iPhone rumored to get wireless movie, TV downloads

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
A new rumor, complete with supposed screenshots, maintains that Apple is on the verge of allowing movie and TV show downloads directly from an iPhone or iPod touch.



According to the blogger reporting the purported find, a friend who downloaded the latest version of the iPhone app TwitterFon claims to have discovered three mobile ads from Apple that pointed to "iTunes Movies," "iTunes Movie Rentals" and "iTunes TV."



Rather than take the visitor to a website, however, tapping one of the ads is said to switch to the mobile iTunes client and shows what appears to be a work-in-progress video section of Apple's mobile store. Viewers can browse genres and see featured items, but tapping the actual videos themselves produces a notice that the content is "not available." Promos for episodes and movies are missing.



The section was reportedly in a rough enough state when viewed that a navigation bar used to filter by music videos, movies and TV shows wasn't there at one point in the day and appeared the next. It's possible that Apple was building the portal in a live environment, the report suggests.



A video store would signal a loosening of the restrictions surrounding video downloads on the iPhone. Since adding the podcast section to the iTunes Store, Apple has allowed downloading video podcasts whenever one of its handheld devices is connected through Wi-Fi but has never permitted paid video downloads, in part because of the lengthy wait to download hundreds of megabytes of content.











While the authenticity of the rumor hasn't been corroborated outside of the seemingly real screenshots taken to show the new store portal's existence, its appearance comes just as Apple is poised to introduce 802.11n WiFi to its handhelds. The wireless standard is about four times faster than the 802.11g the iPhone and iPod touch use today and would significantly shorten the time spent waiting for downloads that would otherwise be interminable with fast-enough Internet connections or less-than-ideal WiFi reception.



The blogger's friend didn't make any assertions as to whether or not videos would work over 3G, though carrier concerns about overloading the network would most likely keep paid content restricted to WiFi in the same way that video podcasts are restricted today.



The testing would also come just a few weeks before Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference in June.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 67
    wilcowilco Posts: 985member
    When does the name of this place get changed to iphoneinsider.com?



  • Reply 2 of 67
    virgil-tb2virgil-tb2 Posts: 1,416member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    A new rumor, complete with supposed screenshots, maintains that Apple is on the verge of allowing movie and TV show downloads directly from an iPhone or iPod touch. ...



    Sounds cool, but unless the carriers get on board with it, it won't be of much use.



    I got bit by this just this morning. My computer is down so I had to use direct download from the iPhone to get today's podcasts (which are handled the same way as these movies and shows would be.) Since I only had a half hour before I left for work, I got within seconds of finishing the download but had to leave anyway, and since the carriers don't allow podcast downloads over 3G, I couldn't finish the download until 40 minutes later when I got to work. Needless to say this ruins the whole point of being to download movies and podcasts on the fly.



    Maybe things will change with the new contracts, but if they don't, these kinds of features won't be of much use.
  • Reply 3 of 67
    addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,660member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Virgil-TB2 View Post


    Sounds cool, but unless the carriers get on board with it, it won't be of much use.



    I got bit by this just this morning. My computer is down so I had to use direct download from the iPhone to get today's podcasts (which are handled the same way as these movies and shows would be.) Since I only had a half hour before I left for work, I got within seconds of finishing the download but had to leave anyway, and since the carriers don't allow podcast downloads over 3G, I couldn't finish the download until 40 minutes later when I got to work. Needless to say this ruins the whole point of being to download movies and podcasts on the fly.



    Maybe things will change with the new contracts, but if they don't, these kinds of features won't be of much use.



    I think the article is implying that this will be WiFi only.
  • Reply 4 of 67
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,571member
    I look forward to serving our new iTunes downloading overlords ... oops, for a sec I thought I was back on Slashdot...
  • Reply 5 of 67
    mrtotesmrtotes Posts: 759member
    "ts appearance comes just as Apple is poised to introduce 802.11n WiFi to its handhelds. The wireless standard is about four times faster than the 802.11g the iPhone and iPod touch use today and would significantly shorten the time spent waiting for downloads"



    Who actually has an internet connection as fast as 802.11b? 20Mbit services are not all that common yet and I certainly can't imagine any home user's internet would be limited by a 802.11g wifi connection. On the iPod/iPhone the speed of loading a page seems to me to be more limited by the processor not the speed of connection. 802.11n is only useful on the iPod/iPhone if you have an existing home file/sharing network and don't want to have g devices on it too.
  • Reply 6 of 67
    foo2foo2 Posts: 1,077member
    Perhaps 802.11n will finally introduce full (mobileme and multimedia) wireless sync, although I can't say this matters too much to me personally.



