At Apple's World Wide Developer Conference in San Francisco next week, Steve Jobs will take the stage to announce a series of much anticipated software upgrades, including iCloud, Mac OS X Lion and iOS 5. Jobs, who's been on medical leave from the company this year, will don his signature black turtleneck with Levi's jeans and might have a surprise in his pocket.The company's rare preview of what's to be expected at WWDC--particularly the inclusion of a new mobile operating system, iOS 5--hints that the iPhone 5 could make a surprise appearance.
But let's not get carried away. The iPhone 5 will arrive one day, likely without too dramatic an update, but these software changes could signal a big shift in Apple's business plan. What we already know about the upcoming products reveals that new iPhone or not, Apple is doubling down on their commitment to mobile and making a big bet on cloud computing. Streaming iTunes seems highly likely with Google and Amazon's recent announcements for cloud music services, Apple's existing cloud options with MobileMe and contracts signed by three of the four major music labels. In brief, music subscriptions piled on top of media subscriptions and app purchases will give Apple a trickle of cash out of all of their users' wallets for the foreseeable future. Here's what you may get in return.