Rumors about Apple's impending cloud service were confirmed in a pre-announcement today. Dubbed iCloud, the exact purpose of the new platform -- to be officially unwrapped on Monday, June 6th -- is still unclear, but CEO Steve Jobs hasn't left us without a few good hints.
Apple's recent deals with Warner, EMI and Sony signal a new music service is on its way. Imagine a platform that could mirror your entire iTunes collection online and make it available to stream to any device.
Second, Apple phasing out MobileMe retail boxes and taking online subscriptions only has lead many to speculate that the company is getting ready to reconstruct the way it handles file storage, e-mail and device tracking overall. The phrasing in official press release pushes this belief even further:
At the keynote, Apple will unveil its next generation software - 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.
Referring to iCloud as a “cloud services offering” suggests that the company plans to incubate MobileMe under the iCloud umbrella, which may serve as a unified entity for Apple's online services.
It's also notable that Apple is choosing to announce iCloud at its developer conference. If iCloud turns out to be baked into iOS 5, maybe it will be even more than what we've guessed at.
Whatever it is, it better be good. DropBox is currently the de facto file sharing system for iOS users, and can be used by any developer, on almost any other operating system. If iCloud is to gain some significant love, it should be just as available.