Apple poised to introduce iCloud

Apple chief executive Steve Jobs is taking a break from medical leave on Monday to preside over the opening of the company's annual conference for software developers.

And in a break from Apple's usual practice of shrouding its events in an air of mystery, the California gadget-maker this time revealed ahead of time what it plans to announce at the event in San Francisco.

Sort of.

In a press release, Apple said Jobs and other executives will unveil the next generation of Lion, the software that powers Macintosh computers, and iOS 5, the next version of the mobile operating system for the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch.

And one more thing: iCloud.

Apple described the previously unknown iCloud as its "upcoming cloud services offering" but provided no further details of what awaits at the annual Worldwide Developers Conference.

"iCloud was almost a throwaway line in the press release," said Michael Gartenberg, an analyst for technology research company Gartner. "But that's getting the most scrutiny because we don't know anything about it."

According to multiple reports, iCloud would allow for streaming of music hosted on Apple servers in the Internet "cloud" to various devices - from computers to smartphones to touchscreen tablets.

The New York Times reported on Friday that Apple has nearly completed talks with the major music publishers over the new cloud music service after sealing deals with the four major record labels.

The Los Angeles Times said iCloud will initially be offered for free to iTunes users, allowing them to listen to music hosted on Apple servers on a Web browser or an Internet-connected Apple device.

Apple will eventually charge a subscription fee of around $25 a year for the service, the newspaper said.

A Web-hosted music service from Apple would come just weeks after online retail giant Amazon and Internet search titan Google unveiled their own cloud music offerings.

Amazon launched a Cloud Drive and Cloud Player music service in late March that allows subscribers to upload digital music to Amazon servers and play it on a computer or an Android device.

Google's music service introduced in May lets people store their music collections in online libraries for streaming to computers, smartphones and tablets.

Google Music does not sell songs, however, and Amazon's cloud service requires time-consuming uploading of each song to Amazon servers before a user can listen to it.

Gartenberg said he expects an Apple service would "provide consumer value, differentiation from what's come before and a way of taking the market forward."

"What is going to be that extra Apple bit of magic that's going to be infused that will drive consumers to use this?" he asked.

"Apple was not the first company to offer downloads of music," he said. "But they did it the best and therefore conquered the market. They weren't first with MP3 players or smartphones."

Gartenberg also said iCloud may not be restricted to music.

"It could be synchronization for all my files - it could involve video, my office files," he said. "I think what we're going to see is something more than just another digital locker, another online storage place.

"It will be interesting to see if new business models are introduced," he added. "If we're talking about new ways to purchase, rent, listen to music, and share."

An Apple cloud service could potentially benefit from the huge existing base of iTunes accounts.

"Anything they do that would be commerce-related is going to be fairly low friction if you're already part of the iTunes ecosystem," Gartenberg said.

Gartenberg said it was unlikely that Apple planned to unveil a new iPhone although Jobs, a cancer survivor who went on medical leave in January for an undisclosed illness, is known to love surprises.

"The fact that Apple telegraphed that this is going to about Lion, iOS 5, iCloud seems to me to downplay any expectation of new hardware," Gartenberg said. "This is going to be very software-centric."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Arts and Entertainment
Madonna is not in Twitter's good books after describing her album leak as 'artistic rape and terrorism'
music
Arts and Entertainment
Tony Hughes (James Nesbitt) after his son Olly disappeared on a family holiday in France
tv
Arts and Entertainment
The Apprentice candidates Roisin Hogan, Solomon Akhtar, Mark Wright, Bianca Miller, Daniel Lassman
tvReview: But which contestants got the boot?
Arts and Entertainment
Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels ride again in Dumb and Dumber To
filmReview: Dumb And Dumber To was a really stupid idea
News
people

Jo from Northern Ireland was less than impressed by Russell Brand's attempt to stage a publicity stunt

Extras
indybest
Sport
Scunthorpe goalkeeper Sam Slocombe (left) is congratulated by winning penalty taker Miguel Llera (right)
football
Life and Style
A woman walks by a pandal art installation entitled 'Mars Mission' with the figure of an astronaut during the Durga Puja festival in Calcutta, India
techHow we’ll investigate the existence of, and maybe move in with, our alien neighbours
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Ian McKellen tempts the Cookie Monster
tvSir Ian McKellen joins the Cookie Monster for a lesson on temptation
News
i100
Travel
Tourists bask in the sun beneath the skyscrapers of Dubai
travelBritish embassy uses social media campaign to issue travel advice for festive holiday-makers in UAE
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Ashdown Group: Service Desk Analyst - Application Support - Central London

    £30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Service Desk Analyst (App...

    Ampersand Consulting LLP: 3rd Line Support Engineer (Windows Server, Exchange Server)

    £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: 3rd Line Support Engine...

    Ampersand Consulting LLP: Server / Infrastructure Engineer (Exchange, Windows, VMware)

    £32000 - £38000 per annum + Bonus and Benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Serv...

    Ampersand Consulting LLP: Virtualisation / Cloud Infrastructure Engineer (VMware, Cloud)

    £38000 - £44000 per annum + Bonus and Benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Virt...

    Day In a Page

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
    La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

    Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

    The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
    10 best high-end laptops

    10 best high-end laptops

    From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
    Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

    Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

    The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
    Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

    Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

    The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
    Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

    'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

    After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
    Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

    Homeless Veterans campaign

    Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
    Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

    Meet Racton Man

    Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
    Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

    Garden Bridge

    St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
    Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

    Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

    An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
    Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

    Joint Enterprise

    The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
    Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

    Freud and Eros

    Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum