Report sheds doubt on recent rumors of imminent iTunes Cloud

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
Widely syndicated rumors that Apple would soon be adding wireless streaming, cloud sync, and wireless device sync to iTunes have been called into question by a new report indicating that the company is still working to negotiate licensing agreements with the studios and labels.



The article "Exclusive: Apple iTunes in the cloud definitely happening soon, wireless syncing!" was published by Boy Genius Report last Thursday, attributed to a "Lindsey S." But the next day, Greg Sandoval of CNET News reported "An iTunes cloud service not imminent, insiders say."



Licensing negotiations delay iTunes.com



The CNET article pointed out that Apple "has yet to obtain necessary licenses from the top four recording companies, multiple music industry insiders told the publication. These industry insiders said Apple has indeed engaged in discussions with the music labels but that the record executives haven't even seen all the details yet."



While other online music services, including MP3tunes.com, stream users' music from cloud servers, those offerings have been the target of lawsuits from music labels who insist the servers must be licensed to distribute their music. Apple is extremely unlikely to align itself against the music labels in a high profile fight for the right to stream user's music from its own servers without a negotiated licensing agreement in place.



Apple has also shied away from involving itself in controversy surrounding the ability to rip DVDs, a practice that is technically equivalent to ripping music from users' own CDs, but is mired in DMCA issues because ripping DVDs involve removing a layer of encryption. Other firms are fighting the movie studios to establish users' rights to rip their own movies, but Apple has not taken that task upon itself.



Apple is likely to avoid pushing either issue because it doesn't want to complicate its already delicate negotiations with the studios and labels over selling iTunes content. Apple is also under government scrutiny over its existing deals with media companies, something that could only be complicated by embroiling itself in licensing disputes with the companies that already claim Apple is abusing its market position. And of course, Apple has no financial interest in fighting to help users rip their own DVDs when it can instead offer to sell or rent content, or push bundled Digital Copies as a feature unique to iTunes.



In contrast, Google appears to be more willing to incur the media companies' wrath in promising to offer Android device users a new music streaming service based upon its own acquisition of Simplify Media. The independent MSpot service, which Google promoted in parallel at its recent I/O conference, already offers this ability. It appears Google is watching MSpot to determine if the water is safe before it dives in with its own streaming service.



While Apple recently acquired the Lala streaming music service, CNET reported that its "music licenses would not transfer to Apple," citing music industry sources. "Under the agreement Lala had with the labels, any acquisition of the company required the new owner to renegotiate the licensing agreements," the publication said.



iTunes Replay delay, again



A year and a half ago, AppleInsider reported that Apple was in the process of building out cloud services for a new media streaming feature that was to be named iTunes Replay. This April, an update noted that the company was still in talks with studios and labels, working to convince them to reach a licensing agreement.



Peter Kafka, reporting for the Wall Street Journal, wrote in late April that Apple's negotiations with labels for iTunes cloud services were "preliminary at best," and that you shouldn't "hold your breath."



That article added, "sources say the company approached the labels earlier this year about a cloud-based 'locker' service, where users could streams songs they owned to multiple devices. But that went nowhere quickly — 'a swing and a miss,' in the words of an industry insider — because the labels argued that streaming a single purchase to multiple devices constituted multiple uses, which meant they should receive more for the songs they sell through iTunes."



A problematic source



This information was all public and easy to find when BGR went to press with "exclusive" details attributed to a single source. Interestingly, that same source had previously been cited in connection with other rumored details related to iTunes that have never materialized. While the site frequently publishes accurate documents and photos related to AT&T and other carriers based on its sources within mobile-related retail stores, its track record in reporting exclusive news related to Apple has been poor.



