The blogosphere is crackling with talk of Apple’s iPhone 5 launch Wednesday, the latest in a rush of high-tech product announcements. But lost amid the speculation about screen size and battery life is something more important to most consumers: What can you watch on it?
The licensing deals that allow movies, books and music to stream into the latest mobile devices, while long at the heart of their appeal, are becoming even more critical as several of the biggest technology companies fight for an edge in the lucrative market for smartphones and tablets.
As mobile devices increasingly resemble each other in look and performance, some analysts see a coming inflection point in which beleaguered media companies profit while high-tech manufacturers vie for the best access to old-fashioned stories, songs and shows.
“The platform increasingly becomes a commodity, and the content increasingly becomes the only place to create a premium,” said Andrew Heyward, a former head of CBS News who is now a consultant on digital media strategy.