Why I might sign up for Apple's iCloud

In just a few hours, Apple CEO Steve Jobs is going to unveil iCloud at WWDC 2011. If the rumors turn out to be true, here's why I'm already keen on signing up.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

In just a few hours, Apple CEO Steve Jobs is going to unveil iCloud at the Worldwide Developers Conference 2011 in San Francisco. There have been a number of rumors since the official (and brief) announcement of its existence last week. If the rumors turn out to be true, here's why I'm already keen on signing up.

ZDNet's Live Analysis of the WWDC 2011 Keynote starts at 10 am PT / 1pm ET.

One rumor that swirled was that Apple will be bundling free iCloud features (if not the whole service, whatever it might be) with Mac OS X Lion, which will also be given a full introduction (not just a teaser) on Monday. Most Apple followers are expecting (or at least hoping) for a sub-$50 upgrade fee via the Mac App Store much like Snow Leopard before it.

Additionally, CNet News’ Greg Sandoval broke the news that Apple signed Universal Music to the iCloud, meaning that the Cupertino, Calif.-based company now has the "rights to offer recordings from all of the major labels."

iCloud is predicted to be the successor to the less-than-successful MobileMe cloud-based service, but a music service in the cloud is expected to be a huge part of that. On Friday, the big story was that Apple is going to offer iCloud subscriptions for only $25 per year, which is a huge drop from the current $99 price tag for a one-year membership. That seems like a big disparity, but the numbers show that Apple will still make a profit off this nonetheless.

At this point, I'm rather locked into the Apple brand with an iPhone, a MacBook Pro and an iPad. However, I've also started to be drawn more into the Sony brand as I have a PlayStation 3 and a Music Unlimited monthly subscription. I'm also somewhat intrigued by Sony's Internet TV with Google. (What can I say? I like pretty gadgets that cost more than they should.)

I signed up with Music Unlimited because it has six million songs from the major labels (including Sony itself, which has many of the best artists on retainer) that can be synced with my computer for only $9 per month. It also has a very lovely interface with preloaded radio stations and playlist creation support. (It's also the only significant reason I stayed with the PlayStation Network after the hacking crisis in the last two months.)

But which is a better deal: $9 per month or $25 per year? The latter of which would (most likely) also sync all of my information between my iOS devices and my computer wirelessly? It doesn't really seem like a difficult choice.

But again, I can't make a final decision without seeing what iCloud is all about first. All of these rumors are speculative until confirmed by Apple, which they haven't been. I could very well change my mind tomorrow morning depending on the price and whether or not the service looks useful to me at all. I haven't like every Apple product in the past (namely MobileMe), so it's quite possible I'll still feel the same way about iCloud.

Be sure to stay tuned to ZDNet's live analysis as we all learn more from Jobs' keynote as it happens.

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