Apple Will Reveal iCloud Next Week
Apple confirmed today what industry observers have been predicting: It will introduce its iCloud cloud service at next week's Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco. Steve Jobs will make the announcement during his keynote on Monday, June 6.
The long-anticipated iCloud will take advantage of the new data center Apple has built in North Carolina, and will be used to deliver iTunes content. While the exact nature of the cloud service remains a mystery, CNET has reported that Apple has finalized licensing deals with three of the "Big Four" music labels. EMI, Warner, and Sony are reported to be done deals, while Universal Music Group remains the last piece of the music licensing puzzle.
Still, it's unclear whether iCloud will offer a locker-like streaming service a la Google Music (still in beta), an all-you-can eat streaming service like Rhapsody, or a hybrid service similar to Amazon's Cloud Player and Cloud Drive, which incentivizes of MP3 downloads by offering free storage with each purchase. And there's been precious little in the way of hints as to what iCloud will offer in terms of video, though it certainly dovetails nicely with the streaming delivery model in the latest iteration of iTunes.
For once, Apple appears to be slightly behind the curve rather than ahead of it. But given how much the music industry has already invested in Apple's iTunes, and building off of Apple's purchase of the music streaming service Lala, Apple should quickly zoom past any competitive disadvantage it may start out with.
Apple says it will also preview Lion, the upcoming version of its OS X operating system, as well as iOS 5, the next update to the operating system that runs the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch devices.
Catching up with Android is a key goal for iOS 5, while Mac OS X Lion shows off media creation and consumption chops borrowed from iOS.
While Apple's MobileMe languishes and iTunes music streaming remains but a music-lover's wish, Amazon's new cloud-based music and storage service offers an iTunes alternative for the web and Android devices