I think we will need updated hardware (OpenGL 5.0!) for such feature (2) but I follow it definitely.
To come back to the image1D != or == to buffer I would like to say that hardware doesn't necessary use the exact same wires (in the chip) to fetch images or buffers data... this is really implementation differences. An close example is uniform buffer vs texture buffer. Very close conceptually, could be identical in the use but there are performances.