My Notes From Apple's WWDC Announcements


OS X Mavericks


iOS 7

iTunes Radio

  • Build your own playlist on any Apple device (Mac, AppleTV, iPhone, iPad)
  • The more music you listen to whether it is music you own, download or just play, stations will build around those selections intelligently.
  • Define your own rules such as "New station from song", "New station from artist", and a slider bar that allows you to tune between Top Hits, Mix, or Discovery.
  • Completely integrates with Siri.
  • Purchase songs for download directly into your collection.
  • If you subscribe to iTunes Match, then iTunes Radio is ad-free.
  • Station history is stored in iCloud and synced across devices.


New MacBook Airs - I noticed on Apple Store, that you can now configure a 13" MacBook Air with a 1.7Ghz processor, 8GB RAM and a 512GB SSD for $1849.

New Mac Pro (holy shit)

  • My next computer.

New Airport Extreme

  • Perfect timing for our new house for when I network everything.

Complimentary articles from reputable sites:

The Wirecutter's brief rundown of Apple's announcements.

MacStories Numbers Roudup

WWDC 2012: The News

WWDC 2012
Watch the video from the keynote. Well, that was exciting. Now that the WWDC Keynote has concluded, Apple has now revealed what they've been working on lately and was ready to release to consumers (or at least developers). Here is a rundown of the basics. I'm sure you can get much more detailed coverage from your normal sources:

The Hardware

MacBook Air:

  • New Ivy Bridge Intel-based CPUs up to 2Ghz, dual-core i5. Turbo boosts to 3.2Ghz
  • Up to 8GB RAM
  • 60% faster graphics
  • Up to 512GB SSDs
  • USB 3.0
  • Factime Camera now 720p
  • Prices have decreased - 11" $999 & $1099, 13" $1199 & $1499

    MacBook Pros:

  • New Ivy Bridge Intel-based CPUs up to 2,7Ghz quad-core i7. Turbo boost to 3.7Ghz

  • Up to 8GB RAM
  • 60% faster graphics - GeForce GT 650M, Kepler architecture. Up to 1GB video RAM.
  • USB 3.0
  • Prices the same - 13" is $1199 & $1499, 15" is 1799 & $2199

    Next Generation MacBook Pro:

  • Ridiculously thin (.71 inches thin) - 25% thinner.

  • Retina display - 2880 x 1800, 220 ppi. 15.4 inches. (5,184,000 pixels)
  • 4.46 pounds - lightest MBP ever - lighter than a 13" MBP
  • Glare/reflection reduced by 75%
  • Battery life - up to 7 hours, 30 days of standby.
  • HDMI port
  • Up to 768GB SSD flash storage
  • Up to 16GB RAM
  • Using the new nVidia Keplet GPUs
  • Quad-core i7 Ivy Bridge Intel CPUs
  • Ports - SD Card, HDMI, two USB3, Magsafe 2, two Thunderbolt ports, headphone jack.
  • Backlit Keyboard
  • BlueTooth 4.0
  • FaceTime HD Camera
  • 802.11 N
  • Dual microphones (uses beam-forming to enable a new generation of voice applications)
  • No built-in Ethernet (see adapters below)
  • No built-in optical drive (why need it?)
  • Price is $2199 for the base model. Two new Thunderbolt Adapters:
  • Thunderbolt to FireWire 800
  • Thunderbolt to Gigabit Ethernet

    Mountain Lion

  • Over 200 new feartures

  • Highlighted in the keynote: iCloud, Messages, Reminders, Notes, Documents in the Cloud, Dictation, Notifcation Center, Sharing Services, new Safari (synced tabs, unified address/search bar, tab view gestures, fastest javascript engine, share sheets), Power Nap (fetches email, reminders, calendar updates, the background while asleep, Time Machine backups, auto Software Update), AirPlay, and Game Center.
  • Ships in July for $19.99
  • Developers get the Gold Master release today (Apple called it "near final" on stage).

    iOS 6

  • Lots of new Siri improvements: Sports info, Restaurants (Yelp & Open Table), now launches apps, "Eyes Free" (working with various car manufacturers to have built-in Siri integration with their cars), lots of new international languages (including local search for these countries).

