All the internet scuttlebutt at this point converges upon one big and tasty rumor: Apple will announce a new, iOS-driven AppleTV called the iTV in September, which will cost $99 and have no local storage, but support streaming media only.
If the rumor is true, it’s a bold plan by Apple to transform their “hobby device” into a veritable cable, satellite, HTPC and Netflix killer… but if content carriers aren’t on board and the price isn’t right, even iOS isn’t going to save the new iTV from the ignominy of its predecessor.
According to Bloomberg, though, Apple’s really close to inking deals with News Corp. and Walt Disney to offer $0.99 show rentals over iTunes.
Currently, renting a show for 48 hours through iTunes costs $1.99, which is just enough to keep iTunes from being a competitive way to watch a show, especially when it’s on both the boob tube and sites like Hulu for free… albeit with ads.
$0.99 is a much easier to swallow price for renting a show. It’s a no-brainer price point that is hard to resent, and easily justifiable for most consumers if they can watch a show at their convenience, legally and without ads. It’s also an imperative price point for a streaming iTV with no local storage to reach in order to succeed.
All the stars seem to be in alignment for the iTV: the price now seems set to be right for the device itself and the content it’ll play. If Apple doesn’t announce the iTV in September, this will end up being the most disappointing rumor of the year..