When Apple acquired Lala, the obvious use for all that local scanning and internet streaming technology would have been to serve up our hard-drive-based iTunes music libraries from the cloud. Here we are though, eight months later, and the only significant impact from the acquisition was the closure of the Lala music service. And it doesn't look like that will change anytime soon. According to an investigative piece by CNET, Apple is telling the big-four music execs that it won't be offering any significant cloud-based music offerings within the next few months. In fact, CNET's sources claim that Apple still hasn't obtained the licenses required to store and distribute music via a cloud-based service. So what's Apple doing with all that Lala talent then? According to CNET, the team has been working on an "undisclosed video feature" instead of music. Additional sources at the major film studios claim that Apple plans to create "digital shelves" this year letting iTunes users store movies and other media on Apple's servers. Hmm, does that sound like Keychest to you?
Naturally, all of this makes sense in light of Apple's plan to open a 500,000 square foot data center (pictured above) in North Carolina later this year at a cost of $1 billion. What better facility to serve up 99 cent streaming TV rentals to a completely overhauled Apple TV in the home, and highly mobile iPad, iPod touch, and iPhone devices on the go. Anecdotally, it's not like Apple's showing too much concern with storage limits on its iOS devices -- the iPhone 4 just launched in the same 16GB and 32GB offerings as the 3GS instead of the typical doubling of flash storage we've come to expect from new iPhone iterations. So really, the question isn't if, it's just a matter of when.