Apple Time Capsule to be local hub for iCloud?

Apple Time Capsule to be local hub for iCloud?

Cult of Mac's source claims to have the inside info on just how Apple's new iCloud service will work, and they're saying Apple's Time Capsule (Airport Extreme + hard drive combo) will serve as its local hub.

Files saved on your computer are backed up instantly to Time Capsule, which makes them available to remote Macs and iOS devices.

If you make any changes on any computer, those changes are updated through iCloud and stored on your Time Capsule. The Time Capsule archives and serves up your files even when your computers are off. When you get home and fire up your desktop computer or laptop, the files are automatically synced across your devices.

This service will also allow you to upload photos and videos from your iPhone or iPad to your Time Capsule. The media will be stored on the device and be made available for other devices to sync. iCloud is the “conduit” through which everything moves, the source said.

“Your computer gets backed up to Time Capsule anyways,” said the source. “Now it’ll serve up your content when you want it, where you want it, right there on your iOS device.”

Rumors of a Time Capsule update have been circulating recently in regards to iOS updates. If this new source is accurate, it raises some important questions. Would the $299 1TB or $499 2TB Time Capsule be required for iCloud, or just be an additional option if you prefer to control your own data? If required, that's an expense ticket for entry into the iCloud.

Time Capsule is also presented as a single drive, with none of the parity and redundancy of something like the RAID 6-like Drobo, and on top of that the offsite protection of something like DropBox. Will iCloud offer that?

If the base iCloud service is on Apple data center, but you can keep a cache locally on Time Capsule, you'd get local + local backup + offsite backup, which is pretty much the magic formula. That would be a very interesting service. Wouldn't it?

[Cult of Mac, @arnoldkim]

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Apple Time Capsule to be local hub for iCloud?


Ugh. So I have to buy a Time Capsule to get this? If true, Apple is proving it is too slow to innovate and bring themselves into the cloud "era". I am trying out the Google Music Beta, and I really like it...for one, I can store non-DRM protected AAC and MP3 files of my choosing in the cloud, and stream whatever I want. Second, I'm not realistically limited in what I can have stored out there. The whole problem with Apple and the cloud is it always seems to believe the master copy of the data belongs locally. Before the cloud concept became common parlance, this was true. MobileMe is a great example--until only recently when they moved to a CalDAV standard for their online calendar, the master copy of the calendar data was stored on my Mac, not in the cloud. Now the master copy is in the cloud, and conflicts that were common enough to never have me use the calendar have virtually disappeared. I hated having to rely on my Mac to be "awake" to do anything. What's the danged data center for if not to store my media and allow me access through a single Apple ID?
Guess we'll all see where iCloud is going tomorrow. I will barely be able to sleep!

Hmmm... Updates cached I really wouldn't care too much about that. Still gotta download from the airport. I still have the first airport ever released and it works great since 2007 and i dont plan on getting a new onw anytime soon.

I will be very surprised if a Time Capsule is required. It sounds more like an option for those who are still scared of the cloud and want a local backup. It will also probably have some added value, like the caching of changes, but there's no way Apple is going to make a $300 device required for iCloud.

Yeah, if TC is required, that would be a giant misstep. I don't bow at the altar of Jobs like a lot of people around here, but I can't for a second imagine he'd be that stupid to require TC. iCloud would be DOA if so.

It's also an Airport Extreme, but yeah, that's nuts for just NAS. However, if they do add some really useful iCloud features that make life easier (like for people who have several Macs and iDevices scattered around the house) then it looks a little more reasonable.

Sounds like iCould could still work without Time Capsule. If the iCloud servers know all of your devices' iPv6 addresses, and if you can establish a VPN connection to the iCloud LAN, then iCloud could sync all of your devices' data without a Time Capsule. No matter where your devices are.
Just the instant backup would make it worth it for me. Can't stand the slow, resource-hogging Time Machine right now. It grinds through your whole disk, compares every file against the existing backup, and blasts all the updates over to the TC in a huge Wi-Fi saturating data dump. Better to sync each file automatically. And that would work perfectly with iOS' and Mac OS' apps that have automatic save.

They won't require it but it is a good mobile backup option while at home.
Ultimately, anything requiring you to get full support at home is only feet away from tethering anyway.
We will see but the use of TC is a non-starter for me.

Hope this will work with any home network drive I've just bought a 2tb wd my book world edition which does work with time machine.

This may sound dumb, because I am extremely unfamiliar with the TC specifically, but couldn't you just buy the AirPort Extreme, attach an external hard drive (as large or as small as you want), and tell your Mac to use it as a Time Machine (seeing as how attaching an external hard drive to an AirPort Extreme allows you to access said hard drive from any computer sharing the same WiFi)? Couldn't that provide the same results as buying a TC and save the consumer up to (and possibly more than) about $200? Or am I missing something that the TC offers, that an Airport Extreme + external hard drive cannot?

I was imagining the syncing was going to be a nightmare between the cloud and multiple devices due to local caching needed to make the UI faster. With a Time Capsule in between, sounds even more complicated.
Whatever Apple does, I know that it has to be invisible and seamless to the user. All the user sees is their data, and only one set of their data, always up to date. Don't care if there is a bunch of mice in a box flipping switches, but when I go look at my files, play music, whatever, it must be the same set on every device. Setup up better by plug-n-play.

The cloud should work like in Android one ID on any device, and use the TM as your optional backup that be cool, but not TM as required tool for iCloud. The best thing be for Apple to have one ID cross all devices the best thing they can do, remove MobileMe and convert to iCloud.