Just in time for data caps, your music is going into the cloud.
It’s been a long, strange trip for the mp3 player. Born into relative obscurity, it only became a first class digital citizen when Apple got into the game with the iPod — the first portable music player with an unforgettable name.
From the introduction of this breakthrough device in 1998 as a clunky handheld hard disk, to its reinvention as a sleek, video-enabled flash-drive to its elegant evolution as an app, the ability to carry around your music has been a major driving force in the design and adoption of mobile devices.
The habit of never leaving home without music made it possible to imagine toting around TV shows, movies, books, magazines and newspapers on the pocket computer that also makes phone calls. It provided a major reason for increasingly capacious — and pricey — smartphones and tablets.
Now, in what seems like the blink of an eye, there is a paradigmatic shift afoot to move music out of your hip pocket and into the cloud. The advantages are many: no longer will your collection be tied to a single computer and a single portable. You’ll have a built-in backup — when your computer inevitably fries you won’t (pardon the expression) miss a beat.
The downsides include a huge one: you won’t be able to access your collection unless you have an Internet connection. Fortunately, all smartphones and many tablets have connectivity built in — and those devices which don’t bring their own Internet can usually be tethered to something which does.