The Internet Stock Blog asks: "Is it possible that if Yahoo is the new Internet media leader with RSS, etc. and Google is the leader in search, that Apple will own rich media?"
Well 'own' is too strong a word, but I do know I'll be paying much more attention to Apple this year than last. With iTunes and the recently video-enabled iPod, Apple is in a strong position to lead the way in delivering microchunked entertainment media over the Web to consumers. I expect all the main players (e.g. MS, Yahoo, Goog, AOL) to increase their presence in rich media in 2006 though, including releasing Internet-connected media devices a la Apple.
Update: Chris Garrett left a great comment that is worth highlighting: "If they release the expected media center mac mini they would also have a strong basis to develop a suite of rich media applications, hopefully incraesing the visual offerings of iTunes and maybe even expending it into a platform for streaming TV. They could develop this into a form of subscription TV, free of ads. If this happens we might start to see specialist channels becoming more conspicuous and possibly the rise of Indie Television."
Think Secret has more on this: "Apple is planning to unveil a robust new content distribution system in January at Macworld Expo alongside its revamped media-savvy Mac mini, Think Secret has learned. The new content system and related media deals, which will include feature-length content, expanded television offerings, and more, will further cement Apple's increasing lead in digital media delivery.