iCloud music storage - why it's an epic fail

Discussion in 'Apple Music, Apple Pay, iCloud, Apple Services' started by Macwick, Jun 25, 2011.

  1. Macwick macrumors 6502

    Dec 9, 2008
    I've been waiting for cloud storage of my media for years - syncing devices (especially devices that don't have enough storage space for my entire library) is time consuming and cumbersome.

    Apple came so close to solving this problem - but they missed the mark. Why?

    Simple. iCloud should be a streaming music service, not a download music service. They made the iTunes app part of iCloud instead of the iPod app.

    I know this has been discussed ad nauseam, but I'd like to take one more crack at it.

    First of all, one argument against streaming is that it would kill the wireless carriers' networks and destroy 3G data plans. But a simple design tweak could fix this - imagine the ability to stream your entire music collection to your iPhone, iPad, iMac, etc, with some simple caching logic built it. You could define the size of the cache - say 10GB if you listen to a lot of music. Songs would be downloaded the first time you listen to them, then cached until the cache becomes full. Most people listen to a relatively small set of songs over and over again, so I'm sure the cache would be 'hit' 90+% of the time, requiring no additional network usage.

    In its current incarnation, iCloud music storage is cumbersome and unusable. I have 100GB music collection, a 16GB iPhone and a 32GB iPad. I can choose to either 1) download ALL music (won't fit) or 2) manually download each song as I listen to it, then remember to delete it when I'm done to make room for other music. Crazy. In addition, my playlists, play counts, and other iTunes metadata is missing from iCloud.

    Apple could have built a much more elegant service whilst requiring no additional storage on their side or bandwidth consumption on the network. All they needed to build was Home Sharing with caching.

    Am I missing something?
  2. kurzz macrumors 6502


    May 18, 2007
    I agree with you 100%. Also a streaming service doesn't have to be exclusive. You would be able to download it if you want to avoid wireless data usage.

    I was really hoping this would be a replacement for other streaming services like Rdio or Mog.:(

    I believe that Apple fell short because a steaming service would probably cost much more in licensing.
  3. Bear macrumors G3

    Jul 23, 2002
    Sol III - Terra
    I'm not sure how feasible all your suggestions are, but what you could do is provide feedback to Apple with your suggestion.

    And then depending on what's feasible between the phone companies and the music companies with all the contracts, they may implement some of what you suggest. And make the suggestion even if you feel sure someone else has. The more people who ask for something gives that something a higher priority.
  4. wharzhee macrumors 6502

    Apr 27, 2010
    how different is that, than jus loading your device with only a "top xx Most Played" playlist?
  5. xStatiCa macrumors regular

    Oct 7, 2009
    100000MB of music is 16666 songs assuming 6mb average size.
    16666 songs is about 1388 albums assuming 12 songs per album.
    1388 x $8 per album is $11,111

    Since you seem to have money for music why not go ahead and subscribe to Pandora or the new Napster which allows streaming. Napster even caches a few songs too like you are wanting. For $11,111 you would be set to stream for the next 93 years.
  6. kurzz macrumors 6502


    May 18, 2007
    Are you naive enough to think he actually bought all that music?
  7. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    Likewise, are you naive enough to think that he ripped all of his music as low-bitrate MP3's?
  8. kurzz, Jun 27, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2011

    kurzz macrumors 6502


    May 18, 2007
    :confused: Where did you get that i thought that? What difference does it make that his collection is all 100mb wave files? What difference is it that all of it is pirated? If it was a streaming service, you'd pay monthly or yearly to access it. Do you think Rdio or Spotify cares if you have a collection of pirated music? They match and tag your music regardless.
  9. abrmecom macrumors newbie

    Apr 26, 2011
    Don't assume anything simple can fix this - or Apple, Google, Microsoft and countless others would already be doing it. Wireless bandwidth is a valuable shared resource which people take for granted. The first time your song stuttered because the guy next to you was making a call you'd get annoyed - and you'd get annoyed with Apple's service - not the wireless operators. For the rest of the discussion ... until the end at least, lets assume bandwidth is constrained and you can't listen to a song "as it streams".

    So who defines the cache size? You, Apple or some "intelligence" in the iPod app? And you can't assume that you can listen to a song which isn't in your cache. You'll need to give the app some notice that you want to listen to it so it can begin the download in the background ... actually let me say that a different way. You (the customer) will assume you can listen to someone thing not in your cache. Apple will know you can't - but Apple would get the blame. Now if you're listening to a playlist in order, there is probably something smart which can be done to get the songs "just-in-time", but for random music it's not so easy.

    A good point well made.

    Why Crazy? With your Cache version, the tool will automatically download some songs you probably don't want to listen to in order to pre-fill the Cache. Then when you want to listen to a song which isn't there they will randomly delete a song to make room for the one which is downloading while telling you you'll have to wait. Wouldn't it be better if they let you manage that? At least until they are sure they can make it all "just work" automatically.

    What makes you think that? iCloud allows developers to store application data on the cloud. The iPod app and iTunes are just 'apps' so why wouldn't they share data, playlists, EQ settings etc. on the cloud like others developers will? The music service is just a massive data store, it's not iTunes.

    The point I'm trying to make is that i think Apple are working towards what you're asking for. Apple only builds things that "just work". So until they can guarantee that everyone using the service will be able to listen to music as it downloads without stuttering they can't do it ... yet.

    But it i was Mr Jobs .... and i wanted to build what you're asking for, but couldn't - i'd damn sure want to get something in place now so that i could do once the wireless communications technology caught up. And what would that something look like? ... iCloud ...
  10. Macwick thread starter macrumors 6502

    Dec 9, 2008
    You make some very valid points (and thanks for the thoughtful reply). However most/all of your points come back to a single proposition - that 3G networks are too slow to allow streaming of music. I can tell you I use Pandora for several hours a day over 3G (usually driving 65mph), and I have not ONCE had it stutter. I'm not saying you don't have a point - I live in the DC area and I know 3G coverage is still spotty in much of the country, but I think it would actually be a rock-solid experience for the major 3G markets (and Wifi).

    Same question back to you - just because iCloud is a platform, what makes you think Apple is going to enable syncing of playlists, etc.? By that argument, iCloud can perform any computing task ever imagined simply because it is a platform.

    I hope you're right, and you're correct that Apple does eventually seem to get these things right. I just think they missed an opportunity here and it wouldn't have been any harder to build/deploy.

    One other point to consider - if you ignore iTunes Match, what did they really introduce with iCloud music storage? They allowed you to open iTunes and download a song you already paid for. Prior to this you could already buy/download songs from iTunes over 3G. Literally the only new feature is that iTunes recognizes you've already paid for the song. That's the major innovation of their new cloud service?

Share This Page