Why Can't iCloud Stream?
I don't think they did, and that's interesting, given that a lot of the pre-launch excitement was around the possibility of a streaming service. The ability to create your own Pandora station out of your own collection seemed like a great feature to offer.
But it's not there yet. One explanation, as noted in MIT Technology Review on Monday, is that Apple is concerned about the end of unlimited data plans.
It certainly isn't because Apple is worried about what happens to the network. Its relationship with AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) has always seemed like one of master to sled dog. But data-plan caps would affect the users, the Mac devotees, and a streaming music service could wreck the iCloud music experience.
That's because of streaming music's special power: It gets left on. iPhone users probably won't accidentally leave the stream running the way wireline users do with Pandora, but still -- the bits would add up. The Technology Review article refers to AT&T and T-Mobile numbers saying one hour of music per day equates to 1 to 1.5 Gbytes per month.
Still, that doesn't seem like a reason to hold back the streaming service. My guess would be that Apple has hit some snag with publishers and/or music labels. But does that make sense, either? Already, iCloud opens the possibility of laundering illegally obtained music, as one reader puts it. How much worse could a streaming service be?
Whatever the reason, iCloud's music locker seems a lot like a hard disk in the sky -- exactly the thing Steve Jobs said he didn't want the cloud to be. There has to be a streaming plan in the works. It wouldn't be surprising to see Apple add that feature in a few months.
For a full listing of our iCloud and IOS 5 coverage, click here. — Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading