What iCloud Means For Your Music

You know, Im a bit of an Apple enthusiast. I try to learn about every new product announcement as it is happening, I own a iPod touch, wish I had a Mac, and use iTunes excessively. Needless to say, when Apple made their keynote presentation on Monday to kick of the annual World Wide Developers Conference, I was paying close attention. And what we heard was quite something.

The Moscone center being prepared for WWDC, image credit Apple Insider

The banner in the image above shows three different iCons (see what I did there?). The first represents the newest version of the Mac operating system Mac OS X 10.7, a.k.a. Lion. The second one indicates the newest version of iOS, the software which runs on iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches. The third represents iCloud, the new service which Apple announced which is getting everyone so excited. But why?

Imagine this scenario, you have an iPod touch and you want to buy a song, app, or video. Now imagine that you also have a computer with iTunes and an iPad that you wish to get this song, app, or video onto. Up until this point you have had to buy the song on your iPod, sync (short for synchronize, basically means to make sure both computer and iPod have same data on them) your iPod with iTunes to get the song on the computer, then sync your iPad with your computer to get it to the iPad. Pain in the rear right? Well, this is no longer.

With iCloud, syncing is no longer required. Now, whenever you buy a song on one of your devices, it is automatically downloaded to your other devices free of charge. No more bothersome syncing. This is awesome. I love this idea. There are currently 3 iDevices, plus a computer with iTunes, in my house. This will make things easier for me. Not only this, everything that I buy from iTunes is automatically backed up online. What this means is that if my iPod were to lose its data for some reason, I could get all that data back without touching the computer. I think this is awesome.

It just works

Steve Jobs 2011 WWDC Keynote Presentation

Apple also announced iTunes Match. Free iCloud backup is limited to things you have bought on iTunes. For someone like me, whose iTunes library is only about 10% purchased from iTunes, this is not very helpful. iTunes Match costs $25 a year and allows you to back up everything in your library. What is great about this is, because Apple has almost every song on the planet already in their database, you dont have to upload it to their servers. It scans your library, makes a record of everything you have, and uploads anything which is not in its database (of which there is very little). I will surely be using this when it becomes available.

But what does this mean for your music. Well, for one thing, your music is always available wherever you go. In other words, you cant lose it. Hard drive crashes almost always end up happening some day. And if you havent backed up you will lose a lot of data. My music is some of my most precious data. This will allow me to cheaply back it all up without uploading it. If I were to upload everything in my iTunes library to a remote server it would take over two days. With iTunes match, this process will take minutes to complete. This is completely new in cloud storage, and I think it is a wonderful idea.

Many people though have concerns about this. Is that data in the cloud really yours? If someone else owns a computer, do they own everything on it? This gets tricky. I would think not. If this is true though, I dont own this post anymore. Its Hostgators. Darn it, all that work for nothing.

Apple is taking a big step here. It is a huge game changer in the space of mobile storage.

Question: What are your thoughts on iCloud and iTunes Match? Will you use them? Why or why not?