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Apple schemes mobile movie streams

As Netflix mulls iPhone app

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Apple executives are shopping around the idea of enabling iTunes users to back up movies, music, and television on the company's servers and to access them from any internet-connected device.

Movie studio representatives have reportedly been approached by Apple over creating a possible free streaming service for iTunes, Cnet said, citing two anonymous insiders who are "familiar with the discussions."

Apple has supposedly been proposing a similar scheme to major music labels as well.

Cupertino's pitch to media overlords is that such a service would encourage owners of mobile devices with extremely limited storage space — viz: the iPhone, iPod, and iPad — to purchase more digital content without having to worry about filling up the hard drive.

But content moguls want to ensure that Cupertino doesn't try to wall-off the streaming delivery to only Apple-created devices and services, so as not to repeat the music industry's unease about Apple's control of digital tunes with the iTunes music store.

Netflix ready for iPhone?

Apple's cloudy plans continue to surface as movie rental outfit Netflix flirts with the notion of streaming movies to the iPhone and iPod Touch.

The Hacking Netflix blog reports that a leaked company survey describes such a service in some detail. The claimed survey query bids users to "imagine" a subscriber-only feature allowing the company's selection of "some new releases, lots of classics, and TV episodes" on Apple devices at no additional charge.

It promises that movies would take less than 30 seconds to load, although unfortunately would only work over Wi-Fi. If the survey question is true, it's a promising indication that the app is on the way. Netflix sent out similar surveys for the Wii and Playstation 3 users before the console services were announced.

Neflix CEO Reed Hastings told Reuters last September that a partnership with Apple is "something that's likely to come over time. But nothing short term." He said the first goal is to get Netflix on Blu-Ray players and on the major video game consoles. With most of that accomplished, it would seem the mobile market is right down the pipe. ®

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