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Apple iCloud: The Hidden Business Advantage for Your iPhone and iPad

In a press release that just crossed the wire, Apple announced plans to unveil its iCloud service at next week's Worldwide Developer's Conference, which kicks off Monday, June 6.

The big surprise? That Apple actually mentioned a new offering prior to unveiling it. Less surprising: the only detail provided was the name.

So it remains to be seen what iCloud will entail, but one thing is 99.9% certain: you'll be able to store your music library in it, then stream it to your iDevice over Wi-Fi and, presumably, 3G. Android users can already do likewise using Amazon Cloud Drive and the Android MP3 app.

What possible business advantage could that offer? Simple: it will free up precious storage space on your iPhone or iPad, leaving more room for documents, spreadsheets, presentations, PDFs, product videos, business-oriented apps, and so on.

For example, suppose your iPad or iPhone has only 16GB of available storage. It's not like you can pop in a microSD card when you run out of space (thanks a lot, Apple). When you need to make room for new data, something else has to go.

Music is probably first on the chopping block, as even a smallish library can consume 5-10GB. But with iCloud in the mix you'll be able to drop music's footprint down to zero, storing everything on servers and streaming it on-demand.

Of course, I'm guessing iCloud will accommodate more than just tunes -- it might hold your documents and videos as well. But I'd rather keep that stuff local (i.e. stored on my device), just in case there's no connection available. Music you can live without; an important slide deck, not so much.

Update (6/6/2011): Sure enough, as announced at today's WWDC, iCloud will support documents via Pages, Numbers, and Keynote.
Obviously we'll have the full scoop in a few days, including pricing, but in the meantime, take comfort in the knowledge that your iDevice might soon get a storage boost of sorts. (Tip: If you can't wait for iCloud and/or don't want to pay whatever fee Apple is likely to charge for it, check out AudioGalaxy: it streams your music library from your home PC to your iDevice. And it's free.)

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