It appears quite likely that inside the BETA release for iTunes 10.5 comes a code that points directly at the future ability for users to rent applications instead of purchasing them. What this could mean is several things - it could simply be the ability for developers to allow rentals of their applications, this opening up a new window for revenue where now only freemium, payed, and free with apps options exist. Could this be the start of another revolution in app developing, or is it a complete phantom, only a re-named way to try apps out before purchase?
What twitter user SonnyDickson appears to have found is a set of five simple codes, the first asking if you'd like to start playing an app, the second being the key - saying that apps are automatically removed from your iTunes library at the end of the rental period, the third and fourth reminding you that the app will be deleted, the fourth simply reading App. This seems like a possibility for iOS - sucking an app back up into the mainframe once it's expired, why not? But here's the thing: this may not be used for what you think it'll be used for.
Consider, for instance, in-flight entertainment - this link shows a situation in which you'll already have to have a device in order to get rental media, and the media at hand is simply movies in this case, but imagine renting a game exclusive to that flight? What if you could rent a special American Airlines version of Angry Birds? Or perhaps you get handed an iPad in first class on the flight, for instance, and you want to play a game, but don't want to buy it because you don't actually OWN an iDevice for yourself. How about a rental?
Then there's the idea that some apps are too expensive for how many times you end up using them. How about if you've got a unique situation in which you need to edit some video, but you never plan on doing the same thing again? Rental!
Other than that, who knows - Apple just ended TV Episode rentals, so perhaps this is a lost cause immediately - or maybe it won't arrive at all! We'll see you tomorrow at http://live.slashgear.com/ where we'll be Livecasting all the details of the Apple iPhone event straight from the source. We'll also have full coverage here in the main news feed, so sit tight!