Apple Computer‘s stock is the darling of Wall Street and the Cupertino, California based company likes to break out big news at the summer Worldwide Developer Conference. Those who watch the stock like to guess at what the big news is going to be, which drives speculation on the stock (why the hell did I sell $10,000 worth at $9.15 per share years ago?). Will there be a new iPhone, a new Apple OS or perhaps changes to the iPad? Those are all possible; however the general consensus is that Apple is going to announce a new music system called iCloud.
The concept of the cloud shouldn’t be new to you as the likes of Cisco and many others have been hyping it on TV and Internet ads but for music, basically what Apple is saying is that they will store your music for you and then let you access it when you want it, add to it, receive suggestions about what you might like and more. Big brother isn’t just watching – he’s listening too now, thanks to the power of Apple.
The question is: will Apple follow their convenience over quality model that made the iPod/iPad/iPhone/iTunes so successful or will they use their music industry influence to allow consumers to buy music in copy protected HD formats? There are streaming companies like AIX Records and HDTracks.com that sell music in HD over the Internet but they don’t have the platform or the reach of Apple by any stretch of the imagination. The major studios have their music mastered and digitized for 24 bit 96 kHz audio which is a huge sonic improvement above the 30 year old audio found on the non-copy-protected Compact Disc. Apple has agreements reportedly with all but Universal when it comes to owning working relationships with the major labels.
Apple holds the cards, thanks to the major labels’ inability to see the opportunity to sell music on a copy-protected Blu-ray format that is powerful, profitable and meaningful in the world of home video. Will Apple “think different” when it comes to music streaming/storage on the cloud or will they try to sell music lovers below-standard definition quality music with lots of Apple sex appeal, low quality audio and yet another big corporate entity looking at everything you’re doing online? This Developers Conference will likely tell the story but before I give up control of my massive music collection to be stored on Apple’s Cloud, I am going to want to see music sold in HD resolutions of 24 bit. Hell, they might just get the chance to make a sale with me that would replace $100,000 or higher in music. That’s higher and more profitable than every Apple product that I have bought since my first Apple purchase in the late 1970s.