According to rumours on the Internet, Apple is on the brink of announcing iTunes movie downloads, but there's a catch – they'll only be available for rental.

The Apple news and rumour site Think Secret has found out that Steve Jobs will announce the iTunes movie store in his speech at the WWDC in 3 weeks time.

According to the report, Apple has made deals with Walt Disney, Universal Studios, Paramount Pictures, and Warner Bros., and is in talks with other studios as well.

If the report is true and the downloads are to be for rental only, not to own, this is a victory for movie studios trying to slow down Apple's dominance in the media download market.

But it's a blow to Apple in the face of competition from sites like Movielink and Guba, who feature download-to-own services.

This is especially true in light of the fact that Movielink has just licensed Sonic DVD-on-Demand technology for its movie downloads.

The agreement means that once content providers are in agreement, Movielink can offer download-to-own services that include burning the films on to DVD for use in a DVD player.

At the moment, all download-to-own services allow DVD burning only for use in other PCs, not to play in a standalone DVD player.

Think Secret's sources say that the software would either provide for a certain number of playbacks or else be time-bombed.

One tipster said, "We knew that Steve (Jobs) saw the rental model as the only viable option".

"We knew it was a matter of time before he signed on."


Think Secret