Apple announced that it will unveil their iCloud service, on Monday, at the WWDC. Similar to Amazon Cloud Drive and Google Music, iCloud will mainly be a digital media locker, but it will offer some extra benefits. Instead of downloading music and storing it on different devices (like PCs), users will be able to store it on Apple’s servers, located in a half a million square feet data center.
One of the new benefits that iCloud may bring is the “scan and match” feature, and here is what BusinessWeek has to say about it: “Armed with licenses from the music labels and publishers, Apple will be able to scan customers’ digital music libraries in iTunes and quickly mirror their collections on its own servers, say three people briefed on the talks. If the sound quality of a particular song on a user’s hard drive isn’t good enough, Apple will be able to replace it with a higher-quality version.
Users of the service will then be able to stream, whenever they want, their songs and albums directly to PCs, iPhones, iPads, and perhaps one day even cars.”
Apple customers should expect to pay a subscription, which less likely will be cheaper than Apple’s MobileMe (the company’s current unsuccessful cloud offering), for which users pay $99/year.
Many believe that iCloud would allow movies and TV shows streaming in the near future, thus offering customers a multimedia service that could compete with what is out there already. An analyst at Gartner believes that “Apple will extend its Apple TV model to the iCloud service, offering one-time streaming rentals for under $5.”
The iCloud service will be available on the next iPhone. We still don’t have a confirmed release date, but, as we wrote in a previous post, the new iPhone will feature minor changes. Shaw Wu from Sterne Agee believes that “Apple will have a more radical iPhone refresh in 2012