    Aside from fast LANs, many locales do have access to 20 Mbps or better broadband.



    Tiered 3G data plans might coincide with AT&T-sanctioned 3G access to more video sources (along with the micropurchase capability available with iPhone OS 3.0).
  • Reply 7 of 67
    pg4gpg4g Posts: 383member
    I personally would find this move very... unexpected and unlikely.
  • Reply 8 of 67
    addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,660member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by PG4G View Post


    I personally would find this move very... unexpected and unlikely.



    How come?
  • Reply 9 of 67
    ryancryanc Posts: 2member
    Whether or not this is indicative of new functionality coming in a future release, anyone with an iPhone can already access the areas shown in the screenshots.



    If you click on the link to the TV show section on your iPhone (http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/M...iewGenre?id=32), it will launch the iTunes Mobile app and bring you to the TV Shows section. I did it (in iPhone OS 2.2.1) and it looks exactly like the posted screenshots.



    As the story says, they are unfinished and do not allow anything to be downloaded. It's possible that this is a bug (abeit a rather large one) in the iTunes Mobile app.
  • Reply 10 of 67
    mactrippermactripper Posts: 1,328member
    iPhone rumored to get wireless movie, TV downloads





    And bandwidth penny pinching greedy AT&T is going along with this?



    Oh wait, wireless.



    Yea baby. Yea.
  • Reply 11 of 67
    jimzipjimzip Posts: 444member
    Sounds great! This must also mean a significant capacity update too no? I mean, movies are around 1.25 - 2.0GB each on the iTS. Unless they're going to provide specially encoded versions for the iPhone - which I don't see them doing, then that space could get eaten up really quickly.



    Couple movie downloads with AV-Out and you've got yourself one pretty awesome mobile entertainment device though...



    Jimzip
  • Reply 12 of 67
    Well they wouldn't go to the effort of formatting the TV shows section to work on the iPhone for nothing would they? Seems a bit pointless. Especially as in one screenshot part of the interface is missing and in the next it's there suggests they are actively working on this.



    Yes most people don't have a broadband connection cable of using N wireless but some certainly do, especially in some places in Europe and Asia. Virgin Media in the UK are on 50Mbit and testing 200Mbit already. Plus with g wireless you don't actually get 54Mbit out of it, real world performance is a lot less. The N wireless chip could help not just in speed but also draw lower power.



    Also remember Apple already encode their shows and movies with an iPhone / iPod version which will be a lower res and hence smaller file size than the full downloads. Say you go to work and remember you've missed an episode of a TV show. You could set it downloading while you work so you could watch it in your lunch break. As long as the power draw is quite low it wouldn't be a big deal if it took an hour. Other point is your much more likely to be able to charge your iPod / iPhone at work but your computer with iTunes on which you sync with is probably at home.



    Even if it's not used by many I still don't see any harm in Apple adding it as they have the requirements to make this happen in place anyway. It'll be useful to some.
  • Reply 13 of 67
    pg4gpg4g Posts: 383member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by addabox View Post


    How come?



    Several reasons:



    First - Apple supposedly spent a great deal of time negotiating with the carriers and music labels to move their iTunes WiFi Store to be the iTunes Music Store on iPhone - specifically, to remove the requirement for Wifi. Apple is very strong about not creating situations in iPhone apps where they work some of the time - if it requires Wifi or network access, it should be very plain and clear and not unpredicatable throughout the app. This goes against the mobile HIG to do this type of thing (unless you somehow believe the carriers will allow you to download a movie over 3G)



    Second - the App doesn't WORK that way. They're saying the segmented control was there some of the time, some of the time it wasn't? That's a default piece that is there all the time... UI pieces hardcoded into an app don't just randomly disappear and reappear at will, or whenever Apple flicks switches. From an iPhone developer's perspective, it sounds fishy.



    Third - Apple isn't just about function. They won't chuck in a kitchen sink. If you can't download something over wifi in 5 minutes, Apple won't do it. The WiFi store was built for coffee-shop downloading. It's not for heavy lifting. Mobile apps aren't all about features. They're about what is reasonable in the scenario. Expecting someone to stay in the vicinity of a hotspot for an hour to get a movie doesn't fit with the HIG, nor anything that was said at last year's WWDC - in fact it violates quite a few of the conceptual ideas they tried to impress upon developers.



    Its possible this is true - but it just doesn't seem like something Apple would do considering their position on the platform. If you can do it, it has to be convenient. Thats what the device is all about.
  • Reply 14 of 67
    Well an AT&T Mobile Manager I spoke with last week said they would "Soon" be releasing their AT&T U-Verse Remote and U-Verse DVR streaming to iPhone (ala SlingBox) but it would be allowed over 3G. I have U-verse so that would be too cool, but I will believe it when I see it. They had Whole House DVR slated to go live for a year or two before it actually did.



