Coming soon: Apple movies in the cloud?

The move could coincide with the launch of a competing service from Hollywood studios.

By Kim Peterson Oct 13, 2011 1:00PM
Offering movies in the cloud has long been a dream for Apple (AAPL). Imagine buying a film on iTunes and then being able to play it on any of your Apple devices.

The company may be close to its goal. The Los Angeles Times says Apple execs are finalizing deals with Hollywood studios to allow movies to be accessed on any of its devices. The service may come out later this year or early next year.

The move comes just as Apple has released its iCloud online storage service that lets people access music, apps and photos from any device. The service also keeps email and calendars up to date on all devices.

The iCloud feature is part of Apple's latest mobile operating system update, iOS 5, and offers 5 gigabytes of free storage.

You can watch a discussion of iCloud's importance in the following video.

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One analyst told the Times that Apple already nabs 66% of online movie sales and rentals, so adding movies to iCloud would automatically make the company a dominant player.

That isn't stopping Hollywood from developing a competing service called UltraViolet. Several studios have signed up for the service, which gives an in-the-cloud copy of a movie that's purchased on DVD or Blu-Ray. Those digital versions can be watched on smartphones, tablet computers and televisions connected to the Internet.

Notably absent from the UltraViolet venture are Apple and Disney (DIS). And if iPads and iPhones don't work with UltraViolet, the service will suffer some huge setbacks.

Tags: AAPL
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