Apple stocks surged on Tuesday after the tech giant said charismatic CEO Steve Jobs will unveil the iCloud and Mac OS X at the worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) coming up next week. Apple also said Jobs will make the keynote address on June 6, the opening day of WWDC, a development that heartened millions of Apple investors.
For Apple, the launch of iCloud is of high strategic importance and the presence of Steve Jobs underscores the weight of the moment for Apple which earlier made three unsuccessful or partly successful attempts at music streaming service.
While announcing the launch of the upcoming cloud services offering and Mac OS X known as Lion, Apple also confirmed for the first time that the much-anticipated music streaming service, based on iOS 5, will be called iCloud.
There have been robust rumors that iCloud would be launched soon to replace the MobileMe service which never really got going for Apple. It was recently revealed in a book that Jobs had lost cool after the MobileMe launch, and snapped at executives who apparently failed to launch a winning combination.
Beisdes iOS and Mac OS X developers, a whole lot of Apple professionals will attend the storied annual developer conference. What really enthrals Apple investors is the fact that Steve Jobs is healthy enough to attend the flagship apple event. Jobs, who had been treated for pancreatic cancer since 2004, has been on his second long-term medical leave since January.
Apple stocks have taken a hammering every time Jobs' health worries emerged. For Apple the health of its CEO is perhaps the most important pointer towards future successes, more so than in any other company in the world. Jobs had not attended the 2009 WWDC.
On Tuesday, Apple stocks ended up three percent at US$347.83, a gain of $10.42.
Apple has high hopes on iCloud as it comes after a series of flop shows in the music cloud service, starting with iDisk in 2000. It was followed up with the .Mac two years later and then overhauled thoroughly yet again in 2008 and presented as MobileMe. But this was discontinued in February.
Meanwhile, competitors Google and Amazon came on top of Apple, launching their own music lockers. Their music streaming services are known Music Beta and CloudDrive respectively.
According to a Wall Street Journal report, Apple has partnership agreements in place with Warner Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment and EMI. Apple is also expected to strike a deal with Universal Music Group as well.
Through iCloud customers can access music files from any Mac OS X or iOS device, with the ability to wirelessly sync files across devices. Whether iCloud will support other operating systems remains to be seen. The major draw of the service is likely to be the ability to sync files across supported devices wirelessly; the current method of syncing via USB cable doesn't provide the best possible user experience, reports Informationweek.
For some time, Apple has been in the process of putting up its cloud infrastructure in place. It has been giving final touches to its $1 billion data center in North Carolina. The new data center is five times the size of its existing data center in Newark. The North Carolina facility measures 500,000 square feet compared to Newark's 107,000 square feet.