Apple has gently introduced support for video podcasting within iTunes.

Ars Technica reports the company has started accepting video-enabled podcasts in the same way that it accepts audio podcasts.

The move matches the flexibility of the podcasting standard, RSS 2, which is perfectly capable of carrying all manner of multimedia assets within its "enclosure" structure. The focus so far has been on audio, but video and static image assets can also be supported by the podcasting standard.

These assets aren't yet supported on the iPod's colour screen.

Video-Pod rumours persist

Apple has attracted many new iTunes users by supporting audio podcasting. It's decision to quietly lay the foundations to support video in its software has fanned the flame of rumours positing a video iPod.

These rumours have become so persistent even Business Week is looking into them. It believes that simply offering support for video podcasts on an iPod would set the scene. It also believes Apple could radically disrupt the existing video-for-download market, and perhaps help bring Hollywood aboard.

"If Apple doesn't do it, someone else will. But my money is on Apple - and Jobs. Apple is the only company that can do this right. And in fact, the movie industry needs some help in finding its way in the digital world. Apple has been this way before with music. It can do it again with video, and change the entertainment world once again," Business Week concludes.

Apple goes for podcast trademark

Meanwhile, AppleInsider this week revealed Apple to have applied for the trademark of the term "iPodcast" in two categories: hardware, (including computers, handheld devices, data carriers and recording, transmission and reproduction of sounds, images or other data), and "services", (including telecommunications, computer communications, bulletin boards and so on).