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iTunes and Safari set to merge as App Store branches off?

Safari and iTunes could be set to merge, according to something we read on the Internet. Click to see what this spurious rumour could mean for the future of the App Store.

Safari and iTunes could be set to merge, according to something we read on the Internet. We're not usually ones to pass on spurious rumours -- oh who are we kidding, it's one of our favourite pastimes -- but bear with us: this little nugget sparks an interesting question about the future of Apple's App Store and its related software.

Three Guys and a Podcast reckons Safari and iTunes will merge. The iTunes store would only be accessible online through the browser, with an iTunes sidebar becoming an element of Safari, allowing you to access cloud-based music, video and apps.

So you'd have iTunes on the desktop, and also a different bit of iTunes in another program? It sounds complicated to us -- but it isn't necessarily as crazy as it sounds. This could be a step towards separating out the media-management side of iTunes -- which looks after your MP3s and stuff -- and the shop side of things. After all, Apple just launched the Mac App Store as a separate program instead of tacking it on to iTunes.

We welcome anything that frees iTunes from the mess it's evolved into over the years. It's a bloated resource hog, and insists on bringing its mates whenever it's downloaded. Like gatecrashers spilling into your party with a guy from work you don't know all that well, QuickTime and MobileMe and all kinds of riff-raff insist on installing themselves too.

You can lead a horse to download a browser but you can't make it switch from Firefox -- and integrating iTunes and Safari would force users to use Safari. Because like that one guy from work who you have to be nice to because he makes your computer work, you have to stick with iTunes if you have an iPad, iPhone or iPod touch.

Do you use iTunes or an alternative? And do you use Safari? Would you like to see the App Store split off from iTunes and punted into the cloud? Let us know in the comments.