Apple (AAPL) has been rumored to be working on a cloud music service similar to that of Amazon.com and other companies with similar business models, and now more evidence coming to light suggests the company’s new service will replace its MobileMe service.
According to a story from PC World, the new cloud service, commonly believed to be called iCloud, was spotted within the latest developer preview of Mac OS X Lion, under the code name “Castle.” Here’s a quote from that story:
“Researchers for the blog were looking for references to Find My Mac, iCloud, and MobileMe when they ran into something called ‘Castle.’ More specifically, they were able to locate strings that say ‘Complete your Castle upgrade,’ and ‘Click OK to open System Preferences and complete your upgrade from MobileMe to Castle.’”
The fact that Castle is mentioned in the same breath as MobileMe seems to suggest the service will encompass more than just music when it is released. MobileMe currently allows users to save and sync things like contact lists and track missing iOS devices using their GPS capabilities, as well as calendars and file-sharing.
Apple recently pulled MobileMe from its online store and it has been “reportedly marked for ‘end of life,’” according to PC World. That makes sense if Apple is preparing to change the service into somethin new. That also makes it at least somewhat likely that MobileMe’s price of $99 per year could be what iCloud ends up running customers.
It seems pretty certain that the “iCloud” brand will be what users end up calling Apple’s cloud service. Another recent story from PC World late last week reports on a fairly solid and well-reported rumor that Apple spent $4.5 million to acquire the “iCloud.com” domain name. Here’s a quick quote:
“GigaOm founder Om Malik reports based on an anonymous source that Apple has purchased iCloud.com from the Swedish company Xcerion for $4.5 million.
“The Whois domain name lookup service still shows Xcerion as the owner of iCloud.com, but may simply not have been updated yet. Malik reports that Xcerion was willing to part with iCloud.com because it is rebranding its own service to ‘CloudMe.’ The Whois database does show that CloudMe.com is now owned by Xcerion.”
Typing iCloud.com into a web browser currently still redirects users to cloudme.com, but the belief that Apple has secured iCloud and is moving forward with that name seems pretty universal at this point. And while Apple might be late to the game in following Amazon (AMZN) with its big Android service (not to mention the several other companies who already offer digital locker services for iPhone), the company always receives a big boost from brand loyalty -- so it shouldn’t have any trouble making iCloud profitable.