Photos: iTunes movie rentals and more for your iPod
As usual, there was a lot of excitement and speculation leading up to Steve Jobs' keynote for Macworld 2008, and although he didn't reveal any revolutionary new iPods, the introduction of a new movie rental service from iTunes is sure to please many current owners of the ubiquitous player. Also of note: iPod Touch owners can now add five new apps to the device, and the iPhone offers Maps with location capability.
In addition to the iTunes enhancement, Apple has announced new mapping capability for the iPhone. Previously, the Maps feature wasn't able to track your actual location, a la GPS. Now, the iPhone uses either cell towers or Wi-Fi to triangulate your position, giving you more accurate mapping abilities. It's not as accurate as GPS, but certainly better than nothing (that is, what it was before).
Apple only iPod-specific announcement for Macworld 2008 is the availability of five new applications for the iPod Touch. The apps--Mail, Maps, Stocks, Notes, and Weather--will come standard on any newly purchased Touches, but current owners will have to shell out $20 if they want the new features. The Maps will offer the same new location capability offered on the iPhone, but the Touch will only use Wi-Fi for triangulation.
Starting in February, iTunes will have 1,000 films available for users to rent. Library titles will cost $2.99, while new releases will be a slightly pricier $3.99. However, Apple won't get new releases until they've already been out on DVD for 30 days. It's not a true subscription model, but it's a step in the right direction--people are already used to the idea of renting movies, and most consumers rent this type of content more often than purchase to own.
Apple has every major movie studio on board for the iTunes movie rentals: Touchstone, Miramax, MGM, Lionsgate, New Line Cinema Fox, Warner Bros., Disney, Paramount, Universal, and Sony. Once you find the movie you are looking for, it takes just one click to either rent or purchase. On the tangible media side, selected DVDs that you purchase will offer an iTunes Digital Copy that can be legally transferred to your computer and iPods.
Movie rentals are available for up to 30 days after payment--until you hit Play, that is. Once you start watching a movie, it will only be available for 24 hours from the moment you started. View rentals on your desktop or laptop, or transfer them to your iPhone or iPod. Sadly, owners of older video-capable iPods are out of luck: Movie rentals are only compatible with the iPod Classic, the iPod Touch, and the third-gen iPod Nano.