Apple Enters Movie Rental Market

Apple CEO Steve Jobs gestures during his keynote at the MacWorld Conference in San Francisco, Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2008. AP Photo/Paul Sakuma

Apple Inc. Chief Executive Steve Jobs confirmed the tech giant's foray into online movie rentals Tuesday, revealing an alliance with all six major movie studios to offer first-run films over high-speed Internet connections.

The announcement during the Macworld Conference & Expo in San Francisco capped months of speculation that an Apple movie rental service was in the offing. The service launched Tuesday in the United States and will roll out internationally later this year.

The Cupertino-based company will have more than 1,000 movies for online rental through iTunes by the end of February, with prices of $2.99 for older movies and $3.99 for new releases. Users can watch instantly over a broadband Internet connection, or download and keep the movie for 30 days while having 24 hours to finish the movie once it's started.

Apple is partnering with 20th Century Fox, Warner Brothers, Walt Disney, Paramount, Universal and Sony.

Jobs also unveiled a string of new features for the iPhone, showing how users of the combination iPod-cell phone-Internet surfing device can now pinpoint their location on Web maps, text-message multiple people at once and customize their home screens.

Jobs also said Apple has sold 4 million iPhones during their first 200 days on sale.

A packed auditorium cooed and applauded when Jobs demonstrated mapping upgrades to the iPhone. Other features rolling out Tuesday included the ability to switch around icons on the iPhones home screen. Users also can create up to nine home screens.

Jobs also unveiled new software for the iPod Touch music player. New models will have be able to process e-mail and perform new mapping functions.

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