For the last few weeks, Apple fans and intrepid journalists have been piecing together the world changing announcement that Apple has slated for June.
Now we have the pieces to the puzzle.
- The massive datacenter that is so secretive that Apple won't even confirm -- about to go online at North Carolina. How massive?
- A recent URL purchase -- rumored at 5 million dollars. The URL? iCloud.com
- A bit of code buried in the preview build of the new OS X Lion that reads: "upgrade from MobileMe to Castle"
Why does the word 'cloud' matter so much, and why is Apple uniquely positioned to be the big cloud winner?
First of all, Apple is the king of all things small -- and small means pulling out the mechanical hard drives and and DVD drives. Apple's already done that -- with the iPhone, the Apple Air laptop, and Apple TV are all devices that have limited on-board memory. That means these devices are hungry to connect to a 'cloud' service to both store and gather content from. The iPhone makes video and photos -- and all Apple devices are looking for a way to back up and safely store data.
So, how does this shift the world of web competitors? Well, Amazon has been driving hard in the Cloud world -- building Amazon Web Services as a cloud computing offering for businesses and technically capable web developers. But AWS isn't a consumer service, at least not yet. And Google has YouTube and Picasa for video and photos, and Google Apps for both text and spreadsheets.
But Apple is uniquely positioned, as the owner of the consumer experience for both the iPhone, iPad, and Apple laptops.
There's only one problem -- Apple already has a 'cloud' back-up product... and it's terrible. Mobile Me is one of the rare Apple products that has been launched, re-launched, and re-launched -- and never gotten better. Even Apple loyalists acknowledge that Mobile Me rarely results in happy customers.
So will iCloud.com be, in Steve Jobs parlance, 'insanely great!'? The whispers of location awareness, of a music locker service, and even a YouTube competitor, could certainly make our increasingly mobile computer lives seamless and simple.
If Apple's iCloud.com is a revolutionary, connected, simple solution -- Apple could have another winner on its hands.
WWDC conference in June is just a few weeks away.