Apple today confirmed it will unveil its iCloud music service, iOS 5 software and Mac OS X Lion at its developer’s conference next week.
The Cupertino, Calif.-based company’s cloud-based music streaming service, called “iCloud,” lets customers stream music without having to store files on their iPhone, iPad or any other device.
Meanwhile, Apple will be able to sift through music libraries in iTunes and stream music to a device without having the files on their device.
So, for example, if a user has a Taylor Swift album in his or her library, Apple can recognize that album and allow the user to stream it from Apple’s server to the person’s device.
Unlike rivals Amazon and Google, who both launched their streaming services without the cooperation of the music industry, Apple has acquired licensing rights from three of the four major U.S. labels, including EMI, Sony and Warner Music. The only holdout has been Universal.
By acquiring these rights, Apple’s customers can stream the music to users directly from their servers, rather than having to upload MP3 files from their home computers, as is the case with the services offered by both Amazon and Google.
Since Amazon’s Cloud Player and Google’s Music Beta both lack the licensing agreements that Apple has with record labels, this prevents them from streaming music not uploaded by users.
Although iCloud has received the most attention, Apple will also unveil iOS 5, an update to its mobile operating system, and Mac OS X Lion, its desktop operating system.
IOS 5 is believed to include a drastic overhaul to its poor notification system while potentially introducing voice control, something iOS has lacked, and Android has had, for several years.
Many speculate Facebook and Twitter will be integrated right into the system itself, rather than making users download applications from the App Store.
On the desktop side, Mac OS X Lion, which will be available this summer, will see several big updates to the dated Snow Leopard OS, including a launchpad that gives users instant access to applications on their computers much like an iPad.
Mission Control will allow users to view all the programs running on the machine, allowing the user to be one-click away from everything. Apple’s Mail client will also a see an update, to resemble the iPad mail app.
Conspicuous by its absence is a new iPhone, which has always been the headline of past WWDCs. Industry insiders believe the iPhone 5 will not be shown at the conference, but but apple could announce the iPhone 5.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who is currently on medical leave, will be the keynote speaker for the presentation.
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