Meet me at the Apple retail store in two weeks. I’ll be picking up the new-generation Apple TV box, which appears to be where it should have been a year ago.
Steve Jobs didn’t bust out with “one last thing” to electrify the geek masses this morning, but for online video synergists it was a very good day. Here’s what came out of the MacWorld keynote speech, along with links to some coverage and the press releases:
iTunes Store movie rentals: Jobs convinced Hollywood he still has the mojo when it comes to content and computers. The following studios are on board: 20th Century Fox, the Walt Disney Studios, Warner Bros., Paramount, Universal Studios Home Entertainment, Sony Pictures Entertainment, MGM, Lionsgate and New Line Cinema.
Fox was a given but the final lineup was somewhat of a mystery. The iTunes movie rentals are up there now, with a target of 1,000 titles (100 in high definition) by the end of February. Prices are $2.99 for library titles; $3.99 for new releases; add a buck for high definition.
New Apple TV software: Rent the movie directly from the Apple TV box’s menu on your widescreen TV. Get the movie in HD. Listen in 5.1 audio. Forget Blockbuster, whose stock took an 18% dive after today’s speech. “No more driving to the video store or waiting for DVDs to arrive in the mail,” Jobs says with sinister glee.
The Apple TV, a dog product at $299 for launch, celebrates its numerous upgrades with a new $229 price point. Early adopters get the new software for $20. This is good stuff. You get to pay Jobs later, via those $4 rentals. Just like the music downloads and iPods.
Digital Copy for iTunes: Jobs trotted out his pal Jim Gianopolis of Fox, the studio chieftain who was on board with imovie rentals from the start. Gianopolis got to hold up a copy of the “Family Guy” DVD “Blue Harvest,” which came out today. Buy the DVD, stick it in the computer, enter a code and — voila! — it’s in the iTunes library, along with all those Michael Bolton music videos.
The Jobs speech video is a must-see, even if you doze a bit. The super-thin laptop seems like magic. Stick around until the end, when Pixar pal Randy Newman confuses the convention hall with a Bev Hills bar crammed with striking writers and launches into a bizarre rap about the end of the American empire. And we didn’t even get to hear “Political Science.”