updated 04:45 pm EDT, Fri July 8, 2011
Apple may push some movies to 1080p in fall
Sources revealed Friday that Apple is looking to test movies in 1080p. A "handful" of movies, including at least one from Fox and two other studios, have been submitted that would optionally go to the higher, 10Mbps video format identified as "HD+." AppleInsider in getting the rumor also heard of rumors within Apple itself supporting a 1080p-capable Apple TV to match the content.
Little is known about this model, but it would probably use the same A5 as in the iPad 2 and the eventual iPhone 5. Apple might have to expand the onboard cache beyond 8GB to fit the much larger video sizes.
Any live tests would start in September or October.
Signs have been emerging that 1080p will be a selling point for Apple's device lineup in the fall. Discoveries have shown 1080p references in iOS 5 that include both playback and export. Apple would likely want to wait on having a complete ecosystem of devices to get 1080p playing; those who record the full resolution on an iPhone 5, for example, would likely want to AirPlay the video to an Apple TV without having to downscale the footage.
Apple isn't the first to adopt 1080p video as numerous TV media hubs, as well as some phones, can handle the demands. Its ownership of iTunes and awareness of the network demands may have discouraged it from going beyond 720p until now. A 10Mbps connection is unrealistic for much of the US, where 68 percent don't meet FCC standards of 4Mbps or better. The speed isn't necessary but is what Apple would need to get real-time playback without buffering.