  • Siri coming to the iPad
  • Facebook Integration - just like Twitter in iOS 5. Photos app, Safari, Maps, Came Center, iTunes Store, App Store (you can like apps or see what people have liked), Notifcation Center posting (Twitter also gets notification center posting), Contacts (Contacts data within Facebook will show up in Contacts app).
  • Phone app (messaging/reminders options to incoming calls).
  • Notification center: Do not disturb feature
  • FaceTime over 3G/4G
  • Unify Apple IDs with your phone #.
  • Safari: iCloud Tabs, photo uploads, smart app banners
  • Shared Photo Streams: Easy way to share photos with other people.
  • Mail: VIPs, add photos & video from compose window, pull to refresh.
  • Passbook: OS integration of movie ticket, starbucks card, plane ticket type apps. Makes it easy to find your tickets for various things within apps.
  • Accessibility: enhanced features to benefit autistic kids (kickass Apple), single app-mode (allows teachers, for instance, to lock an app preventing the home buttom from being used).
  • Maps: Local Search(Yelp integration), Traffic Service (pools data from other iOS users), Turn-by-turn navigation (routes you around traffic, can display on lock screen for mountin in a car while driving), Siri integration, Flyover (3D views).
  • Beta 1 released to developers today.

    Post-keynote Update: Mac Pros

Not that big of an update. Disappointing. No USB 3, no Thunderbolt. Mac Stories has a good rundown of new vs old.

WWDC 2012 Rumor Roundup: iOS 6, Mountain Lion, iCloud and Macs

Arnold Kim, at Macrumors:

With Apple appearing to have a full slate of announcements lined up for its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) keynote on Monday, we're offering this roundup to summarize a number of the high-profile rumors that have been circulating ahead of the event. Arnold has done an excellent job of compiling together all of the rumors that have been floating around over the last several months. He does a good job laying out the more or less credible ones too. I for one am hoping for new Mac Pros, and an iOS 6 Beta… Happy Keynote Day everyone.


John Gruber writing at Daring Fireball:

This is a fundamentally different vision for the coming decade than Google’s. In both cases, your data is in the cloud, and you can access it from anywhere with a network connection. But Google’s vision is about software you run in a web browser. Apple’s is about native apps you run on devices. Apple is as committed to native apps — on the desktop, tablet, and handheld — as it has ever been. Google’s frame is the browser window. Apple’s frame is the screen. That’s what we’ll remember about today’s keynote ten years from now. I think John has the best "big picture" take on yesterday's announcements.

Apple Unveils Lion, iOS 5 and iCloud

Today Apple's World Wide Developer Conference Keynote happened after much anticipation

OS X Lion 10.7

Apple started the Keynote by having Phil Schiller and Craig Federighi up on stage to talk about Lion. Schiller said that there are now over 54 million active Mac users in the world. The Mac has outgrown the PC industry every quarter for the past 5 years. The PC market shrank year over year by 1% while the Mac grew 28%. Mac sales are 73% notebooks and 27% desktops. Out of the 250 new features coming to the Mac in OS X 10.7 Lion, they covered 10 new features. 1. Multitouch gestures (on a notebook trackpad or Magic trackpad for desktops) - fully integrated across the system, especially with Launchpad and Mission Control. I have used the new Multitouch gestures on Lion for some months now as a part of the developer preview. Unlike previous gestures, I can attest that these feel natural to use and I like them allot. 2. Full screen apps - They become their own spaces when you maximize them. In a full scree maximized Photobooth, they demoed the new facial tracking special effects in Photo Booth. 3. Mission Control - evolutionary iteration of Spaces, Dashboard & Expose. It will take you a week to get used to, but if you are a heavy Expose or Spaces user like myself, you will GREATLY appreciate Mission Control. It is indispensable if you have 5 or more apps open with a dozen windows. Think Expose and Spaces melded together on steroids. 4. Mac App Store - Nothing new here except to say that the Mac App Store is now the #1 place on the web for buying software. More so than Best Buy, Walmart and Office Depot. 5. Launchpad - Bringing the springboard layout of app icons that users are used to on their iPhones and iPads to the desktop. You can organize apps into folders just like on your iOS devices. You can also uninstall these apps in this same way. 6. Resume - Applications pick up where you left off the last time you closed them. This is a system-wide feature that works across all apps. Resume does this by using the new feature... 7. Auto Save - Auto Save does just what you think it does. It automatically saves documents you're working on as you work on them. It does this in the background without you having to do anything. The name of your document is now a menu. Click on it and you can revert to the last opened version to get back to where you were. Which brings us to... 8. Versions - This is a version control system that allows the user to revert back to old versions of a file in the Auto Save timeline. Auto Save saves all these versions of your document as you're working. You can also take manual snapshots if you so choose. It is very efficient, storing only the differences. If you share a file, it only sends the current version. There is a menu item called "Browse All Versions" which accesses a Time Machine-like interface, showing you all your versions stretching back into space. All of this is done live; you can make any version change to the current one, even copy & pasting between them. 9. AirDrop - A peer to peer file sharing utility. Works on a local network and allows you to see all users in your vicinity. Drag and drop interface to drop a file on the icon of a user. The user on the other end is prompted to accept or decline the file. The file is sent to the user's Download folder. Works via auto discovery with no setup. Transfers are fully encrypted. 10. Updated Mail app - New two or three column view (user preference). It looks a lot like iOS Mail on the iPad (without the Popover, thank god). Very powerful search suggestions which benefits users with a lot of mail. Conversation view: message threads, seeing all the indents with color coding, attachments, etc. It looks nice and I think a much needed improvement over the old Mail app. Lion will have over 3000 new APIs for developers. Versions, push notifications, gesture tracking, etc. Lion will be available by the Mac App Store only for $29 in July. A updated Developer Preview will be made available today for developers.

