One of the rumored features in the next version of iTunes (version 8) is a new visualization system. Visualizations are the images that run in conjunction with music being played through iTunes and change based on different elements of the music such as beats-per-minute (BPM). Digg founder Kevin Rose, who appears to be right in his statements about what the new iPod nano will look like, has described this new visualization as “really trippy” and having “planet like objects.”
This sounds like a third party iTunes visualization engine called Magnetosphere, as blogger Allan White points out. White also notes that the developer behind Magnetosphere, Robert Hodgins, has removed the application from his site because it was sold to another party. White believes that this other party is Apple and that Magnetosphere is in fact the new iTunes visualization.
Acquiring third party technology built to use with iTunes is something Apple has done in the past. CoverFlow, the visual album sorting method found in iTunes, was originally developed outside of Apple and is now a core component of iTunes (and the iPhone/iPod touch) after Apple acquired the technology.
See Magnetosphere in action below.
Magnetosphere revisited (audio by Tosca) from flight404 on Vimeo.