RUMOR: Apple to surprise WWDC with iTunes movie rentals

“With three weeks until Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, Think Secret has learned exclusively that CEO Steve Jobs will use his keynote address to announce the debut of movie rentals through the iTunes Music Store. While the announcement will undoubtedly be billed as a further extension of iTunes’ dominance in digital media downloads, it represents a coup for the movie industry, which will have succeeded in standing its ground against Apple’s pressures to offer consumers the option of owning movie downloads,” Ryan Katz reports for Think Secret.

MacDailyNews Note: Steve Jobs’ WWDC keynote presentation is scheduled for Monday, August 7, 2006, beginning at 10am PDT.

“Because the movies will be rented to consumers and not sold, people familiar with the situation report downloads will be coded with a date stamp that will restrict playback,” Katz reports. “‘We knew that Steve [Jobs] saw the rental model as the only viable option,’ a person familiar with the situation said. ‘We knew it was a matter of time before he signed on. The subscription business makes sense for everybody. We’ll all make money. But more importantly, it’s a different beast from music and no one—not even Steve Jobs—is blind to that.'”

More in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: We listen to songs over and over, but how often do we watch most movies? Once, maybe twice, if we liked it, right? For the small number of favorite flicks that we want to view more than once or twice, we buy the DVD. People consume music differently than they do feature films. For that reason, we think this rumor, if true, sounds like it has a good chance for success. Now, do we get a new “true” video iPod on which to watch these films or do we have to wait a bit longer for that?

Related articles:
Apple trying to negotiate movie-download price with studios – July 14, 2006
RUMOR: Apple to unveil ‘Mac Pro’ with new enclosure design, Intel Core 2 Duo at WWDC next month – July 03, 2006
Does Apple face delivery issue if they want to sell movies via iTunes Store? – June 28, 2006
Warner Bros. to distribute movies on – June 27, 2006
CEO Steve Jobs to preview Mac OS X ‘Leopard’ with team of Apple execs at WWDC 2006 keynote – June 26, 2006
BusinessWeek: Apple agreement with movie studios for iTunes Store unlikely any time soon – June 21, 2006
Apple prepares debut of full-length feature films via iTunes Store in time for 2006 holiday season – June 20, 2006
Report: Movie studios flatly reject Apples’ proposed $9.99 pricing for feature films via iTunes – June 19, 2006
Report: Apple in negotiations with movie studios; $9.99 feature films coming to iTunes soon? – June 19, 2006
Disney to sell movies over Internet via CinemaNow in Windows Media Video format – June 05, 2006
Warner Bros. to sell movies and TV shows via BitTorrent – May 09, 2006
Universal launches film download/DVD service in UK – March 23, 2006
If Front Row can stream movie trailers from Apple, why not whole movies? – January 06, 2006
BusinessWeek: Movie studios need to smarten up and let Apple sell their movies – or be left behind – October 18, 2005
Universal to put its movies online – October 06, 2005


  1. I would like a dot Mac Gold subscription which allows me to view up to 30 movies/TV shows a month from a pool of hundreds, without owning them. If it would cache onto a Mac mini for all the kids’ TV shows and my movies, then I could substitute it for the cable subscription, keeping cable for the internet and telephone only.

    Then… if iChat goes to telephones with an iPod/iPhone handset then I can get rid of the cable telephone subscription and buy all five of us an iPhone and all talk over wireless VoIP at the one time. We’d keep a couple of mobile phones for when we’re outside the house.

    Two less subscriptions, only one more.

  2. I agree with some of the previous posts – this sounds much more likely to debut during the Paris Expo. Steve tries to stay clear of iPod announcements at the developer conf. Stick to core hardware and the OS, Steve.


    The WWDC is a DEVELOPERS conference, not a consumer electronics conference. Jobs’ keynote is going to pertain to developers interests, which means OSX, software and the Mac…. PERIOD!

    iPods, iPhones, movies and any other consumer oriented product announcements NEVER have been, and NEVER will be introduced at the WWDC.


  4. Good points about this being a developers’ conference. I don’t think this would be the way Apple would introduce such a service. It just doesn’t make sense in context.

    I don’t think this is going to happen soon anyway. Schiller recently talked about how long it takes to download a full-length movie. He hyped up NetFlix instead.

  5. Why is everyone treating Renting and Owning like mutually exclusive sales models? Why the hell could Apple not do both? I hope they do, as I want to rent most of the time… but buy my favorites and watch them over and over again! (In my opinion, it would be dumb to not do both.)

    $2.99 to rent. $9.99 to own.

  6. Rental makes sense for movies. People are comfortable with the concept. Steve Jobs is too smart to not realize this fact. I sense that any attempt to negotiate an iTunes music style “one-price” a la carte sales structure was a ploy to get the best possible “rates” for the rentals. He made the media company execs believe they had “won” a major concession in exchange for better rental conditions, when that’s what Apple really expected and wanted all along.

    Why does rental make sense? Because in the physical world, there are thousands and Blockbusters, Hollywood Video, and local mom-and-pop video rental stores (there are no music rental stores, by comparison). Some people do buy their movies, but renting is the way most people consume their movies these days. Unlike music, where most people buy their songs to keep, consumers are familiar with the concept of renting movies. They prefer it to buying. So it makes perfect sense for Apple to offer the digital equivalent of a movie rental store. I wouldn’t be surprised if Apple went one step further and offered the Netflix-like “all you can consume for one monthly flat rate” scheme, since that model has also been popular in the physical world.

  7. I already pay enough for my HD digital cable service. I won’t be renting any movies. If a movie comes out and is really worth seeing, then i go see it where it is meant to be seen, in the theater

  8. It’s funny how emotional people get over this. To me, i dunno, it seems pretty cool. I can rent a movie without having to drive or wait for it in the mail. Pretty cool. I guess the quality is what worries me. TV shows are fine at lower quality, but movies have to be better.

  9. We are also probably making the mistake of saying (rent or buy) because what we are really talking about is (Under 5 bucks or over 10) What I mean by this is, if Apple was able to sell individual movies for $5, this would be the only place that you could do this… and they would be a niche player that many people would flock to.

    What if they do something totally different… like SELL full length movies for $5 a piece? That would get consumers talking!

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