iOS 5

After Craig and Phil wrap up the Lion news, Scot Forstall takes the stage to talk about iOS. He starts off with the usual stats briefing. To date, Apple has sold over 200 million iOS devices. They've sold 25 million iPads in the first 14 months (the previous iPad number was 19.4 million, so they've sold 5 million iPads in the last 3 months). The iTunes store has sold more than 15 billion songs. The iBookstore has sold over 130 million books There are 425,000 apps on the app store with over 90,000 of them specifically made for the iPad. Apple has paid out more the $2.5 billion to developers as part of their profit share. The iTunes store had more than 225 million accounts with credit cards tied to them. Forstall then overviews iOS 5. iOS 5 has over 200 new features and Scott covered 10 in the keynote. 1. Notifications Center - A single place which combines all your notifications. You can get to it at any time from anywhere, just by swiping your finger down from the menu on the top. A nice little screen comes down showing things like missed calls, voicemails, text messages, push notifications, etc. Notifications no longer interrupt you. 2. Newsstand - A single place in the App Store that combines all newspapers and magazines. Automatically downloads new issues in the background. 3. Twitter - Single sign-on. Now when you go to Settings app you can enter your username and password, and you're configured for Twitter. You no longer need to login for every app. Twitter is integrated into the Camera and Photo apps. You can take a picture, tap and action button and Tweet it. You can also tweet artciles & Web sites from Safari. Videos from youtube, and business/locations from Maps. It integrates with Contacts. You can use Twitter to automatically update Photos in your contact list and even the @username. 4. Safari - Adding an iOS version of Safari Reader which made it to Safari last year. Basically Apple's version of Readability which strips down a webpage to make it easier to read. This comes with a Reading List which syncs with Safari on your Mac and Windows. It works similarly to Instapaper. Fully tabbed Browsing on the iPad. 5. Reminders - Basically a to do list type feature that allows you to keep multiple lists, dates, locations, it allows you to setup reminders based on your arriving or leaving from a location. Searchable. Syncs with iCal via CalDav and Outlook on Windows. Out of all of this, that was the most WOW feature for me: using geolocation to tell you to do something when you leave somewhere. 6. Camera - They're adding a shortcut on the lock screen. Double click on the home button to bring it up and then you go directly to the camera. You can use the volume-up button to take a picture (finally!). Gridlines to use the rule of thirds to compose your photos, pinch to zoom within the camera for digital zoom, and you can now specify an auto-focus/auto-exposure lock and then move it around without losing that. Built-in editing of photos: crop, rotate, automatic red-eye reduction, one-click enchange (from iPhoto). 7. Mail - Adding Rich Text Formatting, indentation, dragging addresses between fields, flagging support. Full-text searching, including messages back on a server for iMac/Exchange. Swipe-gesture to inbox on iPad in portait mode. More enterprise support including S/MIME, certification for encryption. 8. PC Free - Users no longer need to own a computer to go into a store, buy an iPad, and take it home and use it (or an iPhone for that matter). You can setup and activate your device right on the device. Software updates over the air, delta-updates (basically smart-updating of just the differences in the software, not having to download the entire image over - should make for faster updates). 9. Game Center - They're adding profiles with photos for users. Compare your stats with your friends using achievement points, see friends of friends, and recommended friends & games. Added support for turn-based games within the OS. 10. iMessage - That sound you hear is RIM dying and the cellphone carriers having a conniption as their SMS sales plans have the rug pulled out from under them. Basically Apple's version of Blackberry messenger. iMessage will allow users to see delivery receipts, read receipts, typing indication. iMessages are pushed to all devices. Start up a conversation on your iPad and continue it on your iPhone. Everything is encrypted. Bye bye SMS messages. This is huge. Two other huge features he mentioned at the end are iPad mirroring to the Apple TV wirelessly and wireless syncing to iTunes over Wifi. No longer need to dock your iPad or iPhone to your computer to sync. This is huge. iOS 5 developer preview available to all developers today. iOS 5 will ship to all customers this fall. Probably with the iPhone 5 release. Will be available on iPhone 3GS, 4, iPad, iPad 2, and third and fourth generation iPod Touches. At this point in the keynote, Scott Forstall wraps up and Steve Jobs came back on stage to talk about iCloud.


