According to the trades this morning, Apple is interested in offering movies for sale at iTunes. You don't say! In other news, the sky is blue. I mean, really -- we all knew this was just a matter of time, right? Now, though, Apple has stopped just fantasizing about movies on iPods, and have started negotiating with "major studios" with the goal of having films for sale by the end of the year. The major issue under discussion, not surprisingly, is how much those films will cost: Steve Jobs wanted to offer them for $9.99 across the board, no matter the film or the studio. While that sounds nice to us consumers, studio heads immediately nixed the idea, saying right up front that they need to gouge us for the stuff we really want: "We cant," one negotiator said, "be put in a position where we lose the ability to price our most popular content higher than less popular stuff."

Because there are several established companies already offering movies for download, Apple doesn't have the market-stranglehold that has allowed them to pretty much dictate the terms of their deals with the companies providing music and television shows to iTunes, and the guess is that the final price for movies will range between $9.99 and $19.99, depending on how many people want to see a given film. The deal, rumored to be done last February, seems to still a ways off; we'll let you know when it happens.