It was reported that Apple bought the domain iCloud.com from a Swedish company called Xcerion and now we learned from Apple Insider that Apple is using the name internally as it preps the newest versions of iOS and Mac OS X.
When you type the domain icloud.com you get a page redirect to cloudme.com and the browser title bar says, “Your files online”. However, when it finally loads the new site has absolutely no Apple branding. It is just the old Xcerion site announcing its re-branding.
This is likely smart naming by the company from whom Apple bought the domain. They probably have not yet flipped the switch to the new Apple service. The name fits the Apple branding scheme.
The new service will likely replace the MobileMe backup and sync service which offers users email, online calendars, photo and video hosting, and web hosting along with file storage. The new service could also supplement iTunes and grant users online storage for their music, videos, and apps. If Apple really gets radical it could replace iTunes altogether, something that would cause many to rejoice since iTunes feels so outdated and is very clunky when running on Windows.
Like many Apple rumors, there are conflicting reports that the upcoming service will either be free or that it will be free but transition into a paid service. The latter seems unlikely since most services that attempt to make that transition fail. We think it will be a freemium model with part of it being free but advanced functions (that is the stuff you would actually want) will be a paid service. Right now MobileMe is $99/year although deals can be found for less.
All of this is most likely to be housed in the Maiden, NC facility that is nearing completion. We’ve driven by the facility and it is not very noticeable from the road – a guard shack on an unmarked road with high manmade mounds surrounding the whole facility so it cannot be seen from the road. However, a local TV station talked to someone who went inside the facility and that person said it was too big for just hosting iTunes. Something like a video streaming service would need the kind of computing power hosted in this enormous facility.
In June at Apple’s WWDC, we will likely learn more about the new service, if not before.