Mac OS Rumors says an Apple insider and long-time regular tipster of theirs has told them the next version of the Mac OS X, 10.5, will have a BitTorrent client built-in:
"Leopard" will include a system-level "BitTorrent" filesharing client that can be user-customized to 'donate' upstream Internet bandwidth for things like pushing Software Update packages to Leopard users, delivering iTunes Store content, and just about any purpose to which Apple puts its bandwidth. ...Rewards would include credit at the iTunes Store and the Apple Store as well as other affililated offers like free airtime minutes for Apple's forthcoming "iPhone" and the like.
Mac OS Rumors doesn't exactly have the best track record when it comes to accuracy, and so we pretty much think this is crazy talk, but Slashdot poster richdun does have a good theory on why this might be smart thing for Apple to do:
Credit for torrenting? Why would Apple give away iTunes music just for people to run torrents? Well, maybe because those torrents will serve up iTunes movies. Dedicated bandwidth has been the greatest obstacle to getting a full iTunes HD movie store (well, that and the movie companies' agreement, but if the tech is there and economical, the content will follow).
Would you participate in this if it actually happened? We have to admit we'd happily donate some of our upstream bandwidth in exchange for iTunes store credits, so we could buy our favorite episodes of Law & Order without feeling too guilty about paying for something we can catch on TNT almost every single day—or at least we would until ISPs caught on and started charging by bandwidth instead of flat unlimited rates.