Apple’s iCloud is officially on the way, but what exactly will it be?

“Next week, Apple will unveil its much-anticipated iCloud service at its annual developer conference, WWDC. Apple even put out a press release this morning pre-announcing the service—something it almost never does,” Erick Schonfeld writes for Seeking Alpha.

Here is what we know so far (or at least what we think we know):
1. iCloud will include a music locker that mirrors your iTunes collection online and makes it available via streaming to any device. But as I’ve argued, it needs to be much more than this.
2. It will be more than just music. In fact, iCloud will likely replace Apple’s so-so MobileMe service.
3. Not only that, iCloud could be baked right into iOS 5, which will also be announced at WWDC.
4. Once it’s baked into the OS, any number of new iCloud services can be launched in the future, such as a location service for friends and family.

Much more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Fred Mertz” and “Joe Architect” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
Apple CEO Steve Jobs to unveil Mac OS X Lion, iOS 5, iCloud at June 6 WWDC keynote address – May 31, 2011
Apple’s iCloud: Deals with three major record labels, possible preview in June – May 27, 2011
RUMOR: Apple utilizing ‘iCloud’ internally; service to be more than music – April 29, 2011
RUMOR: Apple secures iCloud.com – April 28, 2011

31 Comments

  1. well, if Apple wants to solve the #1 problem of most everyone’s digital life, iCloud will enable automatic universal syncing/updating of everything across multiple OS X Lion and iOS 5 devices. not just music and iTunes, but everything you got. all those files … at least the ones for Mac software. so Home Sharing becomes Everywhere Sharing. and it just works. being Apple systems only, the service should be free, with a fee just for storing stuff on Apple servers too, like iDisk does now.

  2. iCloud will be the next big disruption to the universe caused by Apple. Just like with the Mac, iPhone, and iPad, I expect Jobs to surprise everyone next week with cloud-based stuff that we never even thought of–but things that will make us slam our palms ot our foreheads as we realize the solutions presented are so obvious.

    As I said before, that NC server farm isn’t sitting there just to host Springsteen and Beatles songs.

  3. my mind is a bit iClouded lately. Let’s see, where did I leave all the mp3 files I created from my CD collection. That’s it, they disappeared in the iCloud. Now I can play them everywhere, except in my iCar.

    1. Nah it’ll be coming everywhere. It initially launch in the US at first but it’ll go worldwide and as its software its far easier to roll out then hardware.

      Apple has a reliance on too many markets outside the US to sit back and give everyone else a headstart.

      If the pittyful HTC sync can do worldwide then im sure apple will manage it with iCloud.

      One more thing (hopefully) – New iPhone – BOOM

    2. And in the participating nations. I think, it’s not the limitations of the technology as much as licensing blocks by the content providers. If the recording and movie industries are on-board, you can expect seamless coverage to most places. But these industries have too many blocks in the way that may be too insurmountable for Apple alone. Let the others do the hard work for market preparation for a change, while Apple work on the refining their system with a limited launch.

  4. For (1), because Apple has kept very precise track of every song I have purchased from the iTunes Store, I think it will automatically make every song I have ever purchased instantly available for streaming. SO, every song I have ever purchased through iTunes is automatically (with no “uploading” hassle) available in the my cloud “music locker” on DAY ONE (with the exception of songs that are no longer begin sold in the iTunes Store). There is no additional cost for this service beyond cost of the song purchase (past or future).

    If I want to upload other songs to my “music locker” from CD ripping or other sources, then there is a monthly or yearly fee, based on GBs of storage. Unlike Amazon’s service, the uploading process will be relatively hassle-free, because it is done and constantly maintained through a new version of iTunes.

    1. This is likely, and what a fantastic value proposition it adds to iTunes. Every year, it seems, Apple is teaching me useful marketing acumen without having to go to school for it.

  5. Everyone always gripes about MobileMe but I’ve been a subscriber since early on and love many of its features. To seamlessly synchronize my info (and other family member’s info) across our expanding number of iDevices has been well worth the expense in terms of my time and effort.

    1. drz,

      Well said. I am also a happy MobileMe user because I work within its limitations (iDisk is slow, so I don’t use it often). That said, I would love to see improvements, so here’s hoping that iCloud improves all things MobileMe–I particularly hope that it makes iDisk easy and fast.

  6. At least for the first year or so. The Americans can think of themselves as the Apple guinea pigs testing stuff for the rest of us. Thank you, neighbors!

  7. Strange that they would pre-announce iCloud (even though everyone knew it was coming) . . . me wonders if that isn’t the “one more thing . . .”

    Wouldn’t it be great . . . BOOM!!

  8. All the iCloud in the world won’t help by the time Comcast gets done with things. I installed a Apple Extreme on 4/20/11 and reached a download of 15.20 Mbps. On 5/10/11 it was 20.73. Yesterday’s download speed was 6.08 Mbps. Today it’s up to 10.31. Comcast just kicked in Xfinity crap a week ago and seems to be throttling the crap out of me. Unless the Apples of the world can stop Comcast and which ever companies from killing the internet none of this cloud stuff, Netflix or anything else involving downloads will matter.

  9. I don’t trust the “cloud”. Never have, never will.

    After enough drive failures over the years, I don’t even trust my own storage. Why on earth would I trust someone else’s.

    I understand the appeal of the convenience of it for certain things, but after a while convenience loses its luster.

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