Writing for TechCrunch, MP3.com founder Michael Robertson opines that Apple’s recent acquisition of the LaLa streaming service will be a key factor in the upcoming Apple Tablet and will enable users to access their media content from anywhere via the cloud.
An upcoming major revision of iTunes will copy each user’s catalog to the net making it available from any browser or net connected ipod/touch/tablet. The Lala upload technology will be bundled into a future iTunes upgrade which will automatically be installed for the 100+ million itunes users with a simple “An upgrade is available…” notification dialog box. After installation iTunes will push in the background their entire media library to their personal mobile iTunes area. Once loaded, users will be able to navigate and play their music, videos and playlists from their personal URL using a browser based iTunes experience.
Robertson claims to have no inside knowledge, but he reaches the same conclusion we detailed in early December when Apple purchased LaLa.
Remember that last February, rumors of a new iTunes service called “iTunes Replay” began making the rounds. The service was reported to work as follows – iTunes would push up to the cloud a directory file with all of a users metadata regarding his media content on iTunes. Then, using Apple Tablet, for example, they would then be able to access that file and stream whatever content they happen to own from Apple’s servers.
On that note, Robertson writes of the value LaLa provides to Apple:
As Apple did with the original iPods, Lala realized that any music solution must include music already possessed by the user. The Lala setup process provides software to store a personal music library online and then play it from any web browser alongside web songs they vend. This technology plus the engineering and management team is the true value of Lala to Apple.
Which brings us to another piece of the puzzle – Apple grandiose data center in North Carolina which we’ve previously detailed as follows:
This past summer, Apple hired Olivier Sanche, a former eBay Data Center executive, to head up operations at its planned 500,000 square foot data center in North Carolina. Apple’s planned data center is massive, and easily one of the largest of its kind in the entire world. To put things into perspective, Apple’s data center in Newark, California barely checks in at 100,000 square feet. Furthermore, Apple is planning to invest a staggering $1 billion dollars into the North Carolina data center, a figure which easily dwarfs the $500 to $600 million range typically used to set up large-scale data centers for the likes of Google and Microsoft.
Taken together, it certainly seems that Apple has some notions of a streaming service for iTunes in conjunction with the upcoming announcement of the hotly awaited Apple Tablet.