Businessweek cites sources who claim Apple's new digital music service, which many expect to be called iCloud, will quickly scan a user's iTunes library and mirror those songs on the cloud. Users will then be able to stream and listen to those songs on any devices. Interestingly, the sources say that if a user's song isn't encoded in an acceptable quality, Apple will replace the lower-quality song with one that is encoded at a higher quality.
No details of a cost for the service have emerged, but Businessweek speculates the iCloud service may be baked into the US$99 per year MobileMe fee. Apple could also offer monthly subscription plans for the service. An NPD analyst has even told Businessweek that he believes "We will come to a point in the not-so-distant future when we'll look back on the 99-cent download as anachronistic as cassette tapes or 8-tracks."
We know Apple has been actively working to get the big four record labels to license the service (a step that Amazon and Google both skipped), but beyond that, not many hard facts have surfaced. An online streaming service for iTunes has been a perennial rumor, but over the past few months, as more details have emerged, it's looking like the service may be a reality as early as June or July of this year.