Apple plans iTunes streaming soon, mapping, and more

By Jonny Evans

Apple [AAPL] and its iTunes plans continue to emerge as it applies itself to creating a fundamentally connected ecosystem to bind its platforms together: this time we learn the company intends launching an iTunes Replay video streaming service, perhaps within weeks.

cookdoctrine.jpg

[ABOVE: Apple also follows the Cook doctrine.]

iTunes Replay -- streaming services soon

App Advice observes Apple recently began offering the ability to stream shows using an Apple TV (at least in the US market). This hints a wider story, according to the report, which states:

"AppAdvice has been told and was able to confirm independently that Apple is on the edge of finally launching a full-fledged re-downloading and possibly streaming service named iTunes Replay."

If true, this is the streaming content service the company has been rumored to be working on for years, since its acquisition of Lala.com. It seems the company has been focused on enabling streaming services for video content -- a no brainer when you consider just how much disk space a full-length DVD takes.

iTunes Replay users will be able to buy the rights to a movie, watch it, delete it, and then re-download it or stream it at a later date, so you get all the access of ownership with no need to fill up your drive.

The caveat is that not every movie will be available, some will only be available for five uses. TV shows will be added to the iTunes Replay service as they come available.

The feature will let users access titles bought as far back as January 1, 2009, and will be available to stream on an Apple TV and also via iOS devices and is set to launch in a few weeks, the report claims. (There's got to be more plans for the Apple TV).

[ABOVE: Imagine maps like this on your iPhone.]

Mapping, the future

This will be another brilliant move to lace Apple's online offering. In tandem with future plans to take on Google Docs with hosted and editable iWork apps; the company's plans to doodle Google are clearly not confined to ensuring Android owners choose an iPhone as their next smartphone, nor to grabbing a nice slice of the high-end online ads market, nor to demanding competitors pay for their use of Apple-controlled patents.

There's also talk that Apple intends applying its financial clout in combination with the Cook doctrine in another precious Google sector: Maps.

The Cook doctrine: "We believe that we're on the face of the Earth to make great products, and that's not changing....[Apple] will participate only in markets where we can make a significant contribution."

[ABOVE: This 3D tech comes from C3 Technologies. The device comes from Apple.]

The power of five

We know that Apple is testing iPhone 5 with carriers and that it has secured Pegatron to begin manufacturing of ten million units of the device. Apple and China Mobile today also reached a deal to offer a CDMA model iPhone in China perhaps before the end of the year.

Current rumors suggest Apple acquired Swedish mapping company, C3 Technologies, for $1 billion or thereabouts. Microsoft and Google are also said to have been sniffing around at a deal with this firm, and I've been unable to verify who has purchased the firm.

However, the video above shows you the kind of power C3 Tech's 3D maps have: like Sim city on your iPad, a 3D map of wherever you happen to be. It really is amazing...

Add a dose of voice control and Siri assistance technology and you have an augmented reality solution that could potentially knock Google Maps out of the water and give Apple yet another unique selling point. When's it coming? In the absence of any whiff of such technologies within iOS 5, it seems set for 2012, or later.

If nothing else, all these moves underline why good competition is good for everybody. Why should Google have it easy? Why should Apple?

What else would you like from your smartphone? Let us know in comments below.

Please do follow me on Twitter so I can let you know when I post new reports here at Computerworld

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