There were a number of interesting announcements at this morning’s MacWorld keynote presentation by Steve Jobs including software enhancements to the iPhone and iTouch, and a very thin Mac notebook computer.
Also noteworthy are the newly announced movie features of iTunes and Apple TV. Apple’s iTunes Movie Rentals will include the option to view both DVD quality and high-definition versions of films, and will offer the ability to move movies from your Mac or PC to your iPod or iPhone, or to your large-screen connected Apple TV. The price of Apple TV drops from $299 to $229 and will also include the ability to directly download movies and other video content without having to move the files over from your Mac or PC.
Also in evidence in today’s presentation was Mr. Jobs’ keen sense of showmanship. The vague outlines of the iTunes Movie Rentals announcement had been heavily rumored before the event. One of the big unknowns, however, was which studios Jobs would be able to corral into the Apple camp. There was much speculation that getting broad studio participation would be a problem for Jobs, particularly given how the music industry has been grousing lately about how much control was ceded to Apple in the original deal to sell audio content through iTunes.
At the MacWorld keynote Jobs introduced the iTunes Movie Rentals feature and proudly stated, “We’ve gotten the participation of some great studios.” As the projection screen displayed the studios’ logos, Jobs mentioned each one: “Touchstone Pictures, Miramax, MGM, Lions Gate, and New Line Cinema.”
Jobs paused and then stated, “Oh, and by the way, these six, too” as the screen changed to show the logos of 20th Century Fox, Warner Brothers, Walt Disney, Paramount, Universal, and Sony Pictures.
That’s right, all the major studios will be providing iTunes Movie Rentals. Apple plans to launch with 1000 films by the end of February. However, movies won’t be available through iTunes until 30 days after the DVD release.
Apple’s ability to get content into your living room, on your computer, and on to mobile devices — along with a partnership with all the major studios — could be a game-changer.
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