Once upon a time I used to look up at the clouds in the sky and think how wistful and beautiful they were. Now, I look up at those same (ish) clouds and contemplate wireless interactivity and centralized storage. Much less romantic, but entirely more practical. Nonetheless, Amazon has put their foot in the way of a door that was being closed by iTunes by releasing their Cloud Player for iOS devices.
Unfortunately, there is no native iPad version of this app (yet), but it does represent solid and meaningful competition against iTunes and Apple for ‘music in the cloud’ market share.
For those living under a rock and not familiar with the concept of storing your music ‘in the cloud’, the concept is simple: pick a service (iCloud or Amazon Cloud Drive as two examples, but there are others) and upload your entire music collection for your listening enjoyment anywhere at any time. Each one does things a little bit differently with respect to how things are done and gives you a varying amount of storage (with music purchased from their respective stores being housed without concern for storage space of course).
With Amazon, you get 5GB of storage for free –the rest will cost you (though any paid plan will give you unlimited music storage, so it won’t hurt the wallet all that much), but that averages out to about 1000 songs so that should cover the average user.
The Amazon Cloud player is a game changer because it offers many (if not all) of the same benefits that iTunes gives you (straight from your iOS device). Not only can you stream your cloud-stored music, but you can also download your tunes for offline listening (without a Wi-Fi or mobile network needed). Other features allow you to create and edit playlists, play music in the background (controlled via the lockscreen) or stream to outside sources like your home theater system or car stereo using Bluetooth.
So accepting that the app is full-featured and well-functioning, and knowing that Amazon’s service is competitive and highly-ranked… why wouldn’t they have released a version of their new app especially for the iPad? Are they testing the waters to see how many consumers are interested? Are they trying to keep a little something for Kindle Fire users that isn’t there for iPad users?
I think it’s safe to assume that it is coming. Just like Google, Amazon isn’t likely to want to turn down a revenue stream –and if they can get iOS users on board with their service, it becomes that much easier (though don’t mistake that I am saying it will be -easy-) to sway them away to their platform and hardware devices (if they have one less reason to remain loyal to Apple).
I think it is also safe to assume that Apple will be paying close attention to the functionality of this app as well as the number of downloads it receives.
The Amazon Cloud Player can be downloaded for free from the App Store.