Apple chief executive Steve Jobs will launch a new cloud-based service called iCloud at the company’s annual World Wide Developer’s Conference next week, along with new versions of the iOS and Max OS software.
Apple’s pre-announcement has prompted speculation the company is set to reveal a major product revamp.
The company’s new cloud-based service will offer remote computing power and data over the internet, with reports suggesting a streaming music service will be a key feature.
Telsyte research director Foad Fadaghi believes this is what consumers will see when Apple reveals its new project next week.
“I think we’re going to see the first steps in commercialising streaming music services,” he says.
“There have been services such as these in the past, like Spotify, but the fact Apple is moving into this market will spur it on. It will be able to use its marketing power through all of its devices to put a face on this new product.”
It’s understood Apple has struck deals with three of the four major music labels, with Universal Music the only company left to sign, although it is expected to do so this week.
Insiders say their involvement will prevent users from having to upload several gigabytes’ worth of music from their home computers. Instead, iCloud will scan a user’s iTunes library and then make those songs automatically available for streaming over iOS.
“Apple has been able to leverage its existing relationships with the iTunes music store,” Fadaghi says.
“They have been able to prove they can make money for the music labels; they are the main source of digital music content. Being able to demonstrate to those labels they can make it work is a powerful thing.”
Apple’s relationship with the music labels also provides a significant advantage over both Google and Amazon, both of which recently announced their own music locker services.
Currently, users of Google and Amazon’s products need to manually upload music into a storage service – a task that can take weeks for some users. But the potential for iCloud goes beyond music locker services.
Analysts point out the iCloud service is being debuted at WWDC – where developers from across the world congregate to share their apps and are introduced to new technology.
If Apple provides them with APIs for this cloud service, it could extend far beyond just sharing media wirelessly.
iCloud services could become part of third party apps, which would allow developers to find new and interesting ways to utilise the service.
Apple is also set to debut iOS 5 for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. In lieu of new hardware announcements – of which there are expected to be none – Apple will reportedly give the software a major remodification.
WWDC will kick off on Monday in California, with a keynote to occur on Tuesday morning.