Late last year I predicted 2011 would be the year of the cloud for Apple, and so far I've been right. I said OS X Lion would be sold via the App Store, and it certainly will. Here's the other part of Apple's cloud strategy: the company is reportedly looking to use the cloud for iTunes, not as a streaming service, but as "insurance," a sort of backup system for the music you already own and have downloaded to your own computer. Specifics are vague; it's not clear how much this would cost or exactly how this would work, and obviously Apple is keeping it all under wraps until it's ready to announce the service completely.
The signs are there: MobileMe is reportedly going online-only, the North Carolina data center is about to come online, and Apple seems primed to introduce a service which would connect your media (and possibly even your contacts and other downloads) across all of your iOS and Mac devices, accessible from any device wherever you happen to have it. I'd bet such a service will be online by the end of this year. We'll have to see what comes of this, but we certainly seem closer than ever to Apple introducing some connection to the cloud in iTunes.