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Apple prepares to expand iPhone distribution points

post #1 of 45
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Having caught up with initial demand, Apple Inc. is preparing to broaden its iPhone distribution to several prime retailers well ahead of the holiday shopping season, AppleInsider has learned.

Since introducing the handset on June 29th, the Cupertino-based firm has confined sales of the device to Apple and AT&T retail stores, in addition to its online shop. But over the next 4 to 6 weeks, iPhone inventories should start cropping up at other high-profile retailers and prime AT&T wireless partners, people familiar with the matter say.

Among those first in line for the gadget is specialty electronics retailer and Apple's new best friend in the retail business, Best Buy. By October -- and more likely by September -- all Best Buy locations should have iPhones on hand to sell to customers. Lavish video displays, like those erected in Apple retail store windows ahead of the phone's launch, may also turn up at the electronics stores.

Since launching a small pilot program to test Mac sales at 7 Best Buy locations last year, Apple has formed a much closer relationship with the retailer. During a recent conference call with analysts, members of the company's leadership confirmed plans to expand the pilot to 200 stores by the end of September, and 300 in total by the end of the year.

However, in speaking to AppleInsider, those close to Best Buy say the two firms hold a more ambitious internal goal of completing the 300-store expansion by the end of September. By that time, they say, approximately 40 percent of Best Buy outlets will offer nearly 80 percent of Apple's entire product line.

Best Buy stores included as part of the expansion are each being equipped with isolated Apple display areas featuring snazzy furnishings and a mini-theater display with stereo sound.

"Apple is a very strong focus for us [right now]," commented a source close to Best Buy's retail operations. "The displays are incredible and very popular -- they are very eye-catching to our customers."

A newly erected Apple boutique at one of Best Buy's retail stores.

On a related note, that same source recently drew attention to an instant $10 savings on current generation video iPod models that Best Buy has been offering customers at its retail stores. While Best Buy frequently offers such discounts via its online shop, the source notes that those discounts are only extended to brick-and-mortar stores ahead of major product refreshes.
post #2 of 45
Great News! My First "First" Post!!!
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post #3 of 45
Well how about Amazon.com?!?!
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post #4 of 45
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Originally Posted by Bacillus View Post

Well how about Amazon.com?!?!

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post #5 of 45
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Originally Posted by MsNly View Post

Great News! My First "First" Post!!!

Way to aim high!

post #6 of 45
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Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

the source notes that those discounts are only extended to brick-and-mortar stores ahead of major product refreshes.

Does this last sentence mean we can expect a the next generation of ipods coming soon?
post #7 of 45
After reading how the ATT employees are not supporting the iPhone because they don't get a commission I'm ready to have some other options for potential customers. Best Buy would be at the top of the list, with Amazon probably following. Then there will be the others, like CompUSA stores that have Apple Shops, Circuit City stores that are working with Apple, etc.

The next question is to guess if the second iPhone model will be available by the time the iPhones hit Best Buy. That would be rather sweet revenge for the ATT employees downplaying the iPhone.
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post #8 of 45
I don't hold much hope for Apple doing well at Best Buy. They never have in the past so what makes them think this will be any different? They never keep the Apple product area maintained, and as long as they have salesmen who will tell their customers that Apple will be dead within 5 years, they aren't likely to be pushing an Apple product (this was told to be by Alex in the Winston-Salem BestBuy store when I was there inquiring about the MacMini).

Let me tell you about the Mac Mini episode. I walked up to a salesman who was standing at the Mac Mini display and described the kind of computer I wanted to buy. What I described was a Mac Mini. When I was done, he paused for a second, then walked me over an aisle or two to the eMachines products and told me what I needed was a T1842. I'll be making bets that this scenario will repeat itself in nearly every BB store in the country.
post #9 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by kenaustus View Post


The next question is to guess if the second iPhone model will be available by the time the iPhones hit Best Buy. That would be rather sweet revenge for the ATT employees downplaying the iPhone.


I really don't get it. Why do so many people believe that there is a second genration iPhone coming out in less than 6 months after its initial introduction? New generations of iPods have come out at about a 1 year intervasl, not within 2 months of introduction of a model. Right now Apple has its plate full with iPhone refinements/fixes, Leopard, new iMacs, new version of iLife, iWork etc. Don't expect too much and you won't be disappointed.
post #10 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wings View Post

Let me tell you about the Mac Mini episode. I walked up to a salesman who was standing at the Mac Mini display and described the kind of computer I wanted to buy. What I described was a Mac Mini. When I was done, he paused for a second, then walked me over an aisle or two to the eMachines products and told me what I needed was a T1842. I'll be making bets that this scenario will repeat itself in nearly every BB store in the country.

