back to article Apple plays cloud catch-up

Apple may be untouchable in tablets and hard to beat for mobile user experience, but it will prove more vulnerable as the focus of innovation moves to the cloud. Cupertino's offering here is a mess, with a collection of non-harmonised services such as MobileMe. It will need to do a lot of work to fend off Google, as well as …


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  1. Bunster

    Danger Will Robinson

    This all well and good for new content to be stored. But what will the music and movie industry do or act when we rip or current music library or convert our purchased dvd and store them on the cloud for streaming. Will they say if you can't produce a receipt they will expect you to pay for it again or have you charged with theft. How private is our cloud content going to be and how will that privacy and ownership be protected. At least I can put all my music and movies on my own storage and stream to my apple devices and I am sure that can be accomplished with Android devices but I prefer iTunes and my iPhone, iPad, Mac Mini and Apple TV 2. behind my own protect network router. Call me crazy but big brother isn't the Government anymore it's Google, Apple, Microsoft and any company that will store customer based information.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cloud drive... what for?!

    I use a service like this for documents, where I need to work on the files on different computers. But music? I have my phone with me, and that stores a good selection already. So what do I need my music online for?

    Surely a solution looking for a problem. Or a convenient piracy aid, if you share an account :) Hmm... actually, sign me (all 12 of me) up!

    1. Absent

      re: Chris 19

      "I have my phone with me, and that stores a good selection already. So what do I need my music online for?"

      So you can purchase a license to a particular piece of media/music/video/whatever and access it anywhere you may be and on any device you want to.

      You can then have your music/film collection via your phone, your tv, your laptop, via your friends computer, at the office, anywhere anyhow. The device will be immaterial, all your media via any method available.

      1. Wpgwill


        Remember this is being aimed at mobiles, why chew up precious data on streaming your own music collection? Plus what about flights and areas with no coverage? Just do without?

      2. Sean Baggaley 1

        Of course! Apple really...

        ... really needs to offer an online streaming media service for all three of its customers with ready access to *unmetered* 3G internet access!

        Apple's iTunes support people will *already* offer to tell iTunes to re-download all the music you purchased from them if you genuinely lose your offline library. It's not officially stated that they'll do this, as Apple don't get bandwidth for free either, but I can see an "iTunes Time Machine" feature appearing.

        But streaming media? Seriously? In an age when 1TB of local storage is normal?

        Even the cheapest Android phone can potentially hold *days* of music, hours of video and more. Why in the name of Stallman would I want to pay a telecoms company a king's ransom to download stuff I already have, (repeatedly)?

        Cloud-based infrastructure has two possible uses: storage (in which case, merely extending "Time Machine" to work with such infrastructure would suffice), and distributed processing. The latter may be of more interest given the media production tools Apple offers. They already have their XGrid tools built into OS X: extending these to access similar nodes in their new datacentre may well be of far more interest to users than the tiresome cliché of a glorified music backup solution**.

        * (No, "big, damp, fluffy thing that floats in the sky" doesn't count.)

        ** (Apple will already offer to let you re-download your entire iTunes library if you really, really need to. They just don't advertise it.)

  3. cynic 2

    Oh you tease

    Mentioning TechCrunch and "solid sources" in the same sentence? Awesome!

    1. SuccessCase
      Jobs Horns

      More solid methinks...

      Than The Register - who is quoting Tech Crunch and not their own sources. That's probably because if you feed them anything your hand gets bit.

  4. paul 97
    Jobs Halo

    success guaranteed

    As we all know , the apple fans will go nuts for this even if it is 3x the price of rivals. No other company ( except sports teams) have such a faithful following.

    No chance of this failing. It will be doubtful however that apple can overtake Google , Amazon and others.

    1. Tom 38

      @paul 97

      I call bullshit; I have an ipad. I don't use iBooks, because the prices are an absolute joke, but I'm a heavy user of the Kindle app, since it's prices are reasonable, plus the range is much more extensive. I think I have about 4 iBooks, and about 50 Kindle books, and haven't bought an iBook since I registered with Kindle.

      I know it is stupid to say "I do this, therefore everyone must do this", but it is equally stupid to say that Apple fans will suck up anything, at any price. We're quite a conscientious bunch really, even if we do like the shiny new devices that are easy to use and hard to go wrong with.

      I don't get the idea of a music locker though. I don't keep my e-books in book locker, they are kept on device. The only music locker that makes sense to me is Spotify, where I can get most of the music I want. The only music I keep on my phone these days is stuff I can't get on spotify (Zeppelin, etc) and a few saved playlists.

  5. DZ-Jay

    Big assumption

    >> "But it will be in the unfamiliar position of having been outmanoeuvred by another firm, in this case Amazon."

    Apple is only "outmanoeuvred" if it is indeed planning to compete directly with Amazon and Google in this space. However, this is a bit of an stretch, given that Apple's approach so far has been not of a "cloudy" and "webby" world, but of a tightly integrated, de-centralised ecosystem where applications are self-sufficient, the client device stores its data, and the end user owns it.


    1. amanfromearth

      That's not entirely true..

      When it comes to the current Apple TV box

      1. DZ-Jay

        Re: That's not entirely true..

        That's not necessarily the case: the user has the ability to download and play his own files from all his other iOS devices--and great emphasis has been put on this feature. The idea is that the AppleTV is just a streaming device from *all* sources, of which the Internet is merely one, and not even the main one.

