Apple to Announce iTunes Movie Rentals in August?

Apple Computer, maker of the mega-popular iPod media player, is planning to announce the availability of film rentals on its iTunes Music Store on Aug. 7 at its Worldwide Developers Conference, though it will not offer movies for purchase, Think Secret reports.

The announcement would be a victory for the movie industry, which has been hesitant to move toward the movie-download sales medium, due to concerns over piracy and the possible cannibalization of retail store sales. Limiting iTunes distribution to rentals only would give the studios more control over their content.

Think Secret also claims that Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple has already inked pacts with such studios as Walt Disney, Paramount Pictures and Warner Bros. to offer their content via iTunes, and the company is in talks with additional studios.

The announcement is supposed to come on Aug. 7, during Apple Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs’ keynote speech, according to Think Secret.

To assuage some of the studios’ piracy concerns, Think Secret says downloaded movies will likely feature a “time stamp” that enables either a specific number of viewings before deactivation or a specific time period of play before the film is no longer available.

Speculation about Apple working with Hollywood studios to offer films on iTunes has been circulating throughout the blogosphere for weeks. In late June, The New York Times reported that Jobs was discussing the possibility with representatives from Warner Bros., Walt Disney, 20th Century Fox and Universal Studios.

In a separate Think Secret report, the site also claims that Apple will show off its upcoming second-generation iPod nano at its Worldwide Developers Conference, and the new media players will be available in multiple colors with additional storage capacity.

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