And so which one did you buy, the Mac or the eMachines one? I guess the point of this story is that sales people in Best Buy stores all over US must be fired ASAP . Looks to me either he was an inept salesman or you did not make your argument very clear to him . More often than not, I sort of always know in advance what I want to get, but still enjoy playing their game until the very last minute, that is before I tell them "Sir your input totally sucks... Thanks but no thanks" . I think you should go back and persuade him to switch to Macs .
post #11 of 45
Actually as far as I know all Best Buy Apple stores are manned by Apple employees. They do have Best Buy Employees that help out, but there is always an Apple rep there. The store that I visited showed promise of a good venture between Apple and Best Buy. The Apple rep said that Best Buy was very pleased with the sales of Apple products. He even said on a good day they will sale more Apple computers than Windows machines.

Apple has good thing going with Best Buy this time around. They manage the display and control the buying experience. Aapl 180 by end of Oct.
post #12 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Delfoniq View Post

And so which one did you buy, the Mac or the eMachines one? I guess the point of this story is that sales people in Best Buy stores all over US must be fired ASAP . Looks to me either he was an inept salesman or you did not make your argument very clear to him . More often than not, I sort of always know in advance what I want to get, but still enjoy playing their game until the very last minute, that is before I tell them "Sir your input totally sucks... Thanks but no thanks" . I think you should go back and persuade him to switch to Macs .

I've got a friend who works at a best buy. when i mentioned to him a while back about how appleTV would be selling at best buy locations, he gave me a very strong impression that none of their sales people would make any effort in pushing them. (our friendship is based on non-computer topics, obviously)

I read somewhere that apple was going to be providing their own employees for these "store within a store" locations. I hope it's true, because if not, there are going to be a lot of people being told how much apple's products suck by the employee force at best buy.



Apple should set up theses mini-stores in wal-mart.
post #13 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by jonessodarally View Post

I've got a friend who works at a best buy. when i mentioned to him a while back about how appleTV would be selling at best buy locations, he gave me a very strong impression that none of their sales people would make any effort in pushing them. (our friendship is based on non-computer topics, obviously)

I read somewhere that apple was going to be providing their own employees for these "store within a store" locations. I hope it's true, because if not, there are going to be a lot of people being told how much apple's products suck by the employee force at best buy.



Apple should set up theses mini-stores in wal-mart.

It might give them a ton more stores, but it will DESTROY their image, and EVVERYTHING they have worked towards.


NO WAL MART!
post #14 of 45
Quote:
Let me tell you about the Mac Mini episode...

Untrained unskilled people will ruin any good idea. There is a fine restaurant with the finest food you can have and the most expensive luxury decor but throw in a clueless waiter and EVERYTHING is spoiled forever!
post #15 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wings View Post

I don't hold much hope for Apple doing well at Best Buy. They never have in the past so what makes them think this will be any different? They never keep the Apple product area maintained, and as long as they have salesmen who will tell their customers that Apple will be dead within 5 years, they aren't likely to be pushing an Apple product (this was told to be by Alex in the Winston-Salem BestBuy store when I was there inquiring about the MacMini).

Let me tell you about the Mac Mini episode. I walked up to a salesman who was standing at the Mac Mini display and described the kind of computer I wanted to buy. What I described was a Mac Mini. When I was done, he paused for a second, then walked me over an aisle or two to the eMachines products and told me what I needed was a T1842. I'll be making bets that this scenario will repeat itself in nearly every BB store in the country.


They never have with computers, most of that was due to how bad the sales associates were about answering questions. Best Buy sells iPods like crazy though, the iPod pretty much sells itself, I'll say you'll get similar results with the iPhone.

I do find it ironic though that Apple has gone ahead and said OK to Best Buy to sell iPhones, knowing that their relationship in the past has been pretty hit and miss. And what of other resellers that have done Apple well for years?
post #16 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by jonessodarally View Post


I read somewhere that apple was going to be providing their own employees for these "store within a store" locations. I hope it's true, because if not, there are going to be a lot of people being told how much apple's products suck by the employee force at best buy.
)

Well, Apple likely won't be providing the employees as much as they will offer special training to those Best Buy employees. That is how we do it at MicroCenter. I got to go out to Cupertino for Apple Sales training, but still employed by MicroCenter.
post #17 of 45
I wonder how long it'll take to get the iPhone out to other, smaller Apple-authorized dealers? I find myself thinking of that every time I walk past The Mac Store on the way to work....
post #18 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wings View Post

I don't hold much hope for Apple doing well at Best Buy. They never have in the past so what makes them think this will be any different? They never keep the Apple product area maintained, and as long as they have salesmen who will tell their customers that Apple will be dead within 5 years, they aren't likely to be pushing an Apple product (this was told to be by Alex in the Winston-Salem BestBuy store when I was there inquiring about the MacMini).

