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Apple iCloud music streaming service confirmed

Apple has confirmed the existence of iCloud, a new online music streaming service -- which means we'll almost certainly be kept waiting for the iPhone 5.

There's an iCloud on the horizon. Apple has confirmed the existence of iCloud, a new online music-streaming service from the people behind iTunes and the iPod -- which means we'll almost certainly be kept waiting for the iPhone 5.

Apple says it will reveal details of iCloud at its annual Worldwide Developers' Conference in San Francisco. WWDC has been the launch platform for each new version of the iPhone up to this point, but as Apple looks to keep the focus on software it seems the forecast isn't good for a new iPhone next week.

Apple is expected to reveal that iCloud will be a music-streaming service letting you listen to tunes stored in the cloud. iCloud is expected to scan your iTunes library to stream for free those songs you already own.

Apple's plans have been gaining momentum in recent weeks, as the Cupertino company has reportedly struck secret deals with major labels EMI and Warners and Sony.

Apple's move into the cloud comes hard on the heels of Google's announcement of Music Beta by Google. Google's service will store 20,000 songs online, which is way more than the similar Amazon Cloud -- but as ever, we won't feel the benefit here in Britain, as Google Music will only be available in the US.

All these big companies are putting their musical heads in the cloud just as the biggest name in online streaming, Spotify, recently opened its own download store. Spotify is rumoured to be working on integrating with Facebook for online streaming with your pokes and FarmVille play.

The launch of iCloud at WWDC probably means no iPhone 5 yet. But ever-weirder rumours continue to swirl about the next Apple phone, which will presumably have iCloud support built-in for on-the-go musical treats.

Apple will also tell us more about the forthcoming Mac OS X Lion software for desktop iMacs and MacBook laptops. There's a chance the new iPhone will be Apple's famous "one more thing", but there's only one way to find out: WWDC kicks off on Monday 6 June, so keep it Crave for all the latest news as it happens.