Report: Apple Working on Adding Movies to iCloud

The Apple Crystal Ball
Apple has been meeting with movie executives in an effort to bring movies to its iCloud service, according to a report from The L.A. Times. Through iCloud, Apple currently allows users to access their apps, music, and TV show purchases on any iTunes-enabled device (iBooks can be accessed from any iOS device), and the company is now working on bringing Hollywood movies into the fold, too.

The report was quite vague on details, but said that the service could be launched as soon as late 2011 or early 2012. All of the sources for the story requested anonymity.

If Apple does bring the studios on board, it could technically put the Cupertino company in additional direct competition with a project called Ultraviolet that every major studio except Disney is also working on. Ultraviolet will, among other things, allow users to access digital copies of movies they buy on DVD and Blu-ray. Some time in 2012, Ultraviolet will also offer online purchases of movies.

Research firm IHS, however, believes that bringing Apple on board with Ultraviolet, or otherwise cooperating with an iTunes and iCloud-centric movie distribution system, is in the best interests of the studios.

“This is going to be a huge boost to a struggling online movie business,” Arash Amel, digital media research director for IHS, told The Times. “Apple is going to make it work right off the bat.”

Making digital delivery and distributions systems work at all, let alone right off the bat, is not something the movie studios (or record labels) have developed a reputation for achieving on their own. Of course, that’s probably why Apple owns 66% of the online movie sales and rental market.