Let me tell you about the Mac Mini episode. I walked up to a salesman who was standing at the Mac Mini display and described the kind of computer I wanted to buy. What I described was a Mac Mini. When I was done, he paused for a second, then walked me over an aisle or two to the eMachines products and told me what I needed was a T1842. I'll be making bets that this scenario will repeat itself in nearly every BB store in the country.

Apple never had the brand identity it has now. That makes a big difference.

Previously, when people would go into a store such as Best Buy, they would walk right past any Apple products.

1. Because they were hardly aware of Apple's existence.

2. Because even most people who had heard of Apple were not likely to be interested.

3. Salespeople were not interested either because they had no familiarity with Apple, and had no reason to become so.

All three reasons are not only no longer true, but the exact opposite is true.

The fact that they are so quickly expanding the "experiment" is evidence that sales must be occurring.

Don't be so discouraging.

I'm not even sure I believe your story.
post #19 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dorotea View Post

I really don't get it. Why do so many people believe that there is a second genration iPhone coming out in less than 6 months after its initial introduction? New generations of iPods have come out at about a 1 year intervasl, not within 2 months of introduction of a model. Right now Apple has its plate full with iPhone refinements/fixes, Leopard, new iMacs, new version of iLife, iWork etc. Don't expect too much and you won't be disappointed.

The 2Gen iPod was released 9 months after the 1Gen -- the 3Gen iPod, 9 months after the 2Gen. Mature products are updated less often than new ones. Personally, I don't think that we'll see a 2Gen iPhone by Christmas, but ask me if I'd be surprised if I was wrong...
post #20 of 45
What I would be interested in knowing is what, if any, Mac software will be available at these stores. The software is what would bring me to these places...
post #21 of 45
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Originally Posted by thinkaboutit27 View Post

Does this last sentence mean we can expect a the next generation of ipods coming soon?

If they continue the pattern, there will be some update in the next couple months. There is no guarantee of a totally new generation though a design refresh is overdue if they hold to the pattern.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ncee View Post

It might give them a ton more stores, but it will DESTROY their image, and EVVERYTHING they have worked towards.

NO WAL MART!

Apple is in Walmart already with the iPod. Has that hurt them?
post #22 of 45
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Originally Posted by MsNly View Post


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post #23 of 45
Is there a map or list somewhere showing which best buys have these Apple mini stores and which will be getting them?
post #24 of 45
Maybe a system like the one Sears has would work here. You order your Apple product online and go pick it up in the parking lot drive through without interacting wth the salesperson that probabily sold washing machines the day before.
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post #25 of 45
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Originally Posted by MsNly View Post

Great News! My First "First" Post!!!

Congratulations!!! Now you can try to actually say something useful!!!
post #26 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by jonessodarally View Post

I've got a friend who works at a best buy. when i mentioned to him a while back about how appleTV would be selling at best buy locations, he gave me a very strong impression that none of their sales people would make any effort in pushing them.

Good! About the only story I've heard of Best Buy/any-big-name-electronics-retailer-you-care-to-mention employees giving out good advice.
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post #27 of 45
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Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post

Good! About the only story I've heard of Best Buy/any-big-name-electronics-retailer-you-care-to-mention employees giving out good advice.

British humor...erm always refreshing like the british weather I guess .
post #28 of 45
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Originally Posted by Delfoniq View Post

British humor...erm always refreshing like the british weather I guess .

Humour? No, obviously you haven't noticed that the AppleTV sucks.
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post #29 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Delfoniq View Post

Looks to me either he was an inept salesman or you did not make your argument very clear to him . More often than not, I sort of always know in advance what I want to get, but still enjoy playing their game until the very last minute, that is before I tell them "Sir your input totally sucks... Thanks but no thanks" . I think you should go back and persuade him to switch to Macs .



Some sales people are just to dense to argue with.

I walked into Circuit City to purchase a PowerMac, yes this was back in the days when Circuit City sold Macs, so I walk up to where the Macs are located and tell the sales guy the model I wanted and asked him if he could get it for me. This guy proceeds to discourage me from buying an Apple product and goes on to tell me that I will have nothing but problems with it and that the Mac was dead. Get this, I didn't even ask for his opinion. Even as I was paying for my PowerMac this moron kept basically telling me that I was a fool. At that time this was the only location where I could get a Mac off the shelf, suffice it to say that was the last time Circuit City saw any money from me.
post #30 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post

Humour? No, obviously you haven't noticed that the AppleTV sucks.

