Apple iTunes in the Cloud: Bad Idea or Safe Move?
If you haven't already seen, Apple announced several iPod enhancements on Wednesday, along with updates to iTunes and Apple TV. Leading up to the announcements, the blogging and social media community was abuzz with rumors about what was going to be the next big thing from Apple. One prediction that was widely made was the move of iTunes to the cloud, making it accessible on any internet-ready device.
Obviously, this wasn’t the case on Wednesday, but it makes you wonder if Apple has an aversion to the cloud. Back in February I posted about Apple's massive new data center in North Carolina, and questioned whether or not it was an indication of a move to put iTunes into the cloud. Since then, there has been an increasing amount of discussion surrounding Apple and whether or not they will move into the cloud computing space. What would this mean for consumers?
To be frank, Apple's data center won't be ready until late 2010, and that is probably the main reason no announcement was made yesterday about an iTunes cloud service, but for the sake of discussion: could security issues, and concerns for consumer privacy, also be delaying Apple's cloud move?
If we are just talking iTunes, I can't really see people being too worried about sharing their iTunes libraries, given the enormous amount of information people already make public on sites like MySpace, FourSquare, Twitter, and Facebook. Therefore, if iTunes is Apple's first move in the cloud territory, it seems like a relatively safe one. That being said, there is a difference between what people choose to make public on social media sights, and the publicly hosted information that people DO NOT want public. For example, the Google Buzz disaster is a prime example of what happens when a company, that hosts your information in the cloud, decides to roll out a "new feature" that unwittingly puts private information into public view. I can imagine that Apple will take great care in protecting information in iTunes, but I don't see them stopping at iTunes when it comes to customer cloud offerings. And why would you, if you were Apple? With a new data center up, and the cloud being a fast-moving, fun new "technology," hosting other "iData" seems like a logical next step.
Consider this: the iPhone is a great tool for sharing information online, but the iPhone, and smart phones in general, also contain a large amount of very private data. Phone numbers, calendars, text messages, and personal emails are all things that people do not typically want public.
Apple Cloud Disaster Scenario
Apple offers a "Contacts in the Cloud" service where you can backup all your contact information in the Cloud (MobileMe is pretty darn close). A Google Buzz-esque accidental release of information happens and you are going to have some seriously upset customers. With over 12 billion songs downloaded on iTunes, and over 70% of the world's online digital music sales, Apple has a lot to lose. With that in mind, I would take my time rolling out a new cloud service, but considering that Sony announced a cloud-based music service yesterday, Apple's iTunes cloud can't dilly-dally for too long.
What do you think? Are you concerned about your data's security in an Apple cloud?