Apple quietly released a point (4.8) update to iTunes yesterday (5/9/05). This update has been viewed as relatively minor, especially for Windows users, by those who have downloaded it so far.

I also viewed this update as minor, until I went to purchase the Dave Matthews Band album that was released today. With a little bit of creative thinking, and dot connecting, you can almost see the future of not only the iPod, but also the way we carry video with us.

The new Dave Matthews Band album features a few extras that are firsts for the iTunes Music Store, namely Video Downloads and Digital Booklets.

If you are running iTunes 4.7 and you attempt to purchase this album (or any other with these exclusive extras) you will be prompted to download the 4.8 version of the iTunes music store. Apparently, this is not a required download, but is recommended.

The first thing you will notice about these new files are the icons located to the right of the track names (see image right). 

The downloadable Stand Up video features a behind-the-scenes look at the creative process behind the making of the album with the members of the band talking about each song and how it came about. The digital booklet features liner notes and album artwork, something many users have been clamoring for, and opens in the Preview application when clicked on.

Video can be viewed in one of three ways in iTunes 4.8. You can view it in the small Now Playing preview window, which was previously reserved for album cover art, you can click on the Now Playing preview window and the video will open in a new player window, or you can click on the full screen button and the video will play full screen (see images below). These new features, while they may seem minor, make the iTunes Music Store feel more complete. No longer are you getting just music, but you are getting the entire work.

Now Playing Preview
Video Player Window
Full screen Button

The Future of iPod and the way we view and transport video In addition to being able to download and view music videos, you can also add your own video files by simply dragging and dropping them into a playlist. Why is this important? Why would you want to store your video files in your music jukebox? Especially when iPhoto now has the ability to organize your video files?

Think portable. Think iPod.

With this update, I can envision video iPods in the not-too-distant future that allow you to carry your own personal video, your favorite music videos or even your favorite movies/television shows. And, with the iPod’s (iPod Photo) ability to connect to your television to view slide shows, then the next logical step would be the ability to use that same connection to share video. The argument against a video iPod has always been that no one wants to watch video on a 2” screen, and I agree. But, what if you could connect the iPod to a television and watch your favorite videos in all of their glory? Would that make a compelling case for a video iPod?

What do you think? Let us hear your your thoughts on the iPod, iTunes and the future of video below.

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