Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduced iCloud at the WWDC 2011 keynote on Monday. While we certainly learned that it is much more than the now-defunct MobileMe, there are still some unanswered questions.
Most of the remaining holes have to do with iTunes in the Cloud and the iTunes Match service, which involve syncing existing music libraries with the cloud to be pushed to multiple devices. iTunes Match is also the only service that comes with a price tag at $24.99 per year.
But before paying that price, Apple has to answer a few questions first:
- What about existing MP3s that were not bought illegally but rather ripped from old CDs? Just because we might have using stored on our hard drives not bought from iTunes doesn't mean the songs were downloaded illegally. I'm willing to bet that most people with MP3 players have just ripped songs from old CDs (using iTunes even) and just uploaded the tracks to their computers. However, it looks like the music industry wants us to pay twice, perhaps to make up for its own shortcomings.
- What about 3G/4G data limits? Uploading to the cloud could get expensive quickly if someone is constantly uploading new versions of documents, music files and apps all the time. Apple's likely response will be that this is no different from downloading and uploading files, so the carriers could see an uptick in both larger data plan subscriptions and overage charges. (Note that users can not sync images via Photo Stream over 3G - only via Wi-Fi.)
- What kind of security measures will be in place? This was rather glossed over (and almost ignored) during the keynote speech. Obviously, there's going to be some layers of security, but we should be briefed in detail before the service becomes live.
- Is it possible to get more than 5GB of storage space? This question isn't as pressing, and it might be answered much later if iCloud becomes a success (or not). Sure, e-book and music purchases don't count towards the total, nor do photos snapped with iOS devices. But what about movies and music not purchased via iTunes? Or other large collaborative files such as graphic-heavy presentations? That 5GB could go fast. Then again, it's free so it's hard to complain.
- Will MobileMe users who already paid $99 (especially recently) get refunds? Apple has been known to offer refunds and price adjustments in the past, most notably after the price drop of the first iPhone in 2007, which settled an uproar amongst those who shelled out $599 rather than $399. Thus, Apple might find itself in such a pinch once iCloud launches this fall.
What unresolved questions do you have regarding iCloud and iTunes Match?
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