Apple Computer Inc. may soon launch a service that allows users to download feature length films, boosting its presence in the digital home, analysts said on Tuesday.
Apple on Tuesday sent out e-mail invitations for a special event on September 12 in San Francisco. The invitation features the Apple logo and the phrase It's Showtime against a backdrop of Hollywood style opening night spotlights.
Apple spokesman Steve Dowling declined to comment beyond the invitation. He declined to say whether Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs, who has hosted similar events in the past, would attend.
They've done really well in music, they've done well in music videos and they've done well in TV shows, so logically movies are the next area of focus, said Shaw Wu, an analyst at American Technology Research who has a buy rating on the stock. It's a first kind of bigger step in the direction of movie content.
Wu and UBS analyst Ben Reitzes, who also has a buy rating on the stock, both said they expect Apple to unveil a movie download service at next week's event.
Wu does not own Apple stock and his firm does not provide investment banking advice to Apple, according to American Technology disclosures. UBS has been an investment banker for Apple and Reitzes or a member of his team or family holds the stock, according to a UBS disclosure.
Apple, maker of the popular iPod music player, already has more than 70 percent of the digital music player market in the United States alone. Its iTunes Music Store digital music library on the Internet has about 3 million songs available for download at 99 cents a piece, and Apple last year started selling downloadable television shows for $1.99 each, also on iTunes.
Apple also may unveil new versions of its iPod nano music player and Macintosh computers with faster processors made by Intel Corp., UBS's Reitzes wrote in a research note on Tuesday.