Apple Inc., usually so open with the public about its products in development, shocked the electronics industry this week by quietly introducing a completely unanticipated new device: the iPad. Some of the new gadget’s many features include a large, high-quality screen and a stated battery life of around ten hours. Throw in the relatively large available storage options and you’ve got a potentially great movie-watching device that—according to at least one analyst—could light a fire under the movie download business.
Richard Doherty with The Envisioneering Group expects Apple to ship millions of iPads in the device’s first year and anticipates a rush of new content license deals in the weeks before the iPad is released. The iPad will wirelessly link with Apple’s iTunes store and allow the browsing and download of thousands of films and television shows. Apple is also rumored to be pushing the studios to drop the price of television episodes in the store from $1.99 to $.99. Doherty feels that studios will be attracted by the power of Apple’s marketing machine and the heightened anti-piracy safeguards the iPad contains. Said Doherty:
“Almost every cell phone has SD cards, and even the iPhone can by synched illegally. . . But it is very difficult to get anything out of the iPad. It is something people in Hollywood have been looking for [for] some time: An eyes-only portable device that could ultimately generate new movie pricing and release windows.”
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said his company won’t have an app for its streaming service available for the iPad at launch or in the near future. Said Hastings:
“It’s not a huge priority for us because we’re so focused on the larger screens. . . Until we get our TV ubiquity and our Blu-ray Disc ubiquity, and we’re getting close on video game ubiquity, then we would next turn to the small screen. It’s just not a primary movie watching [option]. So it’s something we will get around to, but it’s not in the near term.”
Insiders, what do you think of Apple’s shiny new toy, and do you plan on getting one? Will the iPad help usher in an era of expanded movie downloads? Let us know what you think in the comments.
[via Home Media Magazine]