BlackBerry opens pre-orders for Red, White Passport
BlackBerry's previously-revealed limited edition versions of the Passport smartphone are available to pre-order today. The red version with black framing and highlights, along with a white model, can be pre-ordered now from BlackBerry directly ready for shipping on November 28th. The red model is priced at $699, while the white version is being sold at a lower $599.
Prices start at $4.25, limited selection
A MacNN reader has reported an announcement from Apple that iTunes movie rentals are now available in that country. While the iTunes Store has been available for music in Portugal since October of 2004, this is the first time movies have been available for rental. Prices for film rentals appear to start at 3€, or about $4.25. The country also recently got its own iBookStore at the end of September. Apple only got iTunes stores running in all EU countries last month.
Estimated to be 475,000 per day, mostly TV
Video rentals from iTunes represent just a tenth or so of those recorded by Netflix, suggests Gleacher & Co. analyst Brian Marshall. Apple recently revealed that people are buying or renting about 150,000 movies and 400,000 TV shows through iTunes each day. Assuming that 75 percent of movies and 90 percent of shows are rented, says Marshall, Apple should be serving about 475,000 rentals a day versus Netflix's 5.1 million.
Report claims option coming soon
NBC may be ready to allow 99-cent TV show rentals on iTunes, a report suggests. 9to5Mac is basing the claim on a screenshot unearthed in iTunes, depicting 99-cent rentals as an option for season five of The Office. The image could simply be a mockup, suggesting that Apple was or still is expecting NBC to come on board for rentals. At present, only shows from ABC and Fox stations can be rented.
Adds AirPlay, AirPrint, free Find My iPhone
The delayed iOS 4.2 firmware has finally been released. The firmware is the first version of iOS 4 to reach the iPad, and makes several feature upgrades, such as support for streaming music, photos and video to an Apple TV via AirPlay, and printing to a handful of HP printers by way of AirPrint. Apple notes that greater printer support and AirPlay-compatible speaker options are expected over the course of the next several months. [updated]
99p rentals at iTunes UK
The UK storefront for iTunes has joined those in Canada and the US in offering discount movie rentals, Apple has announced. The site now advertises a "99p Film of the Week" program, letting people rent a single movie at a sharp discount over the normal cost of £2.49. The chosen debut movie is John Frankenheimer's Ronin, a 1998 thriller about the life of spies in a world without good, evil or the Soviet Union.
Blockbuster in-store D/Ls
Blockbuster will soon launch a pilot program of in-store movie downloads, says the company's CEO. James Keyes revealed the information at an annual shareholder meeting Wednesday, noting that a trial will take place sometime within the next month, and involve store visitors inserting a form portable device into a kiosk, and copying movies in a process that should take approximately two minutes. At present the major issue is said to be studio support, as Blockbuster is still negotiating for available content.
Representing the latest effort to compete with iTunes in the burgeoning movie download space, CinemaNow is now offering a variety of paid content services through Windows Media Center. These include download-to-own movies, priced from $10 to $20; TV shows and music videos are priced at $2. The company claims that download-to-own movies are available day-and-date of retail DVD release, but doesn't mention the breadth of the upcoming library (right now there are about 3,400 feature-length movies in CinemaNow's collection). The service will also offer 24 hour movie rentals priced between $3 and $4. Select Pay-Per-View titles are available day-and-date of retail DVD release.
Apple fails to deliver
Apple promised the world in mid-January that 1,000 iTunes movie rentals would arrive at the company's iTunes Store by the end of February, but those rentals were still missing in action on the last day of last month. Macworld quotes Apple's statement during the Macworld Expo in San Francisco earlier this year: "iTunes Movie Rentals launches today and will offer over 1,000 titles by the end of February, including over 100 titles in stunning high definition video with 5.1 Dolby Digital surround sound which users can rent directly from their widescreen TV using Apple TV."
Apple TV gallery
After a small delay, Apple has unveiled Apple TV Take 2, a software update that adds many features to the set top box. MacNN today had a chance to explore the update fully, examining the new iTunes movie rentals and store interface, as well as the addition of photo streaming from .Mac and Flickr. Below is a gallery of the new interface and features.
Apple extends rental limit
Although Apple has said it is confident that users are enjoying iTunes rentals, widespread critique began to form regarding the 24-hour rental period. Users insisted that it was simply not enough time to finish a movie due to a busy lifestyle, while others were exploring methods that would circumvent the time limit. Macworld.com notes that Apple has quietly extended the duration of movie rentals to allow users the opportunity to finish watching a film
Analyst: Rentals stand out
The keynote delivered by Apple CEO Steve Jobs yesterday was generally underwhelming, says American Technology Research analyst Shaw Wu. Many of the announcements were anticipated and not especially dramatic, Wu notes, and among these he includes the MacBook Air, what was intended to be the highlight of the presentation. Despite its unusual design, Wu argues that its features overlap too far with current MacBooks, and may thus not push incremental sales in the same way as ASUS' Eee subnotebook.
iTunes movie rentals
Apple CEO Steve Jobs today launched movie rentals via the company's iTunes Store. Disney, Miramax, MGM, Lionsgate and New Line Cinema are confirmed as being on-board, as are Fox, Sony, Warner Bros., Paramount and Touchstone -- bringing "every major studio" into the equation, according to Jobs. The companies have agreed to offer their movies to iTunes customers on a rent-to-watch basis, with people paying $2.99 and $3.99, respectively, for old and new standard-definition releases, or $3.99 and $4.99 for HD-quality titles. New releases consist of titles arriving 30 days after their retail DVD shipment.
Macworld gear expectations
Three main announcements will be made at Macworld 2008, according to Shaw Wu of American Technology Research. The biggest of these is the widely-anticipated subnotebook, which Wu notes will mark Apple's first such computer since the PowerBook 2400 released in the late 1990s. It is predicted that the new subnotebook will make use of NAND flash storage, not only increasing access speed but improving weight, reliability and battery life.
Fox, Disney iTunes rentals
More details of the highly-anticipated iTunes rental service have been leaked, according to Variety. The movie trade magazine cites "studio sources" as saying that Fox and Disney are indeed confirmed as partners, and will make some sort of appearance during the January 14th Macworld keynote by Apple CEO Steve Jobs. The two may also be joined by other distributors, such as MGM, Lionsgate and Paramount, which like Fox and Disney already sell permanent downloads on the iTunes Store.
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.