Last August, the site claimed "pretty reliable sources" in reporting that iTunes would add support for Blu-Ray and social media integration related to Twitter, Facebook and Last.fm. Shortly afterward, BGR offered "further clarification" again citing the same "Lindsey" as source claiming that Apple would release a separate "Social" app to consolidate users' social networking services, similar to Yahoo's OneConnect. That app was supposed to allow users to "broadcast what music you’re currently listening to" and also "share your music with people on your network," something iTunes already does. iTunes was also said to be adding support for sorting iOS apps in listings "alphabetically, by genre, date added, and of course, custom arrangement."



In January, BGR posted another exclusive about "more Apple tablet-related news" involving a "solid Apple / Verizon connection," and invited users to "use your imaginations and let them run wild in the comments." In June, another exclusive cited a "highly placed source of ours" who reported that Verizon was currently testing CDMA iPads. The article added, "we’re probably going to see not only an iPhone but also iPad on Verizon very soon, huh?"



Apple's public relations also recently denied a purported email exchange between a customer and Steve Jobs that was published by the site as being "100% legitimate." The most sensationalist remarks attributed to Jobs, telling a customer to "Retire, relax, enjoy your family. It is just a phone. Not worth it," were mistakenly attributed to Jobs on accident.



Jobs himself recently complained about the shift from responsible journalism and toward the printing of personal email exchanges as news in a public interview at All Things Digital, where he said, "I don't want to see us descend into a nation of bloggers."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 27
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 18,646member
    Apple really needs to focus on getting this piece of its business out of the twentieth century. iTunes? Licensing agreements? Studios? Labels? Who cares.



    How about just making something that is 100% under its control -- iDisk -- a useful product, instead of the joke that it is!? To introduce a great product like the iPad and then not be able to back it up with something like a (free, up to a certain level of service) cloud-based offering is stupid.



    Hint: Dropbox. Buy.
  • Reply 2 of 27
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post


    Apple really needs to focus on getting this piece of its business out of the twentieth century. iTunes? Licensing agreements? Studios? Labels? Who cares.



    How about just making something that is 100% under its control -- iDisk -- a useful product, instead of the joke that it is!? To introduce a great product like the iPad and then not be able to back it up with something like a (free, up to a certain level of service) cloud-based offering is stupid.



    Hint: Dropbox. Buy.



    I disagree that getting access to content isn't important or something people care about. I think it's very important for the future.



    I agree that a service like Dropbox would be great for MobileMe. It's very Apple-ish already. There's only a few little things I'd change, overall it's pretty damn near perfect.
  • Reply 3 of 27
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 18,646member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    I disagree that getting access to content isn't important or something people care about. I think it's very important for the future.



    I agree that a service like Dropbox would be great for MobileMe. It's very Apple-ish already. There's only a few little things I'd change, overall it's pretty damn near perfect.



    I didn't mean to suggest that people don't care about content.



    I am suggesting that there's so much that Apple could be doing with the cloud that is independent of negotiations with studios and labels, all with a view to be continuously enhancing the services for devices they produce. Especially given that the iPad has no USB port and is reliant on the internet to deal with files.
  • Reply 4 of 27
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,788member
    Steve Jobs - "I don't want to see us descend into a nation of bloggers."



    Too late. We've descended into a nation of blog commenters. And tweeters.
  • Reply 5 of 27
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post


    I am suggesting that there's so much that Apple could be doing with the cloud that is independent of negotiations with studios and labels, all with a view to be continuously enhancing the services for devices they produce. Especially given that the iPad has no USB port and is reliant on the internet to deal with files.



    I'm under the impression you can sync files back and forth via USB signaling (although not using a USB-port on the iPad's end) allows for connection to iTunes for EPUB and PDFs in iBooks and multiple document types for iWorks. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't mind a disk mode and access to file swapping without iTunes, but at least it can be done with USB at some level.
  • Reply 6 of 27
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 18,646member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SockRolid View Post


    We've descended into a nation of blog commenters.



