updated 03:55 pm EDT, Tue August 24, 2010
Fox negotiating 99-cent Apple iTV rental deal
Leaks of 99-cent iTunes TV show rentals gained credibility on Tuesday as a new source claimed that Apple is deeper into negotiations. Fox's parent company News Corp., as well as "other media companies," are understood by Bloomberg to be hashing out deals for the plan, which would give one or two days of viewing at half the price of a purchase. CBS and Disney, where Jobs has a seat on the directors' board, are also considering adopting the strategy.
The news outlet also reiterated rumors around the iTV. It would cost just $99 as it would have "smaller hard drive," actually a flash drive, and would rely much more heavily on streaming than locally stored media. More detailed rumors have asserted that it would still stop at 720p, but it would run a variant of iOS and could have an app platform.
Apple's usual, annual music event may take place on September 7 to show off the iTV and possibly the 99-cent rentals, but it's unknown if Apple will have both ready in time.
Apple has long tried to minimize Apple TV as a "hobby" in a market it didn't think was ready. Jobs at the D8 conference this year blamed cable TV boxes as they're often given away for free. However, he also hinted that Apple was growing serious about the idea and that the solution was a complete overhaul of the concept of viewing TV and to avoid devices that simply serve as Internet-aware DVRs, like TiVo boxes.
Competition has heated up primarily due to Netflix, whose unlimited viewing has made regular movie watching an option on many Blu-ray players, TVs and game consoles. Apple now also has to face the looming concern of Hulu Plus on TVs and could use 99-cent rentals to provide a more competitively priced alternative.