iCloud will be a way to sync all of your devices together. From the desktop to mobile. iCloud stores your content in the cloud and wirelessly sends it to all your devices. It is completely integrated with your apps. Steve said, "It just works". Steve then trashes MobileMe, "Why should I believe Apple, they're the ones who brought me MobileMe?". MobileMe used to be mainly Contacts, Calendars (and Calendar sharing), & Mail. As of today, MobileMe ceases to exist and is no longer $99, but is now free. The new apps their adding to this suite are App Store, * App Store - Now allows you to see your purchases across all devices, with a purchase history (similar to the Mac App Store). * Books - Syncs your read states amongst your iBooks across all devices. * Wireless Backup - Once daily it snapshots the system to iCloud. Daily backups to iCloud over Wifi. Backs up music, apps, books, camera roll, device settings, and app data. * Documents - Syncs documents between Pages, Numbers and Keynote across all your devices. APIs for developers to use with their apps too. * Photos Stream - Syncs your photo camera roll across all devices. Take a photo with your iPhone and it is available to view on your iPad. Also built-in to Apple TV. Stores the last 1000 photos. If you want to keep one permanently, just move it into an album. * iTunes in the Cloud - All music purchases and synced and made available on all devices. Now works with 10 devices, not just 5. 5GB of free storage for Mail, Documents, and Backup. It's even more than it sounds like, because it doesn't count against purchased music, apps and books. They also don't count Photo Stream. The developer beta will be out today. End users will get the iTunes in the Cloud as an iOS 4.3 beta and everyone can run it on existing iPhone 4s. iCloud is free. It will ship this fall with iOS 5 this fall.

One More Thing... iTunes Match.

Jobs then broke the 'One More Thing' news: iTunes Match. It scans non-iTunes purchased music and matches it up with songs in the Store. It gives that music the same benefits as music purchased from iTunes. Takes just minutes, not weeks. No file uploads - just verified the music fingerprint. You upload only songs Apple can't identify. It upgrades songs to 256kbps AAC DRM-free. It costs $25 a year. Jobs, "If you have 5000 songs, Amazon Cloud charges $50. We're one flat $25 even for 20,000 songs". That's it. Overall, lots of huge announcements. And thank god none of it has anything to do with a Time Capsule. Update: Apple now has the product pages for these products up. iCloud iOS 5 Lion In particular, this page contains a comprehensive list of 250+ features coming in Lion.

WWDC Predictions Roundup & My Own Predictions

Tomorrow at 1:00 PM EST Steve Jobs takes the stage to unveil the details of Lion, iOS 5, and iCloud. This past week I wrote about how there were rumors that Twitter would be integrated deeply into iOS 5. Since I commented on those links, Robert Scoble claimed to have confirmation on this very topic. According to his Tweets on the matter, he appeared excited. Not sure how much stock I put into Scoble, as he is easily excitable, but he's right as often as he is wrong. We'll see I guess. Yesterday, Leander Kahney wrote for Cult of Mac:

When Apple reveals iCloud at WWDC on Monday, it’ll have the kind of impact the iPod has had, predicts Kevin Fox, a Silicon Valley software veteran who’s worked at Apple, Yahoo and Google. “The rumblings are huge,” says Fox, lead designer at Mozilla. Fox worked on Newton software before designing Yahoo’s chat service and then software for Google (including Gmail 1.0, Google Calendar 1.0, and Google Reader 2.0). He continues:

