The long-anticipated announcement of Apple's iCloud service is now definitely in the works for the the June 6 Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). This is the inroad to the iTunes in the cloud for an Apple streaming music service, and now we get to find out if it's a rumor or if it's true.
The iCloud part is true at least, as Apple's latest press release reveals it will be delivering information on "Lion, the eighth major release of Mac OS® X; iOS 5, the next version of Apple’s advanced mobile operating system which powers the iPad®, iPhone® and iPod touch®; and iCloud®, Apple’s upcoming cloud services offering."
So what does iCloud mean? Is it just a store your documents in the cloud kind of thing, or will it be an Apple cloud music service, similar to the Google Music and Amazon's Cloud Drive Music Player offerings?
We saw news recently that a cloud music service would use segments of a song from different cloud-based locations on the Internet to more quickly download a streaming song.
There's also been a lot of news that Apple has been working towards licensing agreements with the major recording labels, and so far has Warner Music Group and EMI on board, while still working with Sony Music Entertainment and Universal Music Group to finish a deal. If this is true, the Apple cloud music service would blow the current Amazon and Google cloud music services out of the water.
The fact that both Google and Amazon rushed forward with their services without deals in place for the major labels shows that they might have known more than the rest of us about Apple's plans (there's no secrets that large in Silicon Valley). They might have thought it a better strategy to launch before Apple without deals that they figured would not arrive for them, rather than launch after Apple and have their service look pale in comparison.
The news that Apple was working on a service called "iCloud" to let users do many of the same things that they can now do with MobileMe (bookmarks, iCal, email, etc) surfaced at the end of April, with the theory that it would be a cloud-based storage service, with the potential to include the long-anticipated Apple music service. Apple bought the iCloud.com domain for a cool $4.5 million from the Swedish company Xcerion.
The iCloud.com domain name was being used by Linkoping for a cloud-based data storage service. This would let iPhone and iPad users store music and files online, and access them from multiple devices. An Apple iCloud service could be a nice piece of that puzzle completed, and now it would take either Apple finalizing its licensing talks with the major labels or having the guts to launch without an agreement, as Amazon has done.
Check out more about steaming music sites in the Spacelab Streaming Music Guide.