There will be tons written about the impact of Apple's iTunes business model vs. Amazon's and Google's media-sharing business models over the coming days and weeks. I'd prefer to step back and think not just about accessing music and movies but also about the IDEAL cloud service. That way, I'll have a better way to evaluate Apple's offering. And, as someone who has just gone through the considerable pain of migrating my iTunes library from one MacBook to another one (which I wasn't able to do without help from Apple's tech support!), I understand why it's necessary for Apple to offer a network-based service for storing, downloading, and streaming content (movies, music, audio, information). In fact, it's really amazing to me that Apple is so late to this party. I've been able to store every digital book I ever bought on Amazon for several years. I can download and read them anytime I want. It's about time that Apple caught up!
So here's my starting list of the characteristics that I want from Apple's iCloud (or from any competing offering). I hope you'll all chime in and add to this wish list. Then, when Apple announces on Monday, we can see what wonderful thing(s) they came up with that we didn't anticipate, and what they may have missed or gotten wrong:
1. Local/Mobile/Offline Usage. I want any application and all content I use to be able to be accessible and usable on an offline mobile device (e.g., when there is no Internet or communications signal). When I travelled to Africa with my WiFi-only iPad, I was really happy to be able to watch the movies I had pre-downloaded in bed in my hut out in the bush, or once in a crowded bus bumping down a dirt road in the middle of the night! I was also able to write in my journal, read digital books, and use a mind mapping program—all completely off the grid. That's important. We're not always online.