Poll: Should iTunes Move to the Cloud?

Back in February there were rumors of something called iTunes Replay, that would allow users to store their media purchases -- which can easily grow to 10s if not 100s of GBs fairly quickly -- on Apple's servers and then stream them down to iTunes, Apple TV, or their iPhone or iPod touch on-demand.

Nothing came of it at the time. Since then, however, Apple has begun building a world-class data center in North Carolina, and baked a new HTTP streaming media feature into both the iPhone/iPod and the Mac.

With cost of hard drive storage still falling, and 2TB soon being realistic capacities for standard home media centers, do we -- or Apple -- really need to think about the "cloud" so much?

We do if we use iPhones, iPod touches, laptops... or upcoming iTablet and like-devices dependent on smaller, still more-expensive solid state storage. Sure local copies for backup are nigh impossible for old curmudgeons like myself to even consider giving up, but syncing, deleting, and otherwise managing content can be a pain in our old curmudgeonly nethers as well.

Techcrunch thinks the move of iTunes to the clouds is inevitable. There's one key area, however, it doesn't address -- bandwidth caps. Sure, they're not an issue for most people in the US, but they are in countries where internet service is both more expensive, slower, and far more tightly capped. (Like where I am, in the distant realm of Canada.)

And even in the US, if cable and DSL companies start losing TV subscribers to iTunes, those prices and lack of caps might just change as well.

Of course, letting us sync and manage our content over WiFi could and should be an alternative. iTunes and Apple TV can already sync over WiFi, and the iPhone can download movies from the iTunes Store over WiFi. Why can't the iPhone browse our PC's iTunes library and transfer media over via WiFi?

But we're getting ahead of ourselves. That's the future. Maybe. This is now. Do you want your iTunes in the cloud?

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, Vector, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Poll: Should iTunes Move to the Cloud?

6 Comments

They need to improve MobileMe before they venture into more "cloud" features. I still find my email experience frustrating whenever I am trying to use the web-based services. I still can not believe they have not improved it yet.

If it meant we could sync, backup, and add content to our iPhones from any computer without worry of losing what's already on there, I'd be all over it. As to how technically realistic that is right now, I don't know.