I'm firmly of the opinion that Apple won't go there, not soon, not in-a-while, not ever.
They have too firmly entrenched attitudes about constructing and maintaining "full-control" over the euphemistically named, "User Experience".
Apple don't do "collaboration", sharing their technology or allowing the mere User to tinker with its Gorgeous Stuff. It'd no longer be "their Design" and they anathema to Apple.
Apple are into "control", which in itself is not a bad thing, but severely limits their software and system design decisions and implementations.
This isn't some simple "we know best" thing, but much deeper, intimately tied to their focus on High Concept Design and a finely crafted "User Experience". Which also means controlled experience.
Apple could make huge inroads into the PC market by licensing OS/X - something it could've done anytime in the last 10 years. Now that "classic" computers are under 25% of its business, Apple could let go of its stranglehold on its computer hardware and light the fires of innovation: "let a thousand roses bloom". But they cannot and won't.
This translates to iCloud in two ways:
- they haven't thought of the idea themselves, and
- they probably couldn't model the response times of torrent-like service and would baulk at any service which is in the least unpredictable, perhaps sometimes not-quite-perfect.
So they will build and run some very large datacenters to run iCloud.
The trouble with this approach is they are leaving the field of Innovation open to their competitors.
We know Microsoft won't embrace it, but Google and Android will and do.
Even Great Design can be copied and tweaked, sometimes even improved.That the British lost it home-grown motorcycle and motor car industries, know for radical and innovative design, to the Japanese and their "continuous improvement/refinement cycle" demonstrates this thesis.
In 10 years, will the "iPhone 15" be a patch on Android and the gazillion services/applications it runs?
I suspect not. The most amazing and usable devices are unlikely to come from the standalone corporations.
It could be Google and Android, it could be something completely new.
It just won't be Apple at the front, again.
Think how they blew their advantage of the Apple II. They've got form and the same fixed, rigid mindset is still rampant. That's good for Bold New Steps, poor for continuous stepwise refinement.