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Saturday, December 29, 2007, 08:00 am PT (11:00 am ET)

More studios reported linked to iTunes rentals; iPhone 1.1.3 leaked?

20th Century Fox will not be alone among studios when Apple reveals an iTunes movie rental service, according to one claim. Also, new photos purport to show simulated GPS and other features in upcoming iPhone firmware.

Report: Fox to be joined by others for iTunes rentals

News Corp.'s 20th Century Fox is not the only Hollywood movie studio confirmed to be offering rentals of its movie catalog through iTunes, the New York Times reports.

Echoing the Financial Times claim made earlier in the week, the New York paper alleges that multiple sources are aware that "more than one" movie production house is committed to the project, which will reportedly be unveiled during the Macworld San Francisco keynote in mid-January.

Since the initial rumor surfaced, many have suggested the self-evident possibility that Walt Disney and its subdivisions are the most likely candidates: Apple chief Steve Jobs currently sits on Disney's board of directors and is credited with bringing the studio's movies to iTunes for the current purchase-only strategy.

Whichever studios are involved, Apple has not had much success concealing its plans. The company's iTunes feedback system inadvertently revealed rented movies as an option, while other reports have shown rental code within iTunes itself.

iPhone 1.1.3 features leaked through photos?

Apple's version 1.1.3 firmware upgrade for the iPhone will be more than just a maintenance update, Gear Live maintains in a new report.

Offering what appear to be legitimate photos (mirrored on Flickr), the site suggests that the impending patch will bring about a host of new features, some of which have been heavily requested since the Apple handset's launch in June. Users will be able to rearrange the location of icons on the home screen, including taking icons out of the tray at the bottom. Safari will also allegedly have an option to set a specific website as an icon at the home screen, creating a shortcut for web apps or for a preferred home page.

Frequent text messaging users will also be pleased to know they can at last send SMS messages to more than one recipient at a time, according to the supposed leak.

Google Maps will also flesh out considerably from its current form. A new positioning feature dubbed Locate Me will simulate GPS navigation by triangulating the iPhone owner's position from nearby cellular towers; based on the images, this will provide the user with a circle that shows the approximate location rather than pinpointing it exactly, which would require true GPS.

The map utility should also have a newly expanded options list separated into direction-finding and search categories, including a hybrid map view borrowed from the web version of Google Maps that combines both street outlines and the satellite imagery.

While potentially convincing, the report does not indicate when the update will be introduced.