Cloud-Based Video Storage From Apple?

Greg Sandoval, reporting for CNet:

The company’s representatives have recently spoken with some of the major film studios about enabling iTunes users to store their content on the company’s servers, two people familiar with the discussions told CNET. That’s in addition to streaming television shows and music. […] Apple’s vision is to build proverbial digital shelves where iTunes users store their media, one of the sources said. “Basically, they want to eliminate the hard drive,” the source said.

There are two ways to interpret this. One would be that Apple will provide online storage for your iTunes purchases as backup, so that if your hard drive fails or your computer is lost or if you simply buy more movies than you have space to store yourself, you still have access to everything you’ve bought. Think of this model as like IMAP for iTunes content — it would also allow multiple devices (computer, iPhone, iPad) to remain in sync over the air, rather than the current model where devices need to be tethered via USB to your computer in order to sync. I think this would be fantastic. As it stands now, iTunes customers are responsible for the data integrity of their purchases. Update: Think of it this way: if Apple doesn’t do something like this, then what’s the model for owning an iPad as your primary computing device?

The other way to interpret it — the dystopic take — is that Apple wants to remove local storage entirely, except perhaps as a cache that we can’t control. In this model, if you disconnect from Apple’s servers, you lose access to your library. (Given that we’re lucky to complete phone calls on weekday afternoons in certain U.S. metro areas, we’re a ways off from this being feasible, even if it is what Apple has in mind.)

Wednesday, 3 March 2010