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Apple strikes deal with Sony for cloud-music service

After agreeing terms with major labels EMI and Warner Music, Apple has completed a licensing deal with Sony, according to reports.

Three down, one to go. After agreeing terms with major labels EMI and Warner Music, Apple has completed a licensing deal with Sony, Bloomberg reports.

Apple is