It’s a perplexing day. As we’re sitting here looking at the Apple.com homepage and seeing a lovely new splash screen, we’re being promised that tomorrow will be a day of infamy. The only thing that we know for sure, right now, is that there’s a rather large iTunes announcement coming tomorrow morning (US time). But, in the absence of facts, we’ll provide you with some speculation as to what an iTunes.com announcement could bring.
The most likely scenario that we’ll see tomorrow is the introduction of iTunes moving to the cloud. While it would be a welcome service that we’ve talked about many times before, Apple’s implementation of web services has been far from perfect in its track record.
Ideally speaking, cloud-based iTunes would allow you to store all of your library in the cloud and you could then access it from any OS X or iOS device, via WiFi or 3G. It wouldn’t require you to upload your iTunes-purchased music as Apple already has it and would simply license it to you. Anything else that you have in your library, however, would have to be shuffled off to a cloud storage of some sort.
Until this point, we’ve been told that cloud-based iTunes (staffed by former LaLa workers) has been on hold because its engineering team was focused on the new Apple TV. As we called it back in August, Apple has pushed pretty heavily into the cloud and the new Apple TV’s release should have freed up those minds to work on iTunes via the cloud.
The Return of LaLa
In the UK, there’s Spotify. In the US, we have…well…Google search? If you want on-demand streaming of a song, there really aren’t many choices. When LaLa was purchased by Apple, and subsequently shuttered, it broke many hearts. Apple has been in talks with the US-based music labels, but the old guards of music haven’t been very willing to work on streaming deals in the US.
There simply aren’t any choices, in the US, for a good streaming music service. And no, before you say it, Napster and Rhapsody aren’t good choices. While we’re pretty certain that Apple wouldn’t do it out of the kindness of its heart, it could make a great addition to the MobileMe platform, and finally somewhat justify that $99 per year cost.
The Death of the App
iTunes needs to die, and there are a couple of reasons that this needs to happen. First off, it’s mediocre at best, under OS X. Switch platforms over to Windows and iTunes is so abysmally bad that it’s nearly unusable. Ditching the app for via-the-cloud purchases simply makes sense. We know that Apple has the capacity to do so, it just has to make it happen.
Second, iTunes.com limits the reach of Apple’s newest baby, Ping. While the service has seen slow adoption rates, being tied to iTunes couldn’t possibly have helped matters. The recent integration of Twittershould push things along, but moving the entire thing to a website would light a fire under the service that desperately needs to be there.
Of course, we could all be wrong. We’re pretty sure that iOS 4.2 is going to drop tomorrow, but that certainly doesn’t warrant a takeover of the Apple.com homepage. It’s simply a software update, not a game-changing thing as Apple seems to be claiming.
So what do you want to see? You know what to do. Hit up the comments and let’s chat.