Tucked in the Wall Street Journal‘s article predicting a smaller, cheaper iPhone is a hint that Apple’s $99-per-year MobileMe cloud storage service may go free by summer 2011, which is traditionally when Apple announces new music-related products and services.
The WSJ says that Apple is “considering” eliminating MobileMe’s pricing structure and turning it into a “locker” for photos, music and videos — essentially the streaming iTunes in the cloud scenario, a rumor that’s been floating around for years. Last year Apple made the “Find My iPhone” app — which has previously been a MobileMe exclusive — free to iOS owners, which is a sign that the company was slowly pushing toward the land of no price tags.
The WSJ sources also claim that social networking will be a big component of MobileMe overhaul. Let’s hope this means Apple has been working on improvements to Ping, the company’s social attempt that received the dubious honor of being NPR’s Worst Idea of 2010. Giving a Ping-integrated MobileMe experience a social makeover could be a great way to introduce e-book lending to iBooks, and perhaps even a subscription-based MP3-lending service, much like Zune’s Social sync.
Now’s the perfect time to make MobileMe free, especially since Google’s attempt at online music, appropriately named Google Music, could be coming any day now.