Apple iCloud may be newest Netflix rival
Apple's iCloud may present more bad news for the stumbling Netflix movie service. According to the L.A. Times, Apple is in talks with a number of Hollywood studios about adding movies to its new cloud service.
With iOS 5, Apple yesterday launched iCloud, which enables users to access content across all their Apple devices, regardless of which it was originally created or downloaded on. A photo taken on an iPhone can be instantly viewed on an iPad, and a document created on an iMac can be updated on an iPhone. And instead of uploading a user's full iTunes music library to the cloud, Apple uploads only what it doesn't already have in its own music collection, which it lends out from to eliminate hosting millions of duplicates.
Soon, iCloud users, across their multiple devices, may be purchasing and streaming movies as simply as they do songs. And as naturally. According to the Times, iTunes is already responsible for 66% of online movie sales and rentals, in a flat market that, like last year, is expected to bring in $231 million by year's end.
This week a consortium of studios is also debuting UltraViolet, also a cloud-based movie service that can let people who purchased a movie on DVD or Blu-ray watch a streaming version of the film on various devices — a needed perk, with DVD sales falling.
According to the Wall Street Journal, movies from the UltraViolet service can be played using apps created for the iPhone and iPad, though movies purchased from iTunes aren't naturally compatible with UltraViolet. However, Apple devices could be made to work with UltraViolet.
According to the L.A. Times:
The people who have talked to Apple representatives said the company is considering allowing people who buy and store movies with Ultraviolet to easily watch them on Apple devices via apps. That would be a big help to Ultraviolet, as Apple dominates the market for tablets and is one of the top two players in smartphones.
A notable exception from the UltraViolet group is Disney, which is working on its on cloud-based movie service, KeyChest.
Streaming video, paired with strong tablet sales, presents the next major challenge for the carriers, faced with facilitating the transfer of films no longer on film.
Yesterday, tech company Skyfire announced that it's working with a major tier-one U.S. carrier and underdoing a number of trials across Europe and the U.S. It's new Rocket 2.0 technology enables video to travel more efficiently, enabling smartphone video, for example, to be delivered with a bandwidth savings of up to 75%.
With Netflix streaming videos already accounting for 30% of U.S. Internet traffic, Apple's entrance in the game could bring new havoc to the skies.