Apple’s iCloud service will mirror your iTunes library and improve its quality too? [rumor]

According to an article by Buinessweek, Apple is set to unveil its music streaming service at WWDC. The service which has been dubbed iCloud will mirror your existing iTunes music library; also, if needed, it will increase the quality of your content.

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.

All of this will certainly come at a cost. Until it is officially announced, we won’t know what that cost will be. Let us assume that it will be a monthly subscription. This would enable Apple to make some money and also pay the music labels a monthly fee. The music labels would then at least be able to claw some money back from music that has been downloaded by nefarious methods and stored in the cloud. You can now see why Apple is getting the blessing of the music labels.

Would you pay a reasonable monthly subscription for this type of service? Is it a better service than Google or Amazon are currently offering? Let us know in the comments!

[Buinessweek via Engadget]

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UK editor at iMore, mobile technology lover and air conditioning design engineer.

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Reader comments

Apple’s iCloud service will mirror your iTunes library and improve its quality too? [rumor]


Nope. Wouldn't use Google or Amazon either. Bandwidth and offsite storage costs money. A lot more than local storage.
A 64 GB iPhone would make me much happier.

That's why I like Amazon, free off site storage included for every purchase. Not that I want to stream the music that often but it does mean it's one less thing I have to worry about a back up for locally.

totally agree. i'm not intersted i paying more money for more stuff. i just want space like i have in my ipod.
plus i got stuff that's not in the itunes store and not commercially released. but i'd rather have 64gb and be able to stream from my home to anywhere.

Nothing beats having your data on your device. This cloud will not work since I have TBs of data I would like to access while I'm on a plane or a train or wherever there is no wifi.
Now if apple invested in their OWN telecommunication wide area US wifi.... And I cloud can access ANYTHING from your computer and external HARD DRIVEs.... Then they got something.
OTher than that the only other way to truly acces your TB storage is to have mobile ext HDs attach to your devices for you to access. Today I still travel with all my data on mobile USB HDs... Just in case I'm robbed or there is a fire.

Ahh, but I bet it would save storage (and $). If you (and 10,000 other people) have a copy of Lady Gaga's album, they only need to store 1 copy (rather than 10,000 copies)

but then that would cost us buffering time, or no music at all if in a dead zone. AND this is purely useless for those who were NOT grandfathered into the old unlimited plan.

Agreed. I am often in areas that are out of cell range. I have to often put my phone in airplane mode just to keep the battery intact due to a lack of cell coverage. On device storage will always be where I want my music, media etc. More like a direct line home to my own computer.

I don't understand the purpose of this. Am I to download a song every time I want it? What if I'm on an airplane and can't get wifi?
I've bought or burned my songs. They're on my computer. I can access them any time I want.
Am I missing the whole purpose of this cloud?

I agree. I already have my music on my iMac and my iPhone. Having it in the cloud as a backup might be nice, but betyond that, what's the point?

I was hoping it would be included with mobileme. I don't know how many people would be willing to pay 9.99 a month to stream just their own music from apple. Might as well pay for napster and stream a ton more music that you don't already have.

DAMN. Apple give away something for free?? You MUST be new around here. Can't WAIT to hear Jobs try to sell this junk. It's gonna crash harder than Ping and MobleMe combined. I am really starting to worry that Apple REALLY thinks there is a need / people are going to pay for these things they keep coming up with. Fix the short comings of the DAMN PHONE first. So let me see. I have all my music on my Mac, and can sync all of it to my phone. But, I am expected to PAY for a service that I can only use in a WIFI location to listen to the music I already have on my phone?? And, I can't see ATT allowing this over 3G. We cannot facetime 3G, how the HELL are we going to use this??

Wait, so Pandora, Slacker,, Spotify..... don't work on 3G? Music doesn't take nearly as much bandwidth as video to stream, so I don't see how that can be a limiting factor.

I would not pay for this service over having amazons for free. I would stop using the cloud if amazon started charging.. I honestly don't see a mainstream need for cloud services.. If you have just insane amounts of music.. maybe.. but besides that.. the phones storage works fine for me.. no buffing, no data used.

Amazon is only free to a point. Do you have less than 5GB of music? If so, great, I hope Amazon keeps you happy. If not, you're going to start being charged for the extra storage. The 20GB for a year deal is only a one time thing. Next year, they will start to charge you.

Amazon is free storage for any music you purchase from them since they launched their cloud system. Add the extra 5GB and it's certainly possible for a lot of people to be able to use Amazon's storage service completely free. If they run out of space, there are certainly plenty of other free, limited storage, media friendly cloud systems they could use to help them spread music across.

I'm pretty sure I mentioned it Ryan, but if they start charging.. I won't use it.. pretty simple.. I'm not going to pay extra for music I already have.. now if they would allow me to stream any music.. that would be different.. but currently on Amazon I have the 20gb as I bought a 99 cent album. Thats not bad for a year.. although I haven't got much use out of it to this point.

Agree... i think this whole cloud thing is way overrated.. I can have all my music on my iphone and computer, i take my iphone everywhere, songs load fast, no charges....

I just got a 160 gb iPod classic a few months ago and between that and my 32 gig iPhone I've got 192 gigs of storage plus grooveshark slacker and pandora on my iPhone. I locked in my grooveshark sub at $30/ year so I'll just stick to that.

