By Matthew Dublin
Well, it was bound to happen. Apple has now gotten in on the cloud computing mix with something they're calling the "iCloud" — what else would it be called?
While it's too soon to tell what the iCloud will consist of exactly, Apple's "upcoming cloud service offering" initially looks like it will be geared towards iTunes users and entertainment consumers. In a very uncharacteristic move, Apple let the news slip out earlier this week with a "pre-announcement" related to their upcoming Worldwide Developers Conference that left a lot of people speculating what's to come.
There have been some unverified reports that iCloud will integrate with iTunes to mirror media files stored on a user's hard drive. The key word here is "mirrored" not uploaded, which means in theory that bandwidth isn't an issue when it comes to data replication and access.
What does this have to do with genomics research? Well, if one of the main concerns with cloud computing in genomics is bandwidth and latency when dealing with analytics data, maybe there is something bioinformatics developers can learn from Apple's mirroring approach.
And while it's doubtful that scientific cloud computing customers even factor into Apple's iCloud plans right now, the fact that they have just completed construction of a $1B, 500,000 square foot data center located somewhere in North Carolina might mean that they ultimately have designs on competing with Google and Amazon cloud services. So with more providers vying for market share prices should go down, which is good for researchers. In addition, hopefully more cloud computing technology development may result as Apple and its large developer community turn their attention to the cloud.