The biggest feature of Apple’s new MobileMe revamp, tentatively dubbed iCloud, will be music streaming.
Apple intends to compete with the likes of Amazon and Google in the streaming music space but will be taking a very different approach. ICloud is expected to tie in heavily with the iTunes Music Store which is no surprise since it’s such a cash cow for Apple and very successful but will also integrate heavily with iOS devices. Apple will allows users to essentially host their music library on its servers but according to rumors, won’t require the music to be uploaded.
Since Apple already sells the same songs you have (or at least a vast majority of your library) on iTunes, iCloud would instead mirror your library and stream the music based on what music you’ve already bought. This reduces the pain and hassle of uploading gigabytes upon gigabytes.
Aside from music streaming, iCloud is set to be what MobileMe should have been from the start.
MobileMe was plagued with reliability issues from the start and while it was a dramatic departure from .Mac, the price is what’s kneecapping Apple’s cloud services. To compete, Apple will either need to abolish the $99 annual fee or make MobileMe worth its annual fee which is difficult as so many free alternatives exist that do what MobileMe already does.
Rumors have hinted that Apple may offer its MobileMe revamp for free or at least introduce a tiered model. It’s likely Apple will offer multiple tiers of features ranging from free to paid to better compete with other cloud services.
We’ll know what MobileMe morphs in to come WWDC in less than two weeks. Aside from OS X Lion and iOS 5, iCloud/MobileMe is expected to be a huge part of the show.