By Harry McCracken | Thursday, February 12, 2009 at 12:07 am
AppleInsider is reporting a rumor that Apple is working on something called iTunes Replay that would let you stream movies and TV shows you’d purchased across the Net and onto a computer, iPhone,iPod Touch, or Apple TV, eliminating the need to download them and store them locally. Says who? Um, AppleInsider is so vague on that point that its story doesn’t even deserve the honorific “thinly sourced.” All the site says is that it’s “believed” that iTunes Replay is in the works. The person doing the believing could be…well, anyone. Including a clueless nincompoop, or perhaps the guy who told AppleInsider about the cheap iPhone Lite that Apple was going to launch in the fall of 2007.
Or maybe not–CNet says that somebody in the movie biz has confirmed AppleInsider’s report. I’ll believe it when I stream it, but I hope it’s accurate–in a world in which digital video is more popular than ever and even a terabyte hard drive can’t store that much of it, it would make a lot of sense to have the option of leaving the storing to Apple. At first blush, the concept is similar to the streaming services offered by NetFlix and Amazon, but you’d hope that Apple’s approach would be beautifully integrated with its existing iTunes options. You’d buy a movie once, then download it or stream it as your needs required.
Everybody who’s writing about this is noting Apple’s recent deal with Internet content distribution company Limelight Networks. Apple making arrangements to be able to pump more content quickly and reliably across the Internet doesn’t mean that iTunes Replay is a reality…but for what it’s worth, it’s exactly the sort of thing Apple might do if were planning to let its customers stream their hearts out.