• Cloud-based "Mobile iTunes" in 2010?

    TechCrunch put up a guest post today by Michael Robertson, the founder of MP3.com, on Apple's acquisition on Lala.com and what it means for the future of iTunes. Robertson's take is that Apple plans to move iTunes to an online service model: putting it "into the cloud," as Lala was. Instead of a standalone program, you would use cloud-based iTunes via the browser on your computer, iPhone, or tablet device to play your music, anywhere you are.

    Though many speculated that Apple bought Lala as part of its push to make iTunes a subscription service, like Rhapsody or Napster. But the "song-rental" part of Lala never really caught on. And since the licensing deals with Lala did not transfer in the acquisition, Apple would have to negotiate a bunch of new deals on its own, which it naturally wants to avoid. According to Robertson's contacts, what Apple really wanted out of Lala is a way for users to put all of their music online.

    Lala's system let users upload their legally acquired music and also sold music via the web, storing all of a user's tracks in an online "locker." That technology now belongs to Apple. Robertson speculates that Lala's locker functionality will be bundled into a future iTunes upgrade. After users' tracks are uploaded to their cloud-based library, they'll have a personal URL that points to that library from any browser: at home, at work, or on the move. New iTunes purchases would be added to the user's locker, but possibly only as links to a single copy of the media file, saving cloud storage space.

    Eyebrows were raised when Apple built a massive, $1 billion US data center in rural North Carolina. If Robertson is correct, those servers are about to get extremely busy. He says "iTunes users can expect mobile iTunes in 2010."

    image via MTD
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