Huge support from content providers will give Apple's new iCloud service an edge over the competition, while the iPhone 4 will go through a slight revamp this year, followed by a 4G iPhone 5 next year.
Those are some of the thoughts shared by J.P. Morgan analyst Mark Moskowitz in an investor's note released just ahead of the opening of Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) today.
Apple last week already revealed that it would be talking about iCloud, its new cloud-based service, at WWDC. With news that Apple has already signed up several top record companies as partners, Moskowitz believes that iCloud will be unveiled this week with much greater support from content providers--music, film, and TV studios--giving it an advantage over similar cloud-based services recently launched by Amazon and Google.
The analyst expects iCloud to build off Apple's MobileMe platform and provide users with a way to stream content purchased from iTunes directly to their mobile devices without having to first sync through their PCs.
Moskowitz also sees iCloud as a game changer in the way consumers think of storage. As Apple and other industry players move users more toward the cloud, it could pave the way for PC makers to gravitate further toward smaller-capacity SSDs (solid-state drives) rather than the bulkier hard drives typically found on most computers these days.
"If iCloud serves as primary storage for this data, then the PC's internal storage will not require as much capacity, particularly in notebook PCs," the analyst said.
Looking beyond iCloud to the iPhone, there's been much speculation as to when Apple would release a new iPhone and what form it might take. Moskowitz's take? Apple will refresh the iPhone later this summer as an iPhone "4 plus," with some improvements but no major changes. But 2012 will see a 4G LTE iPhone 5 once the networks mature a bit further and the 4G technology itself becomes less of a drag on battery consumption.