Apple has managed to sprinkle a few intriguing features on its media platform, iTunes 9, which lead us to believe that the Cupertino-based company isn't ignoring the threat presented by Spotify, Rhapsody or other web-based streaming services.
The 89MB download has introduced the ability for "avid social networkers" to market their favourite music, film and TV programmes on Facebook and Twitter from within the iTunes application.
In addition, Genius Mixes allows the user to create their own personalised ad-free radio channels based on the music they have in their iTunes library. This is similar to Scrobbling, the automatic track logging system implemented by Last.fm.
Then there's the fact that you can now share the content you "own" across multiple computers in your house (or domain).
These three features alone almost certainly means that Apple may be looking at turning iTunes into a Spotify-like service in a near future together with enhanced social networking capability with iTunes users being able to join groups and fandom.
But this is not far we guess since iTunes LP and iTunes Extras could well be the perfect lure to create an ecosystem, similar to a social networking website, that allows Apple to sell its songs, fans to congregate online and within a controlled environment be it at their desktop, laptop or mobile devices.
Apple could also potentially launch its own version of Spotify (supported by advertising) and starting to sell virtual tickets to online gigs.
We strongly believe that iTunes in its current version is nearing its end-of-life. The next version of iTunes is likely to be very different and we expect it to be integrated with Safari or offered as an online model similar to Spotify. Others like Techcrunc have also called for a "lite" version of the application.