Maybe so, anyhow I wouldn't have bought it either for 199.00 GBP (= 405 USD). Nonetheless, I have to say that for the price here in the US (299 USD), I was tempted. I think although we have a different sense of humor (obviously), we're on the same page with regards to Apple TV. Unless the video content on iTunes gets upgraded to HD, there's absolutely no point getting one. As a product though I don't think it sucks!
post #31 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Delfoniq View Post

As a product though I don't think it sucks!

1.) No discreet surround-sound support
2.) Maximum resolution of 720p
3.) MPEG-4 Part 2 Simple Profile and Part 10 Baseline Profile only for video

Until the AppleTV can do Dolby Digital and DTS out of the optical port, upscale to 1080p and decode MPEG1, MPEG2, DivX, MPEG-4 Part 2 Advanced Simple Profile (aka Xvid), it will remain a sucky product.

The Netgear EVA8000 is a much better product, hardware wise.

MPEG-4 Part 10 High Profile support and Dolby Digital True HD and DTS Master HD audio out of the HDMI port would be nice as well.
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post #32 of 45
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Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post

1.) No discreet surround-sound support
2.) Maximum resolution of 720p
3.) MPEG-4 Part 2 Simple Profile and Part 10 Baseline Profile only for video

Until the AppleTV can do Dolby Digital and DTS out of the optical port, upscale to 1080p and decode MPEG1, MPEG2, DivX, MPEG-4 Part 2 Advanced Simple Profile (aka Xvid), it will remain a sucky product.

The Netgear EVA8000 is a much better product, hardware wise.

MPEG-4 Part 10 High Profile support and Dolby Digital True HD and DTS Master HD audio out of the HDMI port would be nice as well.

Plus:
1.) Ability to purchase content from iTunes directly.
2.) Blu-Ray/HD-DVD.

OK, maybe it sucks a little. Just meant that as a product it does what it says on the tin, and it does it well. What differentiates Apple TV from other similar devices is a) huge variety of content and b) the easy setup, that's where Apple is betting. Is it losing so far, hell yeah \!
post #33 of 45
The Apple Shop in the Best Buy near me was surprisingly busy with people trying out the Macs. There was also dedicated Apple rep there who worked ONLY for sales assistance with the Apple products. These store-in-store set-ups are very different from previous Apple/BB efforts.
post #34 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post

1.) No discreet surround-sound support
2.) Maximum resolution of 720p
3.) MPEG-4 Part 2 Simple Profile and Part 10 Baseline Profile only for video

Until the AppleTV can do Dolby Digital and DTS out of the optical port, upscale to 1080p and decode MPEG1, MPEG2, DivX, MPEG-4 Part 2 Advanced Simple Profile (aka Xvid), it will remain a sucky product.

The Netgear EVA8000 is a much better product, hardware wise.

The Netgear may be nice, but the reviews are a bit mixed and mention that the UI is clunky and unintuitive, and the user reviews on Amazon say that the support is horrible.

Quote:
MPEG-4 Part 10 High Profile support and Dolby Digital True HD and DTS Master HD audio out of the HDMI port would be nice as well.

If you want all that and 1080p, go for HD-DVD or Blu-Ray. The media is readily available, nearly three hundred titles already for each format, with the list growing every week. You can get the players for a very similar price, the A20 is 1080p capable and can be found for about the price of an AppleTV. Personally, I've chosen the PS3, though I'm not averse to getting an A20 or some successor model eventually if I think it's worthwhile. I'm quite happy to rent the movies from Netflix.

I don't think those demands make sense unless you want your movie downloads to be in the 20+GB range. DTS-MA and TrueHD would take about 2GB for a two hour movie, making the audio track larger than the entire file of the same movie encoded for iPod.

1080p doesn't make that much of a visual difference unless you sit less than two screen widths away from the display anyway. Heck, my buddy's 720p projector is quite nice even at those distances. I did buy the 1080p version of the same unit when it came available, which I think was very well worth it, but it's not absolutely necessary to enjoy HD media.
post #35 of 45
As a BB employee that loves Apple, I assure you that I mention the macbook and the macbook pro a few times each day. Most people look at me funny but there is always one or two people that get really interested. We don't physically have the macs in the store I work in but we are able to order them from our warehouse for customers.

This back to school season, I've sold mostly HPs and Toshibas but I have sold a few macs. I'm sure if we had the macs at our store I'd sell more.

