Saturday, June 5, 2010

Apple Shuts Down Lala - Will iTunes Move to the Cloud?

A while back, (December to be exact) Apple purchased the music website Lala for an undisclosed price.  The site had been around for a while and offered music lovers the opportunity to stream songs from their over 8 million song library.  You could listen to a song once for free and could purchase unlimited streams of a song for 10¢ per track as well as allow registered users to download MP3's for a purchase price of 79¢.

There was speculation when the purchase took place that it was a perfect opportunity for Apple to make a move to put iTunes in the cloud.  The speculation has now begun to really build along those lines... for a reason.  On Monday, Steve Jobs will announce to the world the worst kept secret of his career.  The new iPhone will be shown "officially" even though a prototype was found in a bar a while back and has been photographed and dissected.
However, Steve Jobs also has mentioned that despite the well known iPhone 4.0, Apple fans will "not be disappointed" by something else coming on Monday.  Interestingly enough, the Lala website  went offline on May 31st with users being told that any credits they had could be redeemed in the iTunes store.  What many are speculating, and I'm one of them, that Lala and iTunes will somehow be merged putting iTunes into the cloud.  This would allow users to access their full music libraries from anywhere with a net connection.  This would be the ideal solution for people with large music collections that won't fit on the current memory offerings on iPhones.
For the last several years, Apple has offered online storage for a fee through their iDisk service and this whole concept just seems to be the next generation of that concept.
The only problem with this idea is the fact it would put even more of a strain on the already overly strained AT&T network.  And the network is strained because of... the iPhone.  It's sort of a Catch-22.
I for one would love knowing all of my media is backed up by Apple and available to me anywhere I go.  I'd be willing to pay for the service, although I haven't given much thought to how much it is worth to me.
Here's hoping this is the surprise that Jobs has been promising.  I think it's a very smart move.


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