Thickening Clouds

6 06 2011

When Steve Jobs speaks, everyone listens. Like today, when he is expected to announce Apple’s new iCloud service. Bill Gates never had it so good.

And for the Luddites among us, please take note that cloud computing is for real, and that we have gotten over all of the worries and concerns you had a few years ago when we first started talking about it.

iCloud will reportedly put iTunes on steroids, cut cables, and in the process, take all of our stuff with us wherever we go.

Not exactly a new idea, you say? Yep, you’re right. Even Apple knows that, because they launched MobileMe four years ago. It landed like an eagle with broken wings.

But iCloud promises to be much better, somehow (even miraculously) syncing the contents of your computer to the cloud without as much as a single mouseclick or keystroke. No more tethering between phone and iMac. No more redundant posting to the cloud.

Google and Amazon are no doubt watching closely, because they recently launched their own cloud computing services. Theirs, though, require duplicate uploadings, while Apple’s just happens automatically. You really can take it with you.

Trivia buffs may recall that Apple foresaw the beauty of cloud-based music services when it purchased LaLa in December 2009, but then promptly shuttered it. I for one was deeply saddened, because I loved being able to take my iTunes library with me wherever I went, and on whichever device I summoned it. The only problem with LaLa was that you had to use their uploader widget to manually post all of those songs to the LaLa cloud, which took forever. But with iCloud, apparently all digital rights management (DRM) issues have been ironed out, and if iTunes knows you have rights, then it simply extends those same rights to iCloud.

The only thing I have not heard the media talking about yet (and believe me, they are talking…about every 10 minutes on CNN), is a subscription-based listening service. The $10 each month I pay to Rhapsody for this service is $10 less in Apple’s coffers. But Apple makes money selling individual songs (about 30 cents apiece for each $1.29 download). So it is still in their best interest to be selling me singles rather than giving me license to listen to anything and everything without buying a thing.

Still, we’re getting closer to my dream service, and as long as Steve is healthy enough to remain at the helm, you can bet your bottom music file that it will not pass you by. The shine on this Apple is still as bright as that day ten years ago when they announced the iPod. And we all know how that little thing rocked our world. Just ask the folks who were prescient enough to buy Apple stock back then. Steve spoke, and they listened.

I just wish I had.

Dr “Silver Lining” Gerlich




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