Provided that Apple doesn't decide to delay the release of iTunes 11 until December, the newest iteration of the music/video player/sync tool/store application should be popping out of Cupertino by Friday. iTunes has been around since January 2001, and Jacqui Cheng at Ars Technica has done a wonderful job of chronicling the history of the iTunes app since that time.
Cheng notes that when iTunes 1.0 first hit Macs, Apple hadn't even released the first iPod. At the time, the app was used to rip CDs, let you create your own playlists, and then burn mix CDs of your own. Ten months after the first release of iTunes, version 2.0 shipped along with the iPod.
It wasn't until iTunes 4.0 that we had our first chance at purchasing music with the app, and music videos didn't arrive on the scene until iTunes 6.0 in October of 2005. Movies showed up with 7.0, the iTunes Genius with 8.0, and home sharing with 9.0. Do any of us remember what the big marquee feature of iTunes 10.0 was? Ping, the social network that nobody used.
Cheng finishes off her history of iTunes with a peek at what to expect this week (or next month) when iTunes 11 finally appears. "So what makes the next version of iTunes so great? For one, it has a revamped UI meant to provide a more themed experience when listening to albums. It also has better integration with iCloud, which now automatically downloads your iOS device purchases directly to your iTunes library on the computer. And finally, iTunes can pick up on a movie where you left off on your iPhone or iPad. Oh, and did we mention the redesigned Mini Player?"
We'll let you know when iTunes 11 gets here, so visit TUAW frequently this week until you get the word.