With Apple signing a licensing agreement with both Warner and EMI for the right to stream or store their music in the cloud (with Universal and Sony soon to follow), it is already odds-on that the company's iCloud service is a hair's width away from being announced.
However, Patently Apple has dug out a patent application made by the manufacturer back in 2009 that all but confirms that iCloud is on its way. And it reveals a few more juicy details to boot.
For starters, the patent suggests that Apple will, indeed, host a vast majority of each music file on its own servers, allowing subscribers (paid or otherwise) to stream them. As suggested by Patently Apple, "Apple's invention is directed to locally storing an initial portion of a media item from a user's library, and requesting a stream of the remaining portion of the media item upon starting local playback of the initial portion."
What this essentially means is that a PC, iPhone, iPad, etc, could have either part of the file stored locally (the first 30 seconds or so) or, even, just the meta tag information. The rest, when selected, would then be pulled from the cloud.
The other interesting element of the patent is the constant use of the phrase "Partial Music", even using the term in a mock up diagram of an iTunes menu. Again, this is related to storing small chunks of the media locally, and then grabbing the rest from Apple's servers.
But finally, and even more intriguingly, within the patent Apple notes that the user will be able to select the speed of the network they will be using, including 3G and Wi-Fi. However, it is the last comment that's more interesting: "...and believe it or not 5G, which is quite the leap," says the site.
With WWDC coming up on 6 June, we won't have long to wait to see if everybody's right.
Would you store all of your media files in the cloud, whether it be with Apple or another company? Or do you already? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below?