... given the complete failure of MobileMe over the last decade there’s no way Apple would introduce iCloud] on such a pedestal unless it’s incredible. My guess is that iCloud is to MobileMe as iPhone was to Newton: a complete, deep, polished solution after an underwhelming market failure. Leander was quoting from a post that Fox [wrote on his blog, I wont repost his long list of potential features as they aren't exactly predictions, but just things he's hoping to see. Go read them yourself. The latest supposed "exclusive" source was also reported by Leader Kahney at 4:33 am this morning. Before I go into what Leander posted this morning, I wish to link to this snippet John Gruber posted last week: New Airport Extreme and Time Capsule? Seth Weintraub: Our sources noted that Airport Express has been plentiful but supplies of TimeCapsule and Airport Extreme have been tightening globally the way products usually do before a refresh. What we do know is that Apple has been internally testing Time Capsules to cache Software Updates for both Mac and iOS devices. The way we’ve heard it works is that the new Time Capsule learns which devices connect to it via Wi-Fi. It then goes out to Apple’s servers and downloads Software Updates for those products. There might be something to this. What if this is a way for iOS devices to do software updates without being tethered to a Mac or PC — including device backups, synced when the device is charging? From John's commentary, I can't tell whether he has heard these same rumors himself and he is skeptical about them or if it's the first time he's hearing of them to. Whether this bit of information is right or wrong, I find it interesting that it mentions the Time Capsule. Now, to come back to Leander's "exclusive" post referenced above: In addition, it’s rumored that Apple’s wireless Time Capsule backup/router will get a big update. Here’s how iCloud and the new Time Capsule will work, according to a source close to the company who asked not be identified. It’s pretty surprising: According to the source, Apple has developed a system to make users’ Time Machine backups available through its new iCloud service. This is the “Home Folder” access concept that we’ve detailed before (how it will be accessed using NFC iPhones and the role of the Mac App Store). All your files and data — pictures, videos, Word and Excel documents, and so on — will be available anytime, anywhere, on both Mac OS X and iOS devices. The surprising thing is, iCloud won’t be fed through Apple’s massive new data center in North Carolina, as you might expect. Instead, the system will be based on Time Capsule, Apple’s wireless router and hard drive backup that’s currently sold in 1TB and 2TB versions. As rumored, Time Capsule will be updated, becoming less of a local backup and more of a personal cloud server, like the newer souped-up NAS (Network Attached Storage) drives from companies like Iomega (we reviewed one here). The new Time Capsule is rumored to run on iOS and come with embedded A4 or A5 CPUs. ... The source said it will be added to future versions of OS X and iOS — but they didn’t know which versions of OS X and iOS. There appears to be no sign of it in beta releases of Lion, which has been available to developers for months. Apple has kept iOS 5 under tight wraps, and it may be ready for this system. The article continues on explaining more details that aren't really newsworthy, but later on he updates the article to include: Actually, it looks like the technology is already built into Lion. The Auto Save, Versions and Resume features in Lion look an awful lot like a smart file-management system designed for the cloud, resembling the way iOS and Google Docs save and manage multiple versions of documents. In addition, Time Machine in Lion is tightly integrated with Versions, making it more of a realtime backup system. “… Versions] also appears to be used to make Time Machine much faster to open, as the Time Machine user interface can now access local snapshots take between remote backups, a sort of ‘instant Time Machine.’” See AppleInsider: Inside Mac OS X 10.7 Lion: Auto Save, File Versions and Time Machine I hope that his source is wrong. I was looking for a system that phones home to a server that Apple maintains for me. I do not wish to have to run a Time Capsule in my own home and be reliant on that for iCloud. Still though, Gruber's rumblings about Time Capsule and this mention of Time Capsule all in the span of one week... Where there is smoke, there is fire. Now, as I was keying this post, Gruber posted his typical WWDC-eve post with his 'official' predictions, or non-predictions. [John Gruber on Daring Fireball:

WWDC 2011 Prelude


If I were to publish everything I know regarding tomorrow’s announcements, it would be a short and decidedly unsensational article. What I know are a handful of minor features at the edges. The big picture regarding iOS 5 and iCloud — and how the two interrelate — is an utter mystery to me. These things have been as well-kept secrets as any major projects from Apple in recent years. iCloud’s expected music storage has of course leaked, but that’s almost certainly the inevitable result of Apple’s dealings with the music labels. Music storage is a feature of iCloud; iCloud is not a music service.


