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Apple to announce movie rentals next month?

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The Mac Pro may not be the only thing Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveils at the company's Worldwide Developers Conference next month: he'll pull the rabbit of iTunes Music Store movie downloads out of his hat too, one Apple-watching website claims.

It's not exactly a developer-centric announcement, of course, but with all the press Microsoft's would-be iPod whacker, Zune, is getting, it's undoubtedly something Apple wants out as soon as possible. And with the world's media eagerly anticipated Jobs' WWDC keynote, what better time could there be?

Whatever the reasons, 7 August is when Jobs will reveal he's cut deals with Disney, Universal, Paramount and Warner, Think Secret reckons. The site also maintains Apple is near to agreements with the other major studios too.

The disappointing element is that the films will be rented, not sold outright. It's not yet clear whether that means unlimited playback in a fixed timeframe, or simply for a pre-defined number of viewings. The site's movie industry sources claim the studios insisted upon either a subscription model or this rental approach, though they seem to have been willing to let other providers offer a la carte movie downloads.

It's also unclear where the rental approach leaves iPod users. Presumably a software update will ensure movies rented past their play-by date, or viewed however many times is defined as the maximum, will be automatically deleted or rendered unplayable. ®

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