Netflix iPhone App Released, Following iPad Version

Netflix now offers a video-streaming app for the iPhone and iPod Touch, months after debuting one for the iPad. Apple may update its iPod line at an event next week.

Netflix is offering a video-streaming app for the iPhone and iPod Touch, months after the rental company debuted one for the iPad.

While the app allows Netflix subscribers to feed unlimited television shows and movies to their device, courtesy of the "Instant Queue" feature, AT&T's recent decision to cut back on its unlimited data plans could limit viewers' consumption.

Bandwidth caps or not, the iPhone 4's high-resolution Retina Display could make watching movies on the smartphone an appealing proposition. Apple iPhone competitors such as the HTC Evo 4G and Samsung Galaxy S are being marketed for their multimedia-playing abilities, with T-Mobile's Samsung Vibrant arriving in stores with copies of "Avatar" preinstalled.

Apple's own forays into media are set to increase Sept. 1, when the company is widely expected to introduce new iPods and perhaps a revamped Apple TV during a high-profile event in San Francisco. Although Apple itself remains close-lipped about its plans, a recent report from Bloomberg suggests the company is negotiating with content providers, including CBS and News Corp., to offer television shows for rental via iTunes.

Should that rental scuttlebutt prove true, it would place Apple in competition with Netflix.

Despite Apple Chief Operating Office Tim Cook's famous reference to Apple TV as the company's "hobby" during a Goldman Sachs technology conference in February, the tech industry's rising focus on the television as a digital hub-notably, Google's announcement of its Google TV initiative-may persuade Apple to make more aggressive moves in that particular market segment.

Other reports suggest that Apple's Sept. 1 event will focus on an iPod refresh. Rumors of an updated iPod Touch, possibly with the FaceTime video-conferencing feature, have been making the rounds for months.

"An iPhone parts supplier sent us these photos of what are claimed to be the front LCD and bezel of the upcoming [fourth]-generation iPod Touch," read an Aug. 5 posting on the MacRumors blog. "The new part clearly shows a front-sided hole that would leave room for a front-facing FaceTime camera."

Yet more whispers have centered on touch-screen iPod Shuffles, iPads with 7-inch screens for either a late 2010 or early 2011 release, and a fifth-generation iPhone possibly due in early 2011.

Whatever hardware emerges from Apple's event next week, though, chances are it'll have the ability to stream Netflix content.