Steve Jobs to return with better-than-expected iCloud

Rather than a cloudy iTunes, iCloud may be all-purpose consumer online data-sync service

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Photo credit:Joao Paulo Pacheco/Flickr

Though it's been beaten to the punch by every major OS vendor (and most of the others besides), Apple has announced its iCloud consumer-oriented cloud service will be one of the new products presented as unique contributions to the creative fabric of the universe in a speech by Steve Jobs at the company's World Wide Developer's Conference (WWDC) next week.

Questions about iCloud's content have remained unanswered since Apple bought the iCloud.com domain name in April, though most analysts expected it to be heavy on the iTunes-like music and video functions and light on the more practical ones.

As it turns out – or at least is assumed by pundits at GigaOm, which broke the story about the iCloud name in April – is that iCloud will go far beyond just music and synching services.

Like Amazon's Cloud Player, which is attached to the multifunctional Amazon Cloud Drive online storage service, iCloud will act as more of a central data hub than just a digital music service, GigaOm reports.

Like MobileMe, the service that renamed itself when Apple bought the iCloud name from it, iCloud will securely store email, contacts, calendars, notes and other material as well as music and photos, and sync them across your various Apple devices (and possibly those from Barbarian manufacturers, though not as elegantly).

It may also include the ability to stream stored media to music players, smartphones or other devices as well as being able to scan and stream media on a customer's hard drive without having to have it uploaded to Apple's servers first.

However, as Om points out: "Apple has done a remarkably good job keeping many of the details of the product offerings...close to the chest."

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