In a patent that was filed by Apple in 2009 (albeit taking a couple of years to be published), touched on the topic of a “partial” media sync system. The idea would bridge a gap between keeping all content locally and complete dependence on streaming – acheiving a delicate balance in the process. Just to get a better idea on how things will work out, imagine iTunes users stashing away the beginning of selected songs locally, while the remainder of the song will remain stashed away on the server. If you decide to play a tune, then what’s left of the song will be streamed in a seamless manner.

This patent clearly shows that Apple has had cloud-based music on their minds for quite some time already, and it has been whispered around that Apple might just roll out such a service (some call it iCloud?), where it ought to offer a media locker of sorts, with streaming yet to be confirmed alongside a probably overhauled MobileMe. While Apple’s iTunes is an untouchable juggernaut in its own right at the moment, the “iCloud” will have its hands full as there are already two players in the arena – Amazon’s Cloud Drive/Player and Google Music.

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