updated 10:35 am EDT, Fri April 29, 2011
No word to support $4.5 million pricetag
Apple did in fact buy the iCloud.com domain name from Xcerion, say sources quoted by All Things Digital. Although initial word of the deal came in Thursday, its state was described as uncertain at the time, and iCloud.com is still technically registered under Xcerion's name. The ATD sources have declined to say whether or not the alleged $4.5 million pricetag is accurate.
Although Apple could simply be buying the domain to keep its options open, the company is believed to be laying the groundwork for a set of expanded cloud services. These could include an overhauled MobileMe, and/or a media locker, which would allow people to stream their music collections -- and possibly video and photo -- to iOS devices or a remote computer. Conceptually it might expand on Amazon's recently-launched Cloud Drive and Cloud Player.
Even if the iCloud purchase is related to an in-development product, it is not necessarily a predictor of what the service be called. The company once bought the iSlate domain, for instance, which later led people to suspect it would be the name of Apple's tablet. Only shortly before the device was announced did the name "iPad" become a frontrunner.