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Monday, February 14, 2011, 09:30 am PT (12:30 pm ET)

Apple's new MobileMe cloud will rely on self-storage for streaming - rumor

Rather than providing tens of gigabytes of cloud-based storage for hosting music and other files, Apple's new MobileMe service is likely to rely on the space available on individual users' machines, according to a new report.

The well-sourced Jim Dalrymple at The Loop reported Monday that he believes Apple's new MobileMe will allow cloud syncing and sharing of content, but the actual storage will be hosted on individual users' computers. That runs contrary to some reports which have speculated that Apple will host the files on its own servers — an approach that he called "a bit much."

"Instead of trying to provide everyone with cloud storage, I believe Apple will use MobileMe as the brain of the cloud service," he said. "The actual storage will be on our individual machines. In effect, in the cloud."

He said the system would allow for every song in a user's library to be listed on an iPhone, though only some of them would be saved locally and others would be downloaded from a user's home PC or Mac via iTunes. A similar approach was detailed in a patent application uncovered last week by AppleInsider, which described seamlessly merging cloud content with locally stored files into one library.

"I also believe that MobileMe will be more than about media," he said. "You will also be able to share and sync files and documents in much the same way. If there is a document on your home system that you need, it will always be available to you. Tap on it, and it downloads to your iPhone or iPad."

He also suggested that the service would sync contacts, calendars and other data, and would be compatible with Macs, the iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Windows PCs.

Dalrymple's take is in response to a new report from The Wall Street Journal, which claimed that Apple is looking to revamp MobileMe and make the service serve as a "locker" for content such as music, photos and videos. That approach would "eliminate the need for devices to carry a lot of memory."

The Journal also suggested that MobileMe could become free, a scenario Dalrymple said he believes won't happen. "We may see parts of MobileMe be free," he said, "but there still could be a charge for the main parts of the service."