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Friday, March 07, 2008, 07:55 pm PT (10:55 pm ET)

BBC iPlayer official; Gameloft iPhone games; Beatles in 2008?

The BBC has finalized the first version of its iPlayer TV service for the iPhone and iPod touch. Also, Gameloft and id Software have weighed in on iPhone gaming, and Paul McCartney's divorce may be the last obstacle to the Beatles on iTunes.

BBC iPlayer launches for iPhone, iPod

True to its word, the British Broadcasting Corporation has formally launched its iPlayer service for Apple's iPhone and iPod touch media players.

While still a beta, the feature is the first instance of the on-demand TV replay service to be available for a portable device. Visiting the site from a normal computer requires either Adobe Flash (for streaming) or a Windows PC (for downloads) for copyright reasons.

The UK media outlet explains that the Apple-friendly version works by streaming a 516Kbps H.264 video feed over the website; as it's limited to just a narrow set of devices, no Flash plugins or software development kit support is necessary. The bandwidth does mean Wi-Fi is necessary. "The iPhone's EDGE connectivity is too slow," says the BBC's digital media head, Anthony Rose.

The BBC has promised a Mac-native iPlayer sometime in 2008.

Gameloft vows iPhone games this year

Although the iPhone and iPod touch have gone without any native games from its launch until the present, Gameloft on Friday said it would publish a full 15 titles for the devices by the end of the year.

The French company is considered one of the click wheel iPod's premier game developers and recently hinted at iPhone development through a mockup video just weeks before Apple's iPhone SDK presentation.

id Software's Carmack impressed by early iPhone development

Best known as the technology pioneer behind Doom and Quake, id Software co-founder John Carmack has weighed in on the merits of Apple's iPhone development process.

Initially, the software proves promising with ways to test iPhone apps either on the actual device or in software emulation. The App Store on iTunes is also described as an essential component: the 70/30 revenue split is good compared to many mobile app stores, and the sheer scope of the App Store for reaching customers is a "more important aspect than a lot of people understand," he says.

Still, he notes, his longstanding connection to Mac game development hasn't won him any favors from Apple, which didn't provide an advance build as it did to EA and a handful of other teams.

"I think Steve is still pissed at me over some negative comments I made about iPod development tools a while ago," Carmack says.

Sir Paul's divorce only roadblock to Beatles on iTunes soon?

Of all the described obstacles to the Beatles' catalog launching on the iTunes Store this year, the one major issue left may be Sir Paul McCartney's divorce from Heather Mills, claims the British newspaper The Evening Standard.

Digital versions of the Fab Four's rock group are a double-edged sword for McCartney, according to the source. While posting the albums on iTunes would help pay for his divorce from Heather Mills — providing as much as $403.5 million to be split between the group — it may also lead Mills to demand a settlement of $60.5 million or more. She knows that the digital catalog will inflate McCartney's future income, the paper says.

After having struck a truce with Apple Inc. last year, the Beatles' label Apple Corps is known to have sped up the process of remastering the group's collection for digital stores with the aim of a release before the end of 2008.