“Think Of iCloud As The New iTunes”

Daring Fireball’s John Gruber, in a post where he details some of the iCloud features he has “heard” from sources (but doesn’t state as a fact) and other personal wishes about iOS 5, doesn’t describe iCloud as a new music service or “cloud services offering” — rather, he says he’s heard iCloud is something more on the lines of a full replacement for iTunes:

The italicized sentence that follows is fourth-hand information, at best, and also the sort of thing that many of you might have already guessed based merely on your own hunches and hopes. But here goes:

Don’t think of iCloud as the new MobileMe; think of iCloud as the new iTunes.

Instead of simply overhauling MobileMe with a new name, new UI, new functionalities and call it iCloud, Gruber pictures a scenario (again, based on unconfirmed sources) where iCloud becomes the de-facto standard to sync all kinds of media and information to an iOS device:

But in short let’s just think about the ways that iCloud might be a major, dare I say game-changing, step away from USB tethering between iOS devices and iTunes running on your Mac/PC. Consider just the new out-of-box experience. Rather than “Take this out, plug it into your Mac or PC (after first making sure your Mac/PC is running the latest version of iTunes), wait for it to sync before you actually play with it”, you might get something like “Take this out, turn it on, sign into your iTunes account, and start playing with it.

There’s been a lot of speculation around iCloud, iOS 5 and the rumored Time Capsule refresh in the past couple of days. Whilst many had initially pegged iCloud as a standalone music service with streaming features, others later claimed iCloud would be a rebranding of the existing MobileMe service, accommodating options previously reserved to me.com subscribers and new features like music, movie and TV show storage and streaming. A new option surfaced in the iTunes Store earlier this week suggested iOS devices would soon get the possibility to receive automatic app updates, and indeed over-the-air sync of applications and media has long been rumored as a major functionality coming to iOS.