March 29, 2011
We've all been dreaming that Apple will eventually store and stream our digital content from the cloud. As you know, you can already purchase songs and other types of content easily from the iTunes store. Yet, unlike apps, you can't always re-download this content as you please, or access it easily from anywhere, anytime. The solution to this problem (or any of Apple's problems with online services), is believed to come from their new data center in North Carolina. Famous podcaster Dan Benjamin even defined a law behind that idea. Inspired by Goldwin's law, he states that "as Apple discussions grow longer, the probability that someone will invoke the North Carolina data center approaches one." Sounds about right doesn't it? Yet, the data center has gone live early this year and nothing happened. In the meantime, one of Apple's biggest competitors in online content delivery, Amazon, launched a service of their own last night. Called Cloud Player, their digital locker allows you to freely store your content in Amazon's cloud, and access it from your browser as well as other mobile devices as you please. The service is very enticing. You're provided with 5GB of free storage, which expands to 20GB in exchange for a subscription, or the purchase of a single album on Amazon. There, you can store your content, both DRM-free and purchased on Amazon (the latter is added automatically), and simply access it from any browser, even Amazon's own Android app. Unfortunately for now, the iOS support is lackluster. Essentially, iOS devices are not really supported. You can still access the files individually by hitting the option function, and have mobile Safari download and stream the raw MP3 file. You can even do so in the background with iOS 3.0 or greater. Nevertheless, Amazon is now doing what we've all expected from Apple, and it's great to see it. Why? Well, it proves for one that it's feasible. We've long speculated that content owners weren't ready to license their content for such services. If Amazon pulled it off, so can Apple. Then, while Amazon hasn't put together a proper way for iOS to access their service, they might still do it, and they have every reason to do so. This means we might soon have a great new way to circumvent the iTunes store, and benefit from a service that is better suited to our current needs. Have you signed up for Cloud Player? Will Apple do it better? Tell us in the comments.