Preview at WWDC likely in June, followed by September launch.
New Time Capsules Rather Than Apple's Servers to Act as Hub for iCloud Data Syncing?
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.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.
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."
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.