Apple’s big news today is that there will be some big news related to iTunes announced tomorrow. An unexpected and somewhat cryptic announcement having been splashed over the company’s homepage this morning claiming “Tomorrow is just another day. That you’ll never forget.” I’ll agree with most of the Mac/tech pundits and bet that this will focus on some form or iTunes streaming – which could allow a subscription model or a cloud-based locker for all your iTunes contents.
I appreciate the speculation about the Beatles catalog coming to iTunes, but it’s a rumor that we’ve been hearing for years and years and one that Yoko has denied would happen. And even though I’m a big Beatles and John Lennon fan, I’m not sure that news would warrant such a major event (if I’m wrong, I’ll offer many humble apologies tomorrow).
A subscription model seems somewhat unlikely to me. It was rumored to be in the works for iTunes 10 and the Apple TV for TV shows, but nothing similar to it emerged at Apple’s September music event. Steve Jobs has repeatedly said that users want to own music rather than rent it, which it makes a music-only subscription seem unlikely as well.
But, a media locker is an interesting idea and one that seems likely. In fact, it’s been pretty much assumed that Apple would develop such a system after its acquisition of Lala and construction of a data center in North Carolina (which may already be planned to double in size).
As Apple moves towards devices more focused on flash storage (the iPhone, iPad, MacBook Air) and no storage (the Apple TV), this makes a lot of sense. In fact, this offers a lot of possibilities when it comes to the Apple TV because it would allow access to your content without needing to your computer available. This could be great for students and travelers (on vacation or on the road for work) since the new Apple TV is as portable as an iPhone.
In fact, I’d wager that such a storage locker might not be fully music/video-specific. That’s a major use, of course, but iTunes also syncs all kinds of additional data to devices including e-books, personal photos, notes, and apps. Just adding the ability to easily store photos would be an obvious extension (though it wouldn’t add anything other services already offer).
Apple could, however, have something bigger up its sleeve. The company’s iWork suite includes an almost laughable cloud service called iWork.com that hasn’t gotten any real updates (other than integration with the iPad version of iWork) in nearly two years. Apple could integrate that into a storage locker and even integrate presentations from iWork’s Keynote app into its media capabilities (I have more to say on Keynote presentations and streaming in a post I’ll be writing later today). The company could even integrate its Mobile Me iDisk storage as well as true cloud office-style apps with a storage locker.
Again, none of this would be something to make tomorrow a day you’ll never forget. It’d only be integrating a lot of features of different existing services. But, Apple is pretty good at integrating things (hence the iOS it integrated/Android is open argument). Apple might be able to combine a complete slate of consumer, home office, and small business features into a single really powerful service (which would coincide with the major markets for Apple products).
Or the company could announce something completely different.
Have your say about what Apple might announce (or why you think I’m wrong about any of this, including the Beatles catalog) in the comments.