iCloud – Conjecture, Magic, and A Fools Hope

Those who follow me on Twitter saw me drop this idea last night in my stream so this may not be new to you.

I was just thinking aloud after reading the umpteenth rumor/speculation/claim-chowder post about the alleged Apple iCloud service and the possibly to stream music from some giant locker in the sky. In almost every one of these I have read, it is speculated that one would be able to upload or store purchased music in some sort of cloud based digital locker – similar to the way Google and Amazon are doing it.

Here are some thoughts on that:

  • Why would Apple want to get into the upload game? Let those that don’t get it (see above) fail at that. All the reports I have read from those who have used the above similar services is that it sucks. Broadband speeds in America are slow, at best, on the upload stream. When was the last time Apple released anything that was slow, hard work, or difficult for, say, your Mom to understand.
  • Why would Apple have to do that? Apple likely knows what is in your iTunes library already. How? Genius. To generate those nifty Genius results in iTunes, your entire library is scanned and that data is sent to Apple where they can compare it against those of others and their purchase history.
  • Therefore, if they know what is in your library, and that info is connected to your AppleID, and that item is already on a server for sale on the iTunes store, why not just allow people to stream it? In other words, no upload needed.

This, I’m sure is bringing up a lot of questions. That’s OK. I’m here to help (which is especially easy with things I make up):

  • “But what about that live concert rip I downloaded off of Pirate Bay?”. Sorry. Can’t stream it. Has to be something for sale in the iTunes Music Store.
  • “But what about the stuff I bought from Amazon? Ripped from CD?” Buy it from Amazon? Rip it from CD? No matter. If iTunes sells it you can stream it.
  • “But most of what I listen to is not on the iTunes store!” Then, this service is not for you.

Apple does not care about the outliers here. Why should they? What’s the business case for doing so? The sales numbers tell the tale. Most regular people, the vast majority, buy their music from the iTunes Store and have for years. Such a service will be built and tailored for them.

The reason is obvious – Apple wants to make it even easier to listen to that music anywhere you have an Apple device so you buy more music. From Apple. To play on Apple products. Have an Apple product? Great! Any music you can buy in iTunes will be available to stream over WiFi or 3G to any Apple device.

Here, buy some music!

If you ever want to figure out what Apple is going to do in any case, look for these things…

1) What is the easiest to explain to anyone and everyone (Hi, Mom!)?

2) What is the simplest way to achieve the goal with the resources they already have?

3) What directly feeds the bottom line which is to sell more Apple stuff?

If your answer to any of these sounds like anything less than magic, pixie dust, and unicorn tears you are likely wrong.

Feel free to mark this as yet another piece of claim chowder and call me on it when the facts come out.