I do get annoyed with BB sometimes because they have never trained us on the macs. When anyone comes to our store with a mac question or if they want one the other employees send them to me.

Just wanted to let you guys know that at least someone at BB is fighting for Apple!
post #36 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by kjgienapp View Post

As a BB employee that loves Apple, I assure you that I mention the macbook and the macbook pro a few times each day. Most people look at me funny but there is always one or two people that get really interested. We don't physically have the macs in the store I work in but we are able to order them from our warehouse for customers.

This back to school season, I've sold mostly HPs and Toshibas but I have sold a few macs. I'm sure if we had the macs at our store I'd sell more.

I do get annoyed with BB sometimes because they have never trained us on the macs. When anyone comes to our store with a mac question or if they want one the other employees send them to me.

Just wanted to let you guys know that at least someone at BB is fighting for Apple!

Perhaps you should wear a black shirt with an large Apple logo to work.
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post #37 of 45
I wish I could do that. Maybe on my last day. Or I'll wear it under my BB shirt everyday I work; secretly wishing I worked at the Apple store!

Working of BB is at least second best to working at the Apple Store; at least the BB I work at. The managers are cool and that helps, the managers can totally ruin the job if they are pushy and all about the numbers (if anyone knows what I mean).
post #38 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

The Netgear may be nice, but the reviews are a bit mixed and mention that the UI is clunky and unintuitive, and the user reviews on Amazon say that the support is horrible.

Sure, the UI is clunky, which is a disappointment. If you could just merge the promise of the EVA8000 with the execution of the AppleTV, you'd have a good product. Both are flawed, but I think the AppleTV is flawed in a more fundamental way. However, what makes it especially frustrating is that the AppleTV hardware is capable of Dolby Digital and DTS output through the optical port, capable of higher resolution, and capable of decoding more video codecs, but Apple haven't bothered to implement any of those features


Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

If you want all that and 1080p, go for HD-DVD or Blu-Ray. The media is readily available, nearly three hundred titles already for each format, with the list growing every week.

I realise that those two features (H.264 high-profile and HD surround-sound formats) were pushing it; that's why I mentioned them as "would be nice" features rather than their absence being deal-breakers.


Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

I don't think those demands make sense unless you want your movie downloads to be in the 20+GB range. DTS-MA and TrueHD would take about 2GB for a two hour movie, making the audio track larger than the entire file of the same movie encoded for iPod.

I don't view the main purpose of these devices as enabling you to watch online content. It's much more exciting that they enable you to build a system similar to a kaleidescape one for a tiny fraction of the cost. In much the same way that Roku SoundBridges enable you to build a multi-room audio system for a fraction of the cost of custom installations. The idea of having one big NAS storing your entire audio and video collections that are then accessible anywhere around the house is an attractive one.
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post #39 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post

I don't view the main purpose of these devices as enabling you to watch online content. It's much more exciting that they enable you to build a system similar to a kaleidescape one for a tiny fraction of the cost. In much the same way that Roku SoundBridges enable you to build a multi-room audio system for a fraction of the cost of custom installations. The idea of having one big NAS storing your entire audio and video collections that are then accessible anywhere around the house is an attractive one.

While I agree with the sentiment I don't think Apple will provide this capability. At least as long as the DVD Consortium insists that physical DVDs must be present in order enable playback.

Kaleidescape prevailed on a narrow interpretation of the validity of their license agreement. Apple can't make the same claim. Besides Apple has to remain on the good side of the DVD Consortium or lose the whole multimedia thing.
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post #40 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by aresee View Post

While I agree with the sentiment I don't think Apple will provide this capability. At least as long as the DVD Consortium insists that physical DVDs must be present in order enable playback.

Kaleidescape prevailed on a narrow interpretation of the validity of their license agreement. Apple can't make the same claim. Besides Apple has to remain on the good side of the DVD Consortium or lose the whole multimedia thing.

Apple don't have to provide the "complete" solution. All they have to do is ensure discrete surround-sound support on the optical port, and MPEG-2 video codec support, and you can do the rest with third-party DVD ripping software. Pretty much every other network video player out there supports discrete surround-sound on optical port and MPEG-2 video.

It would be nice if Apple could sit down with the DVD consortium and figure something out, so that they could implement an "iTunes for DVD". How about the ripping software just requires you, from time to time, to insert into your computer a random DVD that you've already ripped, in order to verify that you still have the DVD and didn't just rip a rented DVD or acquire disk images from elsewhere? Drives can differentiate between pressed (original) DVDs and optically burnt DVDs, so you wouldn't be able to circumvent that by copying rented DVDs to DVD+R/-R.
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