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Apple’s iCloud to replace iTunes?

Chances are, some of the services may be free to the users whereas rest of the services such as movies and music may end up subscription based.

Apple is set to launch its iCloud service which will allow the users stream data stored on Apple servers to their devices including iPhones, iPads and iPods, reports Bloomberg.

The chief executive of Apple, Steve Jobs, who has been on a long medical leave, is expected to launch the service.

The service will be directly competing against similar services launched by Google and Amazon. Cloud computing is going to prove crucial because the mobile devices battle is no more a battle between devices but “it is war of ecosystems” Nokia chief executive officer Stephen Elop had said sometime back.

According to some analysts, some of the basic services would be provided free to the users by iCloud, which will make it tougher for Research In Motion (RIM), Microsoft, Amazon and Google to compete with Apple as these companies are anyway finding it difficult to compete with iTunes the way it is.

The iCloud has the potential of changing the very basic pattern of media consumption, which in turn may increase demand for more Apple devices among the masses. The iCloud itself may not be something revolutionary, but the forthcoming gadgets designed around it may indeed turn out to be a million dollar opportunity for Apple.

At a time, when Google and Amazon went ahead and launched their cloud services without taking music labels into confidence, Apple took a different route and successfully negotiated with the major music labels. The iCloud service from Apple, however, is much more than just music based service. Users can store almost any type of data in the cloud and access it from almost all of their Apple devices including iPhone and iPad.

It’s not the first foray of Apple in the cloud. It’s earlier web based service, MobileMe &#151 a platform for online services and software from Apple – did not exactly take off at the start, and the service had several breakdowns in its life. Despite its shortcomings, MobileMe in the end ramped up three million users, not bad indeed, but it still is just a fraction of the total number of users iCloud is expected to bring to the Apple.

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