iTunes 7 with iTunes Movie Store announced!

As if those spotlit "It's Showtime" Apple announcements weren't going to yield the iTunes Movie Store; just in time too, as CinemaNow and Movielink have been around for ages, Vongo's been kicking for months, Amazon's Unbox just hit the streets the other day, Microsoft's Zune video player is just around the corner, and Netflix's movie service is expected any time. With the iTunes Movie Store now available in Apple's new iTunes 7 you'll be able to download full res (640 x 480) movies at $9.99 apiece for most titles, $14.99 for new releases and $12.99 for pre-orders. The files are protected, of course, with FairPlay DRM; they'll play back on your iPod, but not much else, unfortunately, so if you want movies the iTunes way, be prepared to watch them in iTunes or to get yourself an iPod. Sadly, it seems the rumors were true of it being a Disney-only store: Apple so far has only managed to procure 70 movies for their launch, from the Disney-owned Walt Disney, Pixar, Touchstone, and Miramax studios. They're promising frequent updates, though, and they will be launching new movies at the same time that they're released on DVD. As for iTunes 7, there's plenty of good news to be had beyond the addition of movie downloads. Gapless playback (which is happenin' in all the new iPods) is the big winner, and iTunes 7 can go through your whole library and fix previously downloaded tracks to play gapless. The player has also gotten a substantial face lift, borrowing from WMP11 stylings for track listings, tossing in Cover Flow (a third-party OS X eyecandy favorite which Apple apparently bought), a good helping of whitespace and Apple's own design know-how.