**Update – Apple has just released the iWork software suite (which includes Mac favorites Keynote, Pages, and Numbers) for the iPhone and iPod Touch. The package can be purchased from the iTunes Store for a price of $9.99. Current users of iWork for the iPad can get a free update to other mobile Apple devices.**
This morning Apple published a press release confirming that CEO Steve Jobs will give the keynote address at next week's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). The address, which will begin at 10:00am on Monday, June 6, will unveil three next-generation software products from the company: Mac OS X Lion for Apple's line of computers; iOS 5 for the iPod Touch, iPhone, and iPad; and perhaps most intriguing, the iCloud service. Both OS X Lion and iOS 5 are standard upgrades to those two respective software products that are said to increase the capabilities of both Mac computers as well as Apple's wide range of mobile technology products. However, with iCloud, Apple is entering into the emerging and fast growing cloud services market, and it's becoming clear that Apple is preparing for battle against two major competitors.
With Apple's iCloud announcement coming soon after similar announcements from Amazon and Google, it's clear that iCloud has been in the development pipeline for some time. It's also clear that Amazon and Google are Apple's biggest competitors in the consumer cloud services market (not counting the commercial market filled by companies like Cisco). Obviously, much more details are known about Amazon's Cloud Drive and Cloud Player services, since they are currently live, than Google or Apple's services. Because Amazon's Cloud Player mobile service only works with Android phones, it would seem that it would clash more with Google than with Apple, considering Google wrote the Android OS software and that it's unlikely someone would choose a phone based on available cloud music services.
Nevertheless, since cloud services are likely to be used by more consumers over the next few years and may way heavier on phone purchase decisions in the future, Apple isn't taking any chances. While no official details of iCloud will be released until the June 6th keynote address, I'm guessing that the service will be a derivative of iTunes for two reasons: 1) The marketplace for music, TV, and movies is already established, and 2) the content management part of iTunes can easily be used as a cloud file directory.
One interesting element of iTunes that may have to be adjusted (assuming iCloud mirrors iTunes closely) is the five computer limit per account. If Apple wants to eventually enter the small business cloud services market, rather than just focusing on individual use, the five computer limit will have to be eliminated or at least waived for larger organizations.
Stay tuned to pnosker.com for detailed coverage of iCloud and all Apple products unveiled at WWDC next Monday, June 6.