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Apple on Tuesday announced iTunes 7, the most significant enhancement to the its music jukebox and online music and video store since it debuted in 2001. It also preview its much anticipated iTV set-top box / wireless video streaming device due out in the first quarter of 2007.
Movies will become available on the iTunes Store the same day they are released on DVD, with new releases priced at $12.99 when pre-ordered and during their first week of availability, and $14.99 thereafter, and library titles available for just $9.99 every day.
"Here we go again! First music, then TV shows, and now movies," said Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO. "In less than one year we've grown from offering just five TV shows to offering over 220 TV shows, and we hope to do the same with movies. iTunes is selling over one million videos a week, and we hope to match this with movies in less than a year."
"ABC and Disney Channel were the first networks to offer television programming on iTunes, and we're once again breaking new ground as The Walt Disney Studios becomes the first to debut feature films on the iTunes platform," said Robert Iger, president and CEO, The Walt Disney Company. "Disney is committed to providing innovative ways for audiences to enjoy their favorite entertainment content, and our association with Apple is yet another example of how we continue to reach consumers on their terms, regardless the time, location or device."
The iTunes Store has quickly become the world's most popular video download store, selling over one million videos per week.It began selling TV shows with five shows from ABC/Disney less than a year ago, in October 2005, and rapidly expanded its library to over 220 television shows from over 40 networks today. The iTunes Store also features the world's largest catalog of online music with over 3.5 million songs and has sold a stunning 1.5 billion songs, making it the world's most popular digital music store.
The iTunes Store now features new releases and library titles from Walt Disney Pictures, Pixar, Touchstone Pictures and Miramax Films, such as "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl," "Shakespeare in Love," "The Princess Diaries," "The Incredibles," "National Treasure," "Toy Story," "The Rock" and "The Rookie." Customers can purchase and download movies from iTunes the same day they become available on DVD, or pre-order upcoming movies which are automatically downloaded when they become available. Customers get the same one-click download experience for movies that they enjoy with music and TV shows.
With iTunes 7, all videos purchased from the iTunes Store are downloaded in near-DVD quality at a resolution of 640x480 (up to 480, depending on the aspect ratio), which is four times higher than before. Downloaded videos can be played on computers and iPods. iTunes 7 also includes new features to better organize and enjoy digital music and video, including expanded parental controls, an iTunes video playback window with on-screen controls, and the new Cover Flow view that lets you visually browse your entire video collection by cover artwork.
The iTunes Store now also offers downloads of popular video games for fifth generation iPods, including "Tetris," "Mahjong" and "Mini Golf" from Electronic Arts Inc.; "Pac-Man" from Namco Networks America Inc.; "Cubis 2" from FreshGames, LLC; "Bejeweled" and "Zuma" from PopCap Games, Inc.; "Texas Hold'em" and "Vortex" developed by Apple, all available beginning today for $4.99 each.
Pricing & Availability
iTunes 7 for Mac and Windows includes the iTunes Store and is available as a free download immediately from iTunes.com. Purchase and download of content from the iTunes Store for Mac or Windows requires a valid credit card with a billing address in the country of purchase. Television shows and feature films are available in the US only, and video availability varies by country. Games are available for download in the 21 countries in which iTunes operates and play on the fifth generation iPod. New release feature films are $14.99 (US) each and other feature-length films are $9.99 (US) each, television shows are $1.99 (US) per episode, music videos and short films are $1.99 (US) each and games are $4.99 (US) each.
* iTV is the project's internal code name and will not be the final product name.