrected! #
  17. Car Hire Alicante Airport ~ Apr. 19, 2011 @ 9:54 pm

    Thank you for the work you have put into the post, this helps clear up a few questions I had. #

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