Rumored for months, Apple today unveiled the iCloud, which is designed to serve as the central hub for data and content downloaded from Apple for various devices. The intent is to replace the PC as the place you go to synchronize everything, which has been annoying for quite a long time IMHO. The iCloud is free, and updates will supposedly be daily over WiFi in order to not clog all those 3G pipes out there.
And so the cloud has come to the consumer, albeit in a very limited form. The iCloud is actually quite a minimal concept at the moment, little more than an online storage account that apps on your devices will talk to automatically. As Dan Rayburn notes, there's no streaming whatsoever involved here. It's not a revolutionary idea or technology, it's just a new incarnation of an old idea but possibly with the combination of technology, muscle and style to make it happen. But I think Apple is being smart here by focusing on the basics and leaving the flashy stuff until later, because getting the latter right the first time would have been difficult. They can add functionality over time and keep the buzz going that way rather than using all their ammunition at once.
From a bandwidth angle, there's really not that much going on here yet. As one sees with the rise of Netflix, video is everything and the bits from downloading MP3's in batch mode just won't compare. Akamai has been Apple's CDN of choice, and is likely to be powering this launch as well. But what is most important about the iCloud is not what they're doing with it now, but whether or not will stand up to real world usage and thus position itself to serve as a consumer cloud platform for the real bits to come later.
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