updated 12:55 pm EST, Fri December 28, 2007
iTunes rentals beyond Fox?
Apple's unconfirmed video rental service will debut with several companies onboard, not just one, according to the New York Times. The Financial Times recently uncovered a deal with 20th Century Fox, which should see new releases come straight to iTunes, and iPod-sized, FairPlay-encoded files carried on DVD titles. The New York Times now cites "several people familiar with the negotiations" as saying that when Fox appears on stage at Macworld January 14th, it will be joined by several other companies whose names are not being leaked.
One strong possibility may be Disney, as Apple CEO Steve Jobs is on the company's board of directors, and it is the only company currently selling new movie releases through iTunes -- every other studio is selling older movies, or merely TV shows.
If and when a video rental service is confirmed, it will represent something of a backtrack for Jobs, who has criticized rentals in the past in favor of purchases. Rentals have, however, been one of the greatest public demands for iTunes, and Apple has found itself increasingly behind the times in face of rival services such as Movielink and Amazon's Unbox. Should Apple adopt rentals it could also aid the struggling Apple TV, which has had to compete with the likes of cableco set-top boxes and TiVo.