Apple could have a variety of cloud-based services up its sleeve for iPhone owners. The company is expected to announce a complete revamp of its current MobileMe service, possibly at the 2011 WWDC in San Francisco this June. With the recent launches of Google's and Amazon's own streaming media services, the time is ripe for Apple to jump in the game.
Rumors have coalesced around the completion of a giant Apple data center in North Carolina as well as a purported email from Steve Jobs claiming that MobileMe is headed for changes. Not only this, but developers have discovered a cloud-based service (codenamed Castle) in the latest developer preview of Lion, Mac OS X 10.7. Apple reportedly even purchased the domain iCloud.com for $4.5 million from a company that has changed its name to CloudMe.
Another related purchase was Apple's 2010 acquisition of Siri, an iPhone application that focuses on speech recognition, allowing users to ask questions of their device. Some of these features could make their way into iOS, but with a catch. Siri used cloud-based speech processing technology from Nuance. If Apple plans to continue down this route, future iPhones could send recorded speech to the iCloud service for processing, returning more accurate results faster and with less processing power required on the mobile device.
When it comes to the streaming media front, although Google and Amazon already allow users to remotely store and stream their music collections, the two companies have not come up with licensing agreements with record companies. Apple is in a unique position with its iTunes business and record company contacts to create an improved cloud-based service with the blessing of the record labels. Add the existing MobileMe services ad voice recognition to the mix and iCloud will be a force to reckon with for the competition.