Apple has teased us with a world changing announcement tomorrow on its homepage. I agree that the announcement can possibly be the introduction of iTunes in the cloud, but not as an MP3 killer as Nicholas Deleon of CrunchGear has so succinctly put it.
The main reason why iTunes in the cloud as realized by Nicholas Deleon is unlikely is because of scalability, an issue I have been preaching about in many of my posts. In other posts I speak about scalability of the size of libraries in terms of disk space and all that comes along with it.
In this case, scalability of bandwidth is the issue. Yes, to have my entire library in the cloud would be a perfect solution. When I am at work and in my car are the times that I want to stream my very large media library. Half of that time is dependent upon 3g availability and of course bandwidth limit and cost. Will it scale well in cost when my dependency of my mobile data plan increases by 75%?
I would love to not put any MP3s on any of my mobile devices to save space. But until there is a mobile network that has major stability and largely more competitive data plans than there are now, I do not think anyone can scrap their MP3s completely. Think about it this way: You subscribe to iTunes in the cloud. It hosts your media library which includes over 10,000 music and video files. Anytime you are not at home or on Wi-Fi, you are using your mobile data plan to listen to music or watch video. That bandwidth adds up very fast, especially when you throw video into the mix. I have gone over 2GB monthly at least twice in the last year. It becomes very costly especially with data plans being capped at 2GB. This also does not take into consideration the fees Apple may decide to charge.
The bottom line is, MP3s will not die because of this, but it can change how we manage our local libraries for sure. Again, a product like Zumocast already lets me live like this where my PC acts as my cloud when I am not home. I still keep my local library as is and I keep select music on my mobile devices in case by some wrath of god the AT&T network suddenly becomes unreliable (sarcasm fully intended). iTunes has millions of users. If iTunes in the cloud did take off with any generous portion of its users, would mobile data plans be able to stay as is?
Still, iTunes in the cloud is still very much speculation, but it is an inevitable reality. Instead of a drastic immediate change, when iTunes in the cloud does launch, it will be the first phase in the evolution of media and how we access it. But many of us will keep our “trucks” filled to the brim with files, if for no other reason to have a local backup.
Are mobile providers ready for iTunes in the cloud? If not, are you ready to pay for its lack of preparation?