The group has been quietly working on a new online film rental service, which will allow movies to be downloaded and viewed on a rental basis. The move has big implications for the DVD rental industry, as well as cable and satellite operators, which are waking up to the power of video-on-demand.
It's unclear from the FT article exactly when this service might launch (although more details may be forthcoming when Steve Jobs takes to the stage tomorrow at 10:00 AM PT at Apple's WWDC in San Francisco).
What is quite clear is that the iPod maker and rule breaker has a hardware advantage over other providers of Video on Demand and online download services.
With an estimated 15 million iPods sold and a new device - Apple TV - that can transfer downloaded content from your computer to your TV, plus the new iPhone (which will also be able to display video content), Apple stands uniquely positioned to finally make downloading of high quality content for rent a viable business proposition.
A film would cost $2.99 for a 30-day rental. Its digital rights-management software would allow films to be moved from a computer to at least one other device such as the video iPod or iPhone. The software would prevent movies being copied.
[Previously: Apple Grapples With More Leaks]