Apple continues to prove itself a leader, not resting on its current success, and quick to adapt to a changing entertainment landscape. As consumers seek a purchase once, play everywhere (POPE) model, businesses have been pushing to centralize content to achieve a successful model. And while Google and others have announced such intentions, Apple seems nimble enough to actually move ahead of them. "Apple Inc has completed work on an online music storage service and is set to launch it ahead of Google Inc, whose own music efforts have stalled, according to several people familiar with both companies' plans."
Obviously the challenge of centralized content is that when the system is down, there is no access. Of course the same holds true when one's own iPod stops working, too. The question is, which model is sturdier and likely to withstand constant use. A centralized approach has perhaps an easier ability to backup and protect it's content and to have secondary means to keep the systems working. "Apple, Amazon and Google are battling for control of new digital media platforms through which everyday users will access their music and videos." It also pushes hard though the WIFI and cellular systems that connect content to device. Apple and others have no control on that piece of the communication puzzle.
But who knows; perhaps, that is the next step in the Apple world. To own a communication company that makes those connections. These vertical businesses are happening in cable. Comcast owning NBC Universal being the latest example. What is stopping Apple from doing the same.