I'd probably use it (or at least try it out) if it will be free, but I'm not interested if it costs something. A 64GB iPhone on the other hand is much needed!

I agree with you! I'll probably try it if it's free, but I'll pass if it costs anything. And I would love a 64GB iPhone!

Streaming ALAC ftw!!! iCloud would be awesome for me since I can't even fit half of my music once there are pictures on my phone. I also love the rumored subscription idea like Zune pass or Netflix..

If you iCloud is like a cloud backup for all my computer stuff for say $0.5 per GB per year, I'll think about it. $50/year for 1 TB might be a good value for offsite backup at my consumer level.

Those prices don't make sense. Almost everyone else out there is charging $1/GB at the cheapest prices. Market leaders like Dropbox charge much more than that. How is Apple all of a sudden going to come in at $.05/GB?

You can get 1 TB drives for $50 bucks now. I can probably get myself a 2 TB RAID backup for $200 or something close to that.
$1 per GB per year is too pricey at TB disk size levels. $1000 per year for 1 TB? No. The value proposition for my personal stuff just isn't there at that cost. It effectively is a form of insurance. The price needs to drop further.
I'd think differently if it was business data, but for my personal stuff? Not yet.

If you have 40 GB of music, then you don't have an iPod that can carry it all. You also are not too excited about the prospect of uploading 40 GB for storage/backup in the cloud. iCloud solves that problem very eloquently.
Big question: What's the price tag? $5/mo? $15/mo? This might be better than offerings from Amazon and Google, but it still has to be competitive with free.

Again, the competitors are only free to a point. Amazon only gives you 5GB to work with. And Google themselves have stated that Google Music is going to be a paid-for service once it's out of it's invite-only beta.

i wouldn't pay for any of it. and i have 120GB. I mean what about the cost of the bandwith to you're phone to whenever you want to listen to music. That would mean crazy data charges. If there is one thing that could keep me from buying an iphone it's apple using such a service as an excuse to reduce storage and offereing less GBs not more. because honestly, it's the ipod function in a phone plus apps that are the number one reason i want the phone. right now i use my current dying 80gb ipod more then my phone anyways. i'd hate for apple to destroy the one big reason i want the phone before i get my first one.

Not crazy data charges for everyone...some of us are still grandfathered into unlimited data...therefore I'd do it in a heartbeat.

If u only had to pay for the new music u bought then this would be a good thing. But if there is a subscription for something like the ample 5gb amazon already offers for free then apples model is deal breaker. The cloud s not the end be all.

It'd be kind of nice, but not for a montly fee. I already have my music on my iPhone, iPad, laptop, and can simply stream to my apple TV. Not sure what else I'd need a streaming service for besides a backup, which I also have on another HDD.

I don't want to be streaming music everytime I plug my iPod into my car. Seems silly too me.

I completely agree with this.. data interups the radio signals anyway and makes it hard enough to listen to music without some sort or cracking.. I usually turn my phone to airplane mode when listening.. which wouldn't be an option with the cloud..
Hadn't thought of this.. but I'm not a fan.

If you wouldn't use it theres no reason to bash it. I think it's a great idea because it gives people options to choose from.

No interest in streaming music. Why would I want a my iPod to have a quarter of the battery life, be reliant on an expensive mobile data connection, etc?
Okay for playlists, and perhaps even sync'ing - but no way I'm streaming my music :/

I will not pay anything for this as it is currently "rumored".
I see no advantage whatsoever in having my relatively small music library in the cloud where it will require bits over the network...why??????????????????

I have a relatively small music collection (< 10GB). I'd probably pay <=$10/month for this service purely as a means of off-site backup, as long as I can back up my contacts and settings as well.
I'd at least think about it, but I don't think constant streaming over 3G is viable, and Australian isn't getting 4G or LTE in the short term.

Most people are right in thinking that there isn't much of a need for music lockers at this point in time but that is a short term view. The reason Microsoft, Apple and Google etc are all wanting your data is for the next step in computing. If you have uploaded all of your data to one supplier then you are less likely to want to go through the process of uploading all of the same data to another supplier if you felt like switching, the cloud at the moment makes it difficult for the consumer to switch brands and therefore creates brand loyalty. That's why google make it so easy to upload all of your photo's to the web via picasa or apple do the same with mobile me and iphoto.
Over the next decade mobile networks will increase in speed and coverage, computing devices will increase in power and it's only a matter of time before people see the benefit of cloud computing with a least one or two services they can't live without (facebook?).
The cloud will no doubt be part of the next step in computing but as with all technology history only time will show who had the right strategy! Either way don't mind me I've only just woken up and it's the weekend so I'm going back to bed.

If I could still have 4,000 songs on my phone but be able to get to all 60,000 songs in my library, why not?
It really comes down to pricing. If it's free, it seems like a no brainer. If it costs, they won't get my business, I'm not looking for another bill!

Why would I pay anything to Amazon or Apple or Google for their cloud. I can (and have been doing for many years) connect and stream from my PC to my iPhone or iPad all the music in my collection. Currently I use ooTunes. There are others that do streaming but I like this the best. Plus I don't have to worry about the big bad music companies looking at my music (in the cloud) to see if any are illegal.
I'll stream it myself, thank you very much.