The italicized sentence that follows is fourth-hand information, at best, and also the sort of thing that many of you might have already guessed based merely on your own hunches and hopes. But here goes: Don’t think of iCloud as the new MobileMe; think of iCloud as the new iTunes. Syncing data between devices tends to work best when there’s a canonical store. I.e. with Dropbox, you might have three, four, five devices syncing data on the same account. The canonical central store, however, is Dropbox’s cloud-based server. With iPhones, iPods, and iPads, the central store for almost all data stored on the devices is iTunes running on your Mac or PC. With iCloud, that should shift to the cloud. iTunes, the desktop app, currently syncs the following things with iOS devices: audio, movies and TV shows, iBooks e-books, App Store apps, contacts, calendars, bookmarks, notes, and any sort of files shared between iOS apps. All of these things would be better served syncing over-the-air via the so-called cloud. Gruber continues on, and you really should go read his entire piece, but I think the most important parts of what he wrote are quoted above. For what it's worth, I'll give my opinions, which are by no means backed by any sources of my own. In no particular order: 1. I think OS X Lion GM seed will be released to developers. It will be released as soon as June 14th but no later than June 28 to the public. 2. iOS 5 Developer Preview 1 will be released to developers. 3. I could maybe see iCloud DP1 being made available but has Apple ever released a developer preview of a web based app before other than the beta versions of Mobile Me Calendar & Mail last summer? Those didn't have APIs associated with them though. It seems like me they would need to preview them if they wanted developers to build them into their apps and test them though. This one is a big maybe. 4. Some sort of Twitter integration with iOS 5. Not sure if it will be a very simple share-your-photo-on-twitter menu item on the Send Menu in the Photos app or what. It could be "huge" as Scoble says. 5. iOS 5 / Lion / iCloud integration. Deep. I think iCloud needs to have this to avoid become just another Mobile Me iteration. 6. No hardware (of course). Just wanted to remind anyone who hasn't gotten the memo yet. 7. I have a hard time believing any of the Time Capsule related rumors. By locking iCloud into Time Capsule I feel Apple would be making a big mistake. I truly hope this is not the case. 8. iCloud will have some sort of streaming music component. 9. iOS 5 will have a revamped notifications system. I feel there will be much disappointment if it doesn't. I think Apple is well aware of this. 10. Improved interface for accessing, organizing, and viewing apps in iOS 5. Gruber makes a very good point. Folders helped alleviate this pain but it was akin to putting a bandaid on a compound fracture. Power users need a better solution and considering just how many apps are downloaded by all iOS users, not just the geeks are power users these days. I'm sure there will be much more news tomorrow than these 10 points I have listed here, but these 10 items are the ones I feel most confident about. Numbers 3, 7, and 10 are the ones I doubt the most, but I left them in there anyway.

Twitter's New Photo-Sharing Service To Get iOS 5 Integration

MG Siegler writing for Techcrunch:

We’ve heard from multiple sources that Twitter is likely to have a big-time partner for such a service: Apple. Specifically, we’re hearing that Apple’s new iOS 5 will come with an option to share images to Twitter baked into the OS. This would be similar to the way you can currently share videos on YouTube with one click in iOS. Obviously, a user would have to enable this feature by logging in with their Twitter credentials in iOS. There would then be a “Send to Twitter” option for pictures stored on your device. John Gruber, on Daring Fireball: So close to the bigger story, but yet so far. Imagine what else the system could provide if your Twitter account was a system-level service. Perhaps this whole OAuth/XAuth issue is about to become null & void for 3rd party client developers?

Apple Secures Deals With All Four Labels For iCloud

Yukari Iwatani Kane and Ethan Smith writing for the Wall Street Journal:

Apple Inc. has reached terms with major recorded-music companies to allow it to launch a digital locker service that would be more robust than those currently offered by Google Inc. and Inc., according to people familiar with the matter. According to these people, deals with three labels have been completed, and the fourth, with Vivendi SA's Universal Music Group, is likely to be signed this week. Apple has signed deals with Warner Music Group Corp., Sony Corp.'s Sony Music Entertainment and EMI Group Ltd. Being out ahead of Amazon and Google to sign all four major labels is huge for Apple. This will allow Apple's music locker to be an 'active' one rather than a passive one. The current way Amazon and Google's services work is you must manually upload music to their services in order for you to stream it later. These deals could conceivably allow Apple to scan a list of all your music in iTunes, and simply make all of that music available on iCloud without you having to manually upload your music. This will make it much more painless to adopt. I'm sure these contracts will allow Apple to do other things as well that Amazon and Google aren't able to do legally.