Apple iOS Adds Amazon Cloud Player Support

iOS devices now support Amazon’s cloud music service, amid rumours that Apple is to launch its own ‘iCloud’

Apple’s iOS now apparently supports Amazon’s cloud-based music service.

Specifically, Amazon’s Cloud Player now works when used on the iOS version of Safari. “You’ll first hit a warning page telling you that your browser is not supported, but just ignore that,” reads a note posted on 7 May by the blog TechCrunch. “Click into the music in your drive, and it will begin playing. It works flawlessly.”

Apple ‘iCloud’?

Support for Amazon’s cloud service comes despite growing rumours that Apple will launch its own “iCloud”, which could act as an online storage locker for music, movies and other media. In addition to a recent job posting for a “Cloud Systems Software Engineer”, the company has constructed a massive data centre in North Carolina that will reportedly help in its future cloud efforts. Digital Daily reported on 29 April that Apple had bought the iCloud domain name from Xcerion, a Swedish hybrid-cloud vendor, reportedly paying some $4.5m (£2.8m).

French website recently reported references to a “Castle” service, which could be the code name for iCloud, in a build of Mac OS X 10.7 “Lion”, the next version of the Mac OS. A sample screen from a 30 April posting suggests an option for users to upgrade from MobileMe, the company’s online storage service.

Amazon launched a web-based music locker on 29 March that allows users to stream tunes over the web on any PC, Mac, Android phone or Android tablet. Music files are stored in AAC or MP3 formats in Amazon S3 (Amazon’s Simple Storage Service), with each file uploaded to Cloud Drive in its original bit rate. Customers get 5GB of free storage to upload their music library to Amazon Cloud Drive, and can save any new Amazon MP3 purchases directly to their Amazon Cloud Drive for free. Enhanced storage plans start at $20 a year for 20GB.

No native iOS application

In addition to Cloud Drive, Amazon’s suite of consumer-cloud services included the Cloud Player for web and Amazon Cloud Player for Android. No native application for iOS currently exists, despite the new functionality with Safari.

Some music companies reacted adversely to Amazon’s move. “We are disappointed that the locker service that Amazon is proposing is unlicensed by Sony Music,” Sony Music Entertainment wrote in a statement. Amazon, however, views itself as a storage provider, and therefore not beholden to such licensing.

Google also has serious designs on music. Along with Amazon, that presents a serious threat to Apple, whose iTunes has exerted considerable influence on how digital music is sold and downloaded. The next version of iOS will reportedly incorporate the cloud into its offerings, but how exactly it will manifest remains to be seen.