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Apple's cloud-based movie service: Gamechanger?

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It’s been an eventful couple of weeks for utopian megacorporation Apple, to say the least, but the recent passing of founder/patron saint Steve Jobs isn’t slowing down the company’s longterm plot to absorb the entire media universe. According to the Los Angeles Times, Apple has been finalizing deals with major studios that would allow users to purchase movies on iTunes and then watch those movies on any Apple device — the movies would live in Apple’s cloud service. (The Times claims that the service is launching in late 2011 or early 2012; reps for Apple wouldn’t confirm or deny, natch.) It’s an intriguing expansion of iTunes’ movie service, which has been passed by flavor-of-the-year streaming options like Netflix and Hulu. This news also comes as some Hollywood studios, including Warner Bros., Paramount, and Fox, begin to launch their own separate cloud service, called Ultraviolet.

The Netflix streaming model has become so prevalent so quickly that Apple’s service might seem a bit ludicrous: Who still wants to pay for individual films, when you can just pay a monthly subscription? Of course, this news comes right as Netflix is experiencing, shall we say, growing pains. And, as the Times notes, the studios don’t seem to mind the idea of working with Apple. (It probably doesn’t bode well for the studios’ independent service that a Google search of “Ultraviolet” leads you first to the forgettable Milla Jovovich film.)

PopWatchers, are you intrigued by Apple’s cloud movie service? Would you pay extra for the opportunity to watch the films on various Apple devices? Or is the whole notion of “owning” a film already old-fashioned, even if it’s just cloud-ownership? To help you ponder these serious issues, here’s Cory Arcangel’s new classic of cloud-based video artwork, Super Mario Clouds.

Follow Darren on Twitter: @EWDarrenFranich

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