Cloud iTunes

The Cloud?The rumor mills are churning it. My friend Bryan has been taking about it for years. It looks like this summer, with the release of the iPhone 5, we could see a completely revamped MobileMe, again.

MobileMe is Apple’s cloud-based suite of services that includes; me.com mail, calendar/address book/bookmark syncing, photo galleries, online storage called iDisk, and a few other neat tricks. First let me say that I do pay for this $99 a year service. Almost exclusively for the syncing features. I have four devices that are all completely synced up. Add a contact on my laptop at home, and it’s on my computer at work when I get in. Bookmark a webpage on my iPhone while waiting in line at Penn Station and it’ll be there waiting for me on my iMac back at the apartment. The syncing is flawless and done in the background and I love it. However, with the exception of “Find my iPhone”, a service that allows you to locate (and wipe if you have to) a lost iPhone, you can do all of the things Apple offers in MobileMe with other, freer options. And in most cases, better. Me.com is ok, but Gmail is light years better. Apple galleries are ok, but Flickr and even Facebook offer more for less. Even syncing between all of your devices can be achieved in a number of ways other ways.

The point is, it’s really hard to justify spending $99 a year on MobileMe. Unless you’re me.

And until now. Maybe.

I really don’t like to write about Apple rumors here because it’s usually pretty fruitless and too techno-lusty for me. But there IS a lot of chatter pointing to an upgraded MobileMe with a seeming focus on a cloud-based iTunes option. It makes a lot of sense. Keep the costs down on the iPhone by offering less local storage and the ability to stream your music (haven’t heard squat about video content) to your phone or other computers away from home. Obviously this is not a perfect solution, yet. My commute to work is completely underground and that’s where I do most of my music listening. But it would represent a major dive into living in the cloud where we’ve only been lounging in the warmer waters of the baby pool. Apple even recently built a massive server farm in North Carolina which many assume is expressly for this purpose. This one is a little more solid than a rumor.

Here’s my question… How do I get… 16,184 songs (76.48GB); 1,275 episodes worth of TV (306.92GB); and 386 movies (347.85GB)… How do I get all of that into the cloud? Do I strap my 1TB external drive to an Estes Rocket and launch it at Apple so they can do it for me? Because I’m sure as hell not uploading all of that to MobileMe. It would tie up my computer a take MONTHS to transfer.

I see two options. Turn iTunes into the server which streams your media library from your computer. But that would mean having to run your computer all the time. And I suppose would present some security risks. Another option would be to upload all of your music to a central pool of sorts. You don’t have to upload “Teenage Dream” because it’s already up there. You’ll simply be given access to it. Sounds tricky, but I’m pretty sure this was where Lala was headed…before Apple bought them. You’ll still have to upload all of those mp3s of your friend’s band and depending on how much of that you have, it could take some time and resources. Dont worry though, I’ll be uploading “Satanic Mass” by Coven so you don’t have to.

NOTHING beats having your entire music collection in your pocket like I’m able to achieve with my 80gb iPod, but I’m not carrying around both an iPod and an iPhone. Not happening. An 80gb iPhone would be nice.

A cloud-based iTunes is a pretty good workaround and in line with what most of the major tech players have decided is our destiny.

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