    Welcome to the descent.
  • Reply 7 of 27
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 18,646member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    I'm under the impression you can sync files back and forth via USB signaling (although not using a USB-port on the iPad's end) allows for connection to iTunes for EPUB and PDFs in iBooks and multiple document types for iWorks. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't mind a disk mode and access to file swapping without iTunes, but at least it can be done with USB at some level.



    That's an incredibly cumbersome process in iTunes. Waste of time.



    Also defeats the whole purpose behind the concept of the iPad, which is to untether to some extent from your main computer except as truly needed. In any event, enabling even something like that via the cloud has little to do studio/label permissions and such. That sounds to me like silly excuses.
  • Reply 8 of 27
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post


    That's an incredibly cumbersome process in iTunes. Waste of time.



    Also defeats the whole purpose behind the concept of the iPad, which is to untether to some extent from your main computer except as truly needed. In any event, enabling even something like that via the cloud has little to do studio/label permissions and such. That sounds to me like silly excuses.



    Now I'm lost. You previously mentioned that it required the internet, and I mentioned that you can do while tethering, too. Are you also looking for an intermediate option for being away from your computer but not connected to the internet? Like from an external HDD? That sounds reasonable but I don't know what kind of support iOS would need for such a setup and if Apple is even willing to entertain the idea of support disk drives (Google seems against it for Chrome OS).



    They do offer NAND and camera support but that is only for images. RAW images can be stored but not viewed or edited. If they allowed NAND support for moving and accessing document files would that be enough or would there have to have HDD support, too?
  • Reply 9 of 27
    Does anyone else think that Apple's "Big Bold Move" needs to be hire more people? If things like cloud computing can't happen because of licensing that's a big problem. Although, why can't they do most of it now? What was the point of buying LALA if not for the licenses and streaming rights? Technology alone? Apple couldn't find a way of streaming audio without them? really?



    Secondly, what does it really matter stream or download? If I were to download the video/ song to my computer or I stream the video/ song I just purchase that is "backed up" to my idisk? Do they really need permission for this? I mean if I download the file, back it up to idisk and stream it myself, I'm not breaking any laws. And if i play a video/ audio on my iphone using the idisk app, it does essentially stream it and not store it locally. Works like crap if you aren't on wifi or a solid 3G though.



    Sounds like a BS rumor to me because cloud/ streaming would surely keep Apple "in the black". Apple must know they can't keep competition at bay forever with just neat features on their devices alone. Besides it sounds like the new ATV is going to be dependent more or less on streaming if those rumors are accurate and to me a $100 iOS device sounds like a killer to me.
  • Reply 10 of 27
    mcdavemcdave Posts: 947member
    I'm actually glad there's a delay with the cloud service because outside of the US our metered broadband and shocking international connections guarantee streaming failure & make it fiscally unviable - I don't mind paying to download each email to seperate devices but songs & movies?



    I hope it forces Apple to pull the 'cloud' into the WLAN first for some local two-way peer-syncing & streaming - Jobs says they're working on wireless sync but ATV does this already. This makes sense as a AppleTV+TimeCapsule could use sync instead of time machine and act as a local media repository instead of a computer. At D8 SJ said there's no compelling reason to buy another STB (i.e. ATV) but to win the living room he may need to think multi-functionally & a localised 'cloud' would be the first step.



    McD
  • Reply 11 of 27
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 18,646member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    Now I'm lost.



    That's totally fine with me! I was not seeking advice or resolution -- but rather, expressing (what I thought was) a fairly simple, straightforward opinion that you seem to be spending too much time taking too literally......



    Chalk it up to poor communication on my part, and let's move along.
  • Reply 12 of 27
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post


    That's totally fine with me! I was not seeking advice or resolution -- but rather, expressing (what I thought was) a fairly simple, straightforward opinion that you seem to be spending too much time taking too literally......



    Chalk it up to poor communication on my part, and let's move along.



    Slow news day so it's not like we're jacking the thread... much.



