What's in Apple's iCloud?

One of the highlights of Steve Jobs's keynote at the Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) on Monday is likely to be the unveiling of the company's new iCloud remote services offering.

As usual Apple has been cryptic about what the new service will offer: Naturally this has left plenty of room for the press and bloggers to keep their heads in the iCloud.

They say
The consensus opinion is that the iCloud service is most likely to be a "music locker" service in the vein of Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN)'s Cloud Drive offering. The L.A. Times reports that the service will stream music to browsers, iPhones and iPads for a fee of $25 a year. The paper quotes sources to say that Warner Music Group, EMI Music Group, Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment have already signed up for the service.

Daniel Ionescu over at PC World writes that a "burning question" about the upcoming iCloud suite is whether it will replace Apple's current Mobile Me service. This would mean that the iCloud software would also collapse email, calendar, photo sharing and remote storage into one uber-consumer Web services package.

Analyst Mike Abramsky at RBC Capital Markets believes that the iCloud services will give Apple a mechanism to update iPhone and iPad software over the air, freeing millions of users from the tyranny of having to link their device with iTunes on their Mac or PC. According to the Apple Insider blog, Abramsky thinks Apple could possibly stage a staggered rollout of the new service, to avoid some of the issues that clouded the launch of the MobileMe offering in 2008.

Shaw Wu, analyst at Sterne Agee, meanwhile, thinks the Apple announcement will make the outlook cloudy for BlackBerry . The Barron's blog writes that Wu says that iCloud could make it harder than ever for companies as diverse as Amazon and RIM to compete with a supercharged iTunes-like service.

Columnist Robert Cyran at Reuters expects carriers to dive into the iCloud with open arms. He is predicting a halo effect for Apple and its service provider partners as remote music, movie and application storage stimulates increased mobile data consumption while encouraging users to buy more iOS devices because they can access their own stuff right over the air.

We say
Read up on our take on mobile cloud services:

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

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