Rumor: iTunes cloud edition may only live-stream parts of a file

Apple’s signing up record labels left, right, and center in an attempt to get their content prepped for the big iCloud announcement. It’s looking pretty likely at this point that WWDC may be the big outing of the MobileMe revamp or iCloud release, whichever it ends up being.

It’s heating up folks, and a patent today has shown images of what looks to be an iTunes edition built with the cloud in mind. If you’re interested in the cloud, and Apple’s take, you’re going to want to check it out.

The Cloud interface, more iTunes than cloud?

We don’t know what Apple’s planning, whether it will be solely iTunes in the could, or if MobileMe will be getting a far more in-depth redesign. But what we do know, and have gathered from small leaks around the internet, is that both scenarios seem to be on Apple’s mind lately.

Today AppleInsider dug up an interesting image from a patent that Apple filed in 2009. Long story short, it’s an image of an iTunes interface that has key cloud information on it.

Included in the screenshot is the option to sync music partially, as well as a minimum connection speed indicator.

Other than that, the only major point of interest is that the iTunes Store seems to be listed twice, once with a smartlist icon, and and then again in what looks like a shopping bag. Normally the iTunes Store icon is a shopping bag, so we’re not sure what the second iTunes Store link is for at this point.

Partial syncing: solving the buffer

If you’ve streamed content across the web in the past, you know that buffering can be a major problem on poor connections. With iTunes heading to the cloud, like the image suggests, there will be plenty of times that bandwidth availability might be less than optimal. Normally an app would require audio, or video, to re-sync up with the server before it began downloading and streaming again.

It seems like Apple may be solving this little conundrum by downloading parts of the song to the device in the background, and possibly permanently, while music is playing over the network connection. It’s expected that this practice would let iOS devices reach out and only grab portions of the tracks from a server, instead of an entire song. Actually, this sounds exactly like a hybrid system, with parts of the song on the device and the rest of the song in the cloud.

Here’s the problem

This patent was originally filed in 2009. It was just made available for public viewing this week. So, while this may be the method of choice unveiled during an iCloud announcement, a lot has changed since 2009. If YouTube can stream video flawlessly, without storing files locally, Apple could certainly do it for music or other media types.

I guess we’ll just have to wait and see how it plays out in the next couple of months.

Article Via AppleInsider

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