Here’s my prediction, Apple is planning something big in the cloud space. Cloud storage.

Every time they release a product that has obvious flaws its due to the fact that they have existing unrealized plans. With the release of the iPad we have a new obvious flaw. They’ve left a gaping hole in the document sharing functionality of the device. The existing functionality around iWork online sharing doesn’t fit the bill.

Look at the indicators:

  • The build-out of the huge data center in North Carolina.
  • The purchase and then shut-off of LaLa
  • The obvious gap in document sharing
  • The growing gap between bandwidth, shared devices and local storage

These items point to the development of a large-scale sharing solution in this space.

Their current offerings are just precursors. My expectation is that they’ll provide a cloud storage solution with some local syncing capabilities. On the Mac side it will be something Drop-box like for documents. But it will also integrate into iPhoto (for photos) and iTunes (for media). The resulting offering will make it easy to move your documents, music, photos, etc. into the Apple cloud and access them from your laptop, desktop, iPhone and iPad.

This might come out in staggered pieces - a document sharing cloud or iTunes media sharing cloud. It might even be cloaked in different terminology. Apple might phrase it as keeping your iTunes purchases in the cloud. But what it will be is the start of cloud storage.