Leading up to the iCloud announcement, many journalists and pundits were betting heavily on Apple offering up a full-fledged audio streaming option to their customers. In addition to the audio portion of the rumor making the rounds, some also openly speculated that Apple could also let users stream and re-download their video content from iTunes. Neither rumor really came true, with iCloud offering media syncing alternatives as opposed to true streaming options.
Today the rumor is getting another kick at the can. According to AppAdvice, who isn’t exactly known for breaking rumors, Apple will be announcing a service called iTunes Replay, and it will launch sometime in the near future.
The premise: iTunes Replay will let users both re-download their video content up to 5 times, as well as stream their video content at leisure.
From the article on AppAdvice:
In a nutshell, iTunes Replay is an extension to what Apple is already doing with iCloud and free re-downloads of previously purchased music. As Apple secures the remaining rights, TV Shows as well as Movies in iTunes will be given little arrow indicating whether they’re “iTunes Replay eligible”, that is, available to be downloaded subsequent times. Note that some content will unfortunately only be available to download five times and we don’t know how streaming will count towards that limit.
Some thoughts on the matter
Despite Apple’s purchase of Lala, there has been very little indication from the company that they plan on getting into the media streaming market. Many expected iCloud to bring Spotify-like access to music in iTunes, but it never came to fruition. Should iTunes Replay actually be legitimate and see a release in the upcoming months once Apple manages to negotiate rights to stream and provide re-downloads from the major movie studios, it would only make sense that music would also be included. Music files are smaller and cheaper to push across the Internet when directly compared to video files.
But, there’s no indication in this rumor that music will also be included, which is a little bit alarming. On the flip side, Apple has recently added functionality to the Apple TV that lets customers stream purchased television shows to their Apple TV. It’s pretty clear that streaming is on the brilliant minds of the folks over at Apple.
iCloud feels like things may be missing, like tight integration with Lion, and more specifically, iOS 5. It could be that Apple’s been holding back key elements of their entire cloud offering until they’re all ready to ship, and if that’s the case, iTunes Replay could be a huge move to fully round out Apple’s cloud offerings.
iTunes Replay makes sense in a a lot of ways, so we’re hoping that this rumor is actually legitimate, and that when the AppAdvice team says they confirmed the rumor independently it was from someone at Apple, and not someone “familiar with the matter.”