    PS: Literally speaking, I try to very literal.
  • Reply 13 of 27
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 18,646member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by spliff monkey View Post


    Does anyone else think that Apple's "Big Bold Move" needs to be hire more people? If things like cloud computing can't happen because of licensing that's a big problem. Although, why can't they do most of it now? What was the point of buying LALA if not for the licenses and streaming rights? Technology alone? Apple couldn't find a way of streaming audio without them? really?



    Secondly, what does it really matter stream or download? If I were to download the video/ song to my computer or I stream the video/ song I just purchase that is "backed up" to my idisk? Do they really need permission for this? I mean if I download the file, back it up to idisk and stream it myself, I'm not breaking any laws. And if i play a video/ audio on my iphone using the idisk app, it does essentially stream it and not store it locally. Works like crap if you aren't on wifi or a solid 3G though.



    Sounds like a BS rumor to me because cloud/ streaming would surely keep Apple "in the black". Apple must know they can't keep competition at bay forever with just neat features on their devices alone. Besides it sounds like the new ATV is going to be dependent more or less on streaming if those rumors are accurate and to me a $100 iOS device sounds like a killer to me.



    Good points. Also, you have to wonder how companies like Netflix manage such (streaming) permissions, or for that matter, how radio and TV do!
  • Reply 14 of 27
    eideardeideard Posts: 347member
    So, y'all [so far] managed to wander through this discussion without noting or mentioning the facility that Apple has completed building to facilitate cloud computing.



    They've been hiring for weeks.
  • Reply 15 of 27
    foo2foo2 Posts: 1,077member
    Just do like Google and stream it even if you don't have a license.
  • Reply 16 of 27
    lostkiwilostkiwi Posts: 575member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post


    How about just making something that is 100% under its control -- iDisk -- a useful product, instead of the joke that it is!? To introduce a great product like the iPad and then not be able to back it up with something like a (free, up to a certain level of service) cloud-based offering is stupid.



    Hint: Dropbox. Buy.



    Yeah, put me down for supporting an Apple buyout of Dropbox too. Seems like a no brainer really. The devs are really openminded but I'm unsure how they would handle the transition from startup to mega big business like Apple.



    Hopefully they would stick around.
  • Reply 17 of 27
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by lostkiwi View Post


    Yeah, put me down for supporting an Apple buyout of Dropbox too. Seems like a no brainer really. The devs are really openminded but I'm unsure how they would handle the transition from startup to mega big business like Apple.



    Hopefully they would stick around.



    There might be some logistical issues with buying Dropbox that might make it better for Apple to create their own solution. Namely, Amazon's S3 storage, of ocurse, if they built well they should easily be able to switch to another system, perhaps planning for their own in the future.



    For Dropbox's sake I hope they have patents on the technologies they created. No other online store is as efficient and simple. I don't even use my iDisk anymore.
  • Reply 18 of 27
    brucepbrucep Posts: 2,823member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Eideard View Post


    So, y'all [so far] managed to wander through this discussion without noting or mentioning the facility that Apple has completed building to facilitate cloud computing.



    They've been hiring for weeks.



    nice post



    apple in fact built two server farms back to back

    i always felt they are for cloud phone services

    and to ease the over loads for itunes



    i would love a detailed article about the server farms





    steve made into the nation of bloggers
  • Reply 19 of 27
    str1f3str1f3 Posts: 573member
    LOL, a little jab at BGR AI? Enjoying the back and forth.



    As for the article, I wish Apple would offer a subscription service for music. Features like Genius, iTunes DJ and smart playlists would raise it a notch above competing offerings. Right now I'll guess I'll have to wait for Spotify to reach the US if that day ever comes.



    Streaming music I already own seems unnecessary. I can just store them locally on my iPhone.
  • Reply 20 of 27
    ARGH! i don't want a cloud syncing, all i want is a syncing of my touch and iphone without a cable!!! why would the record industry have a problem with THAT?



    btw: apple also doesn't know how to propely hold the iphone 4... here's the proof:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JK37dysPPzU
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