Apple: Deaf to the Rent-a-Tunes Beat: "BusinessWeek Online has learned that Apple is not likely to get into the subscription game soon -- and maybe not ever, unless one of its rivals comes up with a way to make subscriptions mainstream."
The story goes on to say...
But Apple's strategic goal is not to sell music, it's to sell iPods. Selling songs is marginally profitable, and helps Apple keep the support of the music labels. But the iPod is the reason for Apple's runaway success in recent years. Sales of the device soared 343% in the quarter that ended July 31, when the outfit brought in nearly a third of Apple's $3.5 billion in sales.
The rumblings I hear is that Apple isn't yet technically capable of launching a subscription service. Supposedly the Fairplay DRM scheme doesn't handle it and the iPods themselves don't have a secure clock (a requirement so that people can't have their player frozen in time, thereby keeping their subscription content from every expiring). I'm not sure about the secure clock thing, but that is what I've hear from a number of people/sources. If true, a subscription service would REQUIRE everyone to buy a new iPod. This would give everyone else in the market a free shot at converting Apple's consumers over to a cheaper product/service.