Apple’s iCloud project: Will it change the world?

7th June 2011

Most analysts are suggesting that Apple is stealing a huge march on its rivals with the most optimistic saying it could virtually replace the PC and quadruple sales of its devices.

Here we bring you a rundown of the story followed by the reactions from a host of different experts and websites including the verdict from top investment and technology analysts.

For those unaware the cloud is a way of effectively storing information in, for want of a better word, cyberspace.

But it is music storage that is stealing the headlines. First, as an I-tunes user, you will be able to access the music you have bought from any device that is I-tunes compatible in the iCloud.

Second, Apple has launched another arguably more radical service "iTunes Match," which could even bring music piracy in from the cold. For $25 a year, Apple will store all other music for you, some of which you may have obtained by ripping or swapping, and it will then pay a whopping 70 per cent of the fee to the music industry publishers involved. 

The move is reported here in detail on Bloomington Pantagraph.

The website notes that Apple has about 225 million credit card-backed accounts on iTunes and it quotes Jeff Price, CEO of TuneCore Inc, a company that helps independent artists sell their music digitally as saying: "If only 10 percent signed up for the convenience of accessing music they hadn't bought there, it could turn into more than $500 million a year in new revenue."

The move has the backing of many of the big music labels, and this has allowed Apple chief executive Steve Jobs to claim his service is now leading edge, stealing a march on Amazon and Google, which have recently launched similar cloud based music services, but without music industry agreements.

The music companies involved include Warner, Universal, EMI and Sony Music Entertainment.

Here are a range of views on the story:

Specialist music press view

Music website Music Void suggests the iCloud is a very good step in the right direction. However it also notes that it was about time Apple starting working on ‘person' basis, rather than a ‘device' basis. 

It writes: "Thinking of music consumption on a device basis rather than a person basis is simply the wrong worldview and it needs to change, fast. Automatic Downloads are nice move towards a new way of thinking, but of course within the tightly controlled confines of the iTunes ecosystem."

But it is its view on the iTunes Match will produce smiles at Apple.

"This is the sort of locker service Amazon and Google *should* have launched. Instead of having to painfully upload your entire music collection you simply need to scan and match, a process which should take a matter of minutes. It makes a cloud collection a seamless extension of your local collection."

The research consultancy view

Here, writing a blog on Forbes magazine, Frank Gillett, Vice President at Forrester Research now has Apple out in front, with Google at number two and Microsoft a poor third, when it comes to the cloud.

He writes: "With the trifecta of iCloud, Mac OS X Lion, and iOS5, Apple takes the lead in personal cloud implementation and vision, with the broadest support across a user's Macs, Windows PCs, iPhones, and iPads, and deep support for third-party developer integration into iCloud. Google is worth watching as a number two player, but will struggle to match Apple as it tries to move the world's apps into the Chrome browser. Microsoft, with no articulated vision for personal cloud and Windows 8 expected sometime in 2012, lags significantly. Apple has lots of time to keep building momentum for its ecosystem of devices and cloud services."

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