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Apple Launches iCloud Movie Service

7 Mar, 2012 By: Chris Tribbey

Apple launched its long-awaited iCloud movie service March 7, giving owners of iTunes content access to what they own on any Apple device.

The service covers content from Disney, Sony, Paramount, Warner and Lionsgate. Universal and Fox content purchased on iTunes won’t be accessible via iCloud at launch, due to pre-existing distribution deals, according to numerous reports.

The iCloud service covers both new purchases and content iTunes users already have purchased.

The service could prove a stiff competitor to the UltraViolet cloud movie service backed by five of the major studios. Apple is not a member of the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem, the cross-industry consortium backing UltraViolet.

Also March 7, Apple unveiled a new Apple TV set-top, featuring 1080p high-def video, Netflix, Vimeo, live sports, YouTube and Flickr, as well as access to more than 15,000 movies and more than 90,000 TV episodes.

“People are going to love streaming movies and TV shows in 1080p with the new Apple TV, and photos look beautiful displayed at the maximum resolution of your TV,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s SVP of worldwide marketing. “Apple TV is easier than ever to use with its new icon-based interface and the ability to access your purchased movies, TV shows and music right from iCloud.”

The new Apple TV will be available starting March 16 for $99.

In related news, Netflix announced it would allow consumers to sign up for its service directly on the Apple TV, and pay subscription fees via iTunes accounts.

“We’re always looking for ways to make the Netflix experience simpler and better,” Bill Holmes, VP of business development at Netflix, wrote in a blog post.
“Starting today, you can sign up for Netflix directly on your Apple TV and pay via your iTunes account. Plus, with the new third-generation Apple TV, you’ll also be able to watch thousands of hours of great movies and television streaming on Netflix in 1080p high-definition and with room-filling Dolby Digital 5.1 audio.”

Apple also launched a new iPad, featuring a new display and a 1080p camera.

“The new iPad redefines the category Apple created less than two years ago, delivering the most amazing experience people have ever had with technology,” Schiller said. “The new iPad now has the highest resolution display ever seen on a mobile device with 3.1 million pixels, delivering razor sharp text and unbelievable detail in photos and videos.”

Rhoda Alexander, senior manager of tablet and monitor research for IHS iSuppli, said the new iPad should see Apple regaining some of the tablet market share it lost to Android-powered tablets during the fourth quarter of 2011.

“With the release of the third-generation iPad, Apple is leapfrogging the competition, resetting the bar for media tablet performance,” Alexander said. “We expect demand for the new iPad — with its high-resolution, 2,048-by-1,536 display — to outstrip supply for much of the year. Meanwhile, more price-sensitive customers will flock to buy the freshly discounted iPad 2.”

The third-generation iPad comes priced in $499, $599 and $699 versions. Apple dropped the price of the iPad 2 to $399.

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