Daniel Eran Dilger
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Report: iTunes 9 to support DVD ripping, Facebook

Prince McLean, AppleInsider

A report filed by a tipster claiming access to iTunes 9 says that it is “possible” the next version of Apple’s media player will sport both DVD import and playback as well as Facebook integration, allowing users to advertise songs and playlists with their friends.

Report: iTunes 9 to support DVD ripping, Facebook
The report and screenshots were published by the Boy Genius Report, which earlier in the month wrote that iTunes 9 is expected to allow organization of iPhone apps and iPod games and indicated some sort of social media integration was in the cards.

The latest report includes screen shots that depict a Facebook category in the iTunes Source list, allowing users to advertise new song titles and playlists in their Facebook profile. Also included is a screen shot of how advertised tracks would appear on Facebook.

BGR also presents a screen shot of iTunes 9 that suggests the capability to sync music, video, podcast, and photo content to third party device, a Samsung YH-J70xx MP3 player. Apple has previously only signaled a disinterest in supporting sync with third party devices, actively halting the Palm Pre’s attempts to identify itself as an iPod.

More interesting are the depiction of buttons in the lower right that allow for DVD playback and import, suggesting that iTunes could do for DVDs what it got started doing for CDs. Were Apple to negotiate the right to rip DVDs, it would radically change the home movie industry in ways the industry has not demonstrated any interest in exploring. However, the addition of a “DVD Playback” button suggests that the screen shots are more likely to be fakes, as iTunes already has a playback button: “play.”

The studios have worked hard to thwart any commercial attempts to enable users to rip their own DVDs, recently filing an injunction against RealNetwork’s DVD Ripper software and even opposing a home theater installer from allowing users to rip their own DVDs for digital playback, despite the system not even producing an easy to distribute copy.

At Macworld Expo 2008, Apple announced having worked out a compromise with Twentieth Century Fox called Digital Copy for iTunes, which puts a mobile version of the movie on the DVD for use with iPods, the iPhone, Apple TV, and other media devices. Many new DVDs now include a Digital Copy of the movie, which doesn’t require any media ripping steps (transcoding and compression); instead, it simply initiates an iTunes download using a code included with the DVD.

Ripping an entire DVD (which includes defeating its copy protection and transcoding) would require Apple to obtain a special exemption from the DVD Forum license, something that hasn’t happened before. Similarly, the current DVD license also means that adding DVD playback to iTunes would require Apple to disable screen shots while the app was running, indicating that the screen shots of what appears to be iTunes playing a DVD would also need to be the product of a very relaxed DVD license or simply an outright fake.

Rumors also indicate Apple is gearing up to support Blu-ray playback, something that Apple has shown no interest in doing despite being an early member of the Blu-ray Disc Association and remaining one of its 19 board members. Blu-ray discs compete directly against Apple’s preferred model of selling and promoting digital downloads.

While Blu-ray offers major advantages for high end users in terms of audio quality and video resolution, Apple primarily sells devices that don’t really benefit from Blu-ray’s higher resolution, prompting Apple to leave the new disc technology to HDTV makers like Sony and LG to push.

Apple is expected to release a new update to its iPod lineup in its September 9 event, which will likely also include an updated version of iTunes and possibly the long anticipated Apple TV 3.0 update adding support for HTTP Live Streaming, which has already shipped as part of iPhone 3.0 and will be part of the new QuickTime X in Mac OS X Snow Leopard.

  • http://n/a patrickwilliamwalker

    I don’t by the DVD ripping at all. Didn’t the movie industry get some people jailed during the whole DeCSS fiasco a few years back?

  • http://www.blakehelms.net helmsb

    The large amount of white space on the third party syncing screen is also suspicious. It just looks unApple like

  • http://twitter.com/NateTehGreat nat

    Yeah, DVD ripping seems highly unlikely. Perhaps DVD/BD playback, but given that Apple is trying to kill off physical discs altogether, such a move would be counterproductive.

    As for the ‘Facebook integration,’ I just went to iTunes, went to that same BEP song, right-clicked it which gave me the option to ‘copy iTunes Store URL’, and pasted it into Facebook’s status box. Here’s the result:

    So I’m guessing Boy Genius (or whoever sent them this info) did the same thing, then whipped up a fake iTunes-Facebook entry in Photoshop.

  • http://home.comcast.net/~daguy daGUY

    MacRumors posted these same images, but is now saying they have “good reason” to believe it’s faked.

    I’m going to err on the side of faked as well. DVD ripping and syncing with third-party devices just seems too far-fetched. Plus, there’s some graphical errors in the screenshots (like when the iTunes 9 About window is open, the player window in the background is still dark like it’s active).

    I do think there will be some kind of social feature. I’m hoping they expand Genius to work with ALL your content – movies, podcasts, apps, etc. in addition to music. That could be cool.

  • http://www.sistudio.net studiodave

    Why would they make DVD playback in iTunes when it is already in DVD Player with no CPU overhead? Answer they would not.
    Obviously fake.

  • Jesse

    Facebook integration? As Dan says, Hahano.

  • MikieV

    DVD ripping – in the US market, with its Digital Millennium Copyright Act – could only have been as a “just in case” scenario; to have something ready if RealNetworks had prevailed in their court battle to allow DVD-ripping to “secure” copies.

    Outside the US – they may be able to get away with it. But, the US has been brokering so many trade agreements – which obligate the other country to impose similar protections of US copyright – that there aren’t many markets left that don’t have some sort of DMCA-equivalent laws on the books or in the works.

    Steve Jobs has always been clear on the fact that music never had DRM on albums, cassettes, or CDs – but video has tried to impose copy-protection since Macrovision on VHS/Beta tapes.

    I’m amused that he argues for music to be DRM-free, but shows no interest in video [like Pixar or Disney, hmm?] being DRM-free.