New Time Capsules Rather Than Apple's Servers to Act as Hub for iCloud Data Syncing?

time capsule leap forward
Cult of Mac reports that it has received information indicating that revamped versions of Apple's Time Capsule wireless router/hard drive combination will serve as the hub for iCloud data syncing, with data stored directly on the device rather than on Apple's servers.

Our source didn't have any information about the hardware, but detailed how the Home Folder access system works. Files saved on your computer are backed up instantly to Time Capsule, which makes them available to remote Macs and iOS devices.

If you make any changes on any computer, those changes are updated through iCloud and stored on your Time Capsule. The Time Capsule archives and serves up your files even when your computers are off. When you get home and fire up your desktop computer or laptop, the files are automatically synced across your devices.

This service will also allow you to upload photos and videos from your iPhone or iPad to your Time Capsule. The media will be stored on the device and be made available for other devices to sync. iCloud is the "conduit" through which everything moves, the source said.

"Your computer gets backed up to Time Capsule anyways," said the source. "Now it'll serve up your content when you want it, where you want it, right there on your iOS device."

The source reports that this implementation of a local iCloud is "fully baked" and ready for deployment in future versions of Mac OS X and iOS, although there has been no hint of the functionality in developer seeds of Mac OS X Lion seen thus far. It is also unclear how such a system would integrate with the iCloud music streaming service, as a number of reports in the mainstream media suggested more of a true cloud-based system for that aspect of things, with Apple able to scan users' iTunes libraries and simply provide streaming access to those tracks from any device connected to the user's iCloud.

As noted by MyService, Apple's idea of a local cloud network dates back twenty years, with Steve Jobs having detailed some of the advantages of such a setup during a Q&A session at WWDC in 1997. (Discussion begins at around 13:10 mark.)


Cult of Mac's claims harken back to a report from The Loop's Jim Dalrymple back in mid-February in which he claimed that cloud-based strategy for a revamped MobileMe would in fact be focused on streaming data from users' machines rather hosting it directly on Apple's servers. A local cloud stored on a Time Capsule device would seem to be a middle-of-the-road solution offering much of what Dalrymple proposed while avoiding the need to keep a source computer awake and running for the service to function.

We'll certainly be learning more about iCloud tomorrow as Steve Jobs takes the stage for the keynote at this year's Worldwide Developers Conference at 10:00 AM Pacific Time / 1:00 PM Eastern Time. MacRumors will be providing live coverage of the keynote via MacRumorsLive and Twitter.

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Top Rated Comments

Wurm5150 Avatar
169 months ago
FAIL! If iCloud requires everyone to buy Time Capsule for it to work..
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
VaatiKaiba Avatar
169 months ago
Forgive me if I'm wrong and being silly, but why are new TCs needed for this? Couldn't this be implemented through a software update on older models?

And doesn't this sound more like 'Back to my Time Capsule' instead of iCloud?
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
klrobinson999 Avatar
169 months ago
It's going to fail if people have to buy yet another component.

From a tech perspective it does seem ideal: localized cloud storage, backed-up to the web, accessible without the need for any other device to be running (such as the need to have your Mac powered up to access your iTunes library on the Apple TV). Throw in the fact that you'll be able to access that Time Capsule from anywhere and on any 3G or Wi-Fi network (assumed), and you've got a winner.

However, people will scoff at having to purchase another device. They better make it $99 if the want to sell any.

Will they eliminate Airport Extremes altogether and just offer one combo Time Capsule wireless access point/backup storage device? Since this is a completely new endeavor - a web-based personal server - I assume the product may get a new name.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ivladster Avatar
169 months ago
uh

I hope you can plug a hard drive to AirPort Extreme and have an iCloud too. Really don't want to buy another router just for this.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
stridemat Avatar
169 months ago
The Time Capsule as your own personal server. It's been waiting to do this since it was introduced.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Gregintosh Avatar
169 months ago
I think this setup involving a TC to make things faster/smoother on the LOCAL NETWORK ONLY is genius.

If I want to play some music or movies via iCloud that I have stored in my home folder, I could stream them right off my own network so its faster and doesn't eat up my bandwidth cap.

But everything still needs to be really in the cloud too. What if I am a traveling sales person and my router at home shuts off for some reason, the HD fails, or another problem arises. I still need access to my files.

Plus, I bet Apple's servers will have much better upload speeds than my connection, so accessing "iCloud" on the go is going to be terrible unless I am getting the files off of Apple's servers.

And what if someone breaks into my house and steals my TC or there's a fire and it's destroyed. I have just lost all my files. That means I would need another backup solution. For me, the whole point of a cloud solution is so that I don't need to worry about losing my files again, which again the TC-only setup would fail at.

Now if iCloud is smart enough to figure out when I am at home and thus use my local storage (TC) or if I am outside and therefore use Apple's own servers, and it can do so seamlessly, now that's an improvement over DropBox and any other Cloud service.

At that point, Synching is not going to be an issue at home at all, since local speeds are super fast. And by the time I hit the road, I am sure that TC would have uploaded all the files in the background by then to the real iCloud.

So if this whole TC thing is that if you have a new one, it will make iCloud EVEN BETTER, then it's GENIUS.

If this whole TC thing IS the iCloud and you must have it on to share your files at all times, then its an EPIC FAIL.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)