        The AppleTV can be seen as a separate strategy: it is intended to replace the TV watching experience, while all other iOS devices serve as content containers themselves. This is different than the approach everyone is taking (and assumed in the article), whereas *all* content resides on the Internet, and the devices are mere consumers of the Web.

        Apple recognizes that the "television" experience is different (it is a passive endeavor which requires low resistance and high convenience), while everybody else is trying to cram the Web into everything.

        Sure, Apple could be playing the same game as everyone else, and if so, they are late to the game. However, it is my opinion that this is not the case, and that assuming they are doing so (with no real indication of this) just because Google, Amazon, and Microsoft are doing it too is naive at best. In the past 10 years, when has Apple has followed a strategy defined by others, in with the same approach as others?

        As for that huge data center that the Register keeps talking about? It could be for "cloud" streaming like everybody else is doing, but it could also be for any content serving to iOS devices, including apps and iTunes downloads. I suspect it's the latter.


  6. bart

    No pretense of privacy here

    Check this gem from "Amazon Cloud Drive: Terms of Use:"

    " . . . 5. Storing Your Files on the Service

    5.2.Our Right to Access Your Files. You give us the right to access, retain, use and disclose your account information and Your Files: to provide you with technical support and address technical issues; to investigate compliance with the terms of this Agreement, enforce the terms of this Agreement and protect the Service and its users from fraud or security threats; or as we determine is necessary to provide the Service or comply with applicable law."

    Good luck putting ANYTHING up to their cloud that you "own" and being safe from assault by the RIAA or MPAA. I know why Amazon included this; they really are given little choice but to protect themselves from these two deeply pocketed and heavily lobbied interests.

    My question is whether Amazon's desktop or mobile "player" reports on your local files as well . . .

    1. Kirbini

      Excellent Find

      I assumed there'd something like this in the ToS but couldn't be sussed to look myself.

      As a previous poster pointed out, I carry most of my music with me all the time, why would I need a cloud to help me get to it. And REALLY why would I want to give any company access to my "files"? Especially companies known to bend over and smear on the vasoline while flashing a "come hither" look every time someone mentions the word subpoena.

      I use gmail only because it gives me a previously known email address should somehow find my self suddenly unemployed. Even then I touch it only with rubber gloves and a ten-foot pole. To put my data somewhere the corporate mafia could get access is to be poked by a red hot poker up the jacksie. No thanks.

    2. Mectron

      you mean?


      yes i mean the no 1 public enemies: the RIAA/MPAA.

  7. Doug Petrosky 1

    Don't need to be first

    Apple wasn't the first mover in the music player market ether. They waited and brought out a compelling offering that everyone could understand and enjoy. There is no reason to believe this will be any different or that they are going to have to shift directions to get there (thus causing delays). Every indication is that Apple has been gearing up for this for the past year.

    1) Data center - Ready

    2) VPN access for mobile me subscribers Ala Back to my mac - Check

    3) Location services Ala Find my iPhone - Check

    4) Sync services ala mobile me - Check

    5) License deals with content providers - We will see.

  8. jubtastic1

    Half baked

    Am I alone in thinking that apple isn't so much playing catchup, as not really interested? Mobile networks aren't mature or ubiquitous enough to provide a seamless user experience for a cloud OS unless you cache pretty much everything in advance, and if you're doing that anyway whats the point?

  9. Anonymous Coward

    Why the obsession with music in the cloud?

    Or video for that matter. Guess what? "popular" music just isn't that popular.

    Put the music industry's revenue's next to Blizzard's to see where it's at.

    If you want to produce a really good "cloud" for me, make an autoconfiguring vpn router so I can access my home network from anywhere. iOS does a good job with this so far, but we need better. How about router manufacturers pass off vpn config to a local pc and just handle the runtime tunnel setup, wake on lan etc. I reckon my upload speed is enough to stream music if I really feel the need.

    No expensive service cloud service required!

  10. Justin Clements

    Under Estimate Apple

    Point 1.

    I have really never understood "The Cloud" concept. Why do I need to store things remotely when I have a laptop. The idea of always connected is great until you actually leave a city, and then you are just "sometimes connected". I could not use remote services for exactly that.

    And why would I? I can carry a laptop, and reading/writing a document has a zero cost. Or I could use "The Cloud" and pay a telecom company $$$ to connect me to The Cloud so it'll cost me to do something that I could for free.

    Point 2

    Apple can easily become the worlds biggest "Cloud" in a single update. All it has to do, is bundle it with a iOS update, maybe a 90 day free trial.

    And there you have it, Apple go from 150 MobileMe users, to 50million users overnight.

    Then all the commentators can say "we fully expected that to happen" like they always do.

  11. CaptainBlue

    One Cloud on the Horizon

    I live in central London but have at beast a measly 500kbps "broadband" connection. In Epsom and in Norfolk - where I spend a lot of time - my 3 and previously Vodafone connections were laughable: about enough for a conversation and not really anything else.

    So as others have commented, why would I want to rely on flaky 3G and/or a piss-poor cabled connection to play content I've built up over the years from various sources? And pay for the 'privilege' too?

  12. Gulfie

    Apple service to track family and friends...

    so that'll be a new application called iNoTrustYou (although there are a few other decent product names available - iStalker, iStalkYou...)

    Yay I can really see this making the difference for Apple.

  13. wraith404

    Nothing new

    Apple has been outmanuevered consistantly for the last year, and it will just get worse. They can't keep up against multiple more nimble competitors while remaining so tight assed.

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