Patently Apple has shone a light on a recent Apple patent that shows how cloud based music and media locker could be integrated into iTunes in robust, dare I say seamless manner.

Apple's patent and invention is directed to locally storing portions of a media item that is streamed to an electronic device. In particular, Apple's invention is directed to locally storing an initial portion of a media item from a user's library, and requesting a stream of the remaining portion of the media item upon starting local playback of the initial portion.

The media items owned or accessible by a user could be stored in a user's media library. The media library could be stored on any suitable device, including for example on a host device, on a remotely accessed server, in a cloud, or in any other suitable location. The user could store at least some media items of the library on an electronic device so that the user could locally play back the media items. The electronic device could include communications circuitry for remotely connecting to the media library and stream media items to the user's device.

So you could basically tap a song, the local portion will begin to play, and your iPhone or iPad would start getting ready to stream the rest from the cloud. That gives instant access but also time to buffer, which means less chance for delays when they're most annoying -- during the song or show.

There's even a setting (see the image above) to let you choose to sync partial music to your device in the iTunes sync settings tab.

So while Apple is getting their record label deals in place, and we're wondering if iTunes cloud will only serve up iTunes music, I'm going to ask if this type of system is the one you want?

[Patently Apple]