Apple may debut its HD+ movie services in itunes later this year, ina new “HD+” format at higher resolution.

Thus far, 1080p HD content has largely eluded users of Apple products, with HD versions of videos on the company’s digital download service maxing out 720p (1280×720) and chief executive Steve Jobs balking at adoption of Blu-ray on Macs due to licensing complications and other challenges that he said threatened to translate into a “bag of hurt.”

But that could begin to change later this year, as a handful of feature films being submitted to the iTunes store for a release in the September and October timeframe are being sent with documentation for an optional 1920×1080 resolution, according to people familiar with the matter.

At least 3 of the 5 largest movie studios have submitted titles for fall releases with resolutions of 1920×1080 at average bitrates of 10mbps

In September, Apple’s new 1080p-capable Apple TV is also due to release.

Apple is said to have the capability to stream 1080p video already in hand, but that the company remains concerned that many users’ personal connection speeds aren’t yet high enough to support streaming of the “HD+” content without significant buffering time.
In order to address that issue, Apple could offer the 1080p only for downloadable movie content, although that would be incompatible with the simplicity of the Apple TV, which offers only limited storage space for caching purposes and otherwise streams all content. Alternatively, Apple could make the 1080p content available for streaming only if a user’s connection is determined to be fast enough to support the bandwidth.

Source (AppleInsider)