    So who knows, if they feel it will please apple and the actual 3G network is actually almost in place, they may allow the movie downloads of 3G. Movie downloads and Streaming Video still sound like big bandwidth hogs for their network.
  • Reply 15 of 67
    addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,660member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by PG4G View Post


    Several reasons:



    First - Apple supposedly spent a great deal of time negotiating with the carriers and music labels to move their iTunes WiFi Store to be the iTunes Music Store on iPhone - specifically, to remove the requirement for Wifi. Apple is very strong about not creating situations in iPhone apps where they work some of the time - if it requires Wifi or network access, it should be very plain and clear and not unpredicatable throughout the app. This goes against the mobile HIG to do this type of this (unless you somehow believe the carriers will allow you to download a movie over 3G)



    Second - the App doesn't WORK that way. They're saying the segmented control was there some of the time, some of the time it wasn't? That's a default piece that is there all the time... UI pieces hardcoded into an app don't just randomly disappear and reappear at will, or whenever Apple flicks switches. From an iPhone developer's perspective, it sounds fishy.



    Third - Apple isn't just about function. They won't chuck in a kitchen sink. If you can't download something over wifi in 5 minutes, Apple won't do it. The WiFi store was built for coffee-shop downloading. It's not for heavy lifting. Mobile apps aren't all about features. They're about what is reasonable in the scenario. Expecting someone to stay in the vicinity of a hotspot for an hour to get a movie doesn't fit with the HIG, nor anything that was said at last year's WWDC - in fact it violates quite a few of the conceptual ideas they tried to impress upon developers.



    Its possible this is true - but it just doesn't seem like something Apple would do considering their position on the platform. If you can do it, it has to be convenient. Thats what the device is all about.



    Very goods points, all.
  • Reply 16 of 67
    pg4gpg4g Posts: 383member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ryanc View Post


    Whether or not this is indicative of new functionality coming in a future release, anyone with an iPhone can already access the areas shown in the screenshots.



    If you click on the link to the TV show section on your iPhone (http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/M...iewGenre?id=32), it will launch the iTunes Mobile app and bring you to the TV Shows section. I did it (in iPhone OS 2.2.1) and it looks exactly like the posted screenshots.



    As the story says, they are unfinished and do not allow anything to be downloaded. It's possible that this is a bug (abeit a rather large one) in the iTunes Mobile app.



    It doesn't work for me on iPhone OS 3.0 beta 5
  • Reply 17 of 67
    crees!crees! Posts: 501member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by addabox View Post


    How come?



    Photoshop and/or having access to the iPhone SDK makes something like this quite easy to manufacture.
  • Reply 18 of 67
    ryancryanc Posts: 2member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by PG4G View Post


    It doesn't work for me on iPhone OS 3.0 beta 5



    Perhaps they closed that loophole in 3.0?
  • Reply 19 of 67
    pg4gpg4g Posts: 383member
    Also quite true, Crees. I could whip this up in no time. In fact, I have been making apps all day that look just like this lol...
  • Reply 20 of 67
    virgil-tb2virgil-tb2 Posts: 1,416member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by addabox View Post


    I think the article is implying that this will be WiFi only.



    That's what I meant. What I'm saying is that based on my experience with this same thing already available for podcasts, that it will not be of much use in any practical sense.



    Maybe if you live in New York or something there is a ton of wireless around, but for most, there is wireless at home, and maybe at the office. The entire point of paying $70 a month is so that you can have "always on" access, so if this is for wireless only it's pretty much more of a whiz-bang feature for advertisements than it is a useful add-on.



    Another problem with this model (also exhibited with the current podcasts), is that if you download a podcast to your iPhone, (and presumably this will be the same with the shows and movies), when you finally get back to your computer, the sync is almost twice as long.



    First the iPod/iPhone has to download the podcast you got "on the go" to the iTunes library, then it re-copies it back onto the phone as part of the regular sync. The first time I saw it doing that I thought WTF? Then I remembered that Apple has a long history of sucking when it comes to syncing technology in particular. Sadly, (and I hate to say it) MS has always been better at that.



    I'm not trying to be too critical, it's great that Apple is adding more features etc., but on a simply practical level, the ability to download stuff "on the go" is not that useful and not very well thought out by Apple in general. At least the current implementation.



    I just think this is more of a PR move than part of their master plan for helping out consumers. You know, they announce the new video capable iPhone and then tell us how we can get video on the go send it to the cloud on the go etc. and these features are all part of that fabric etc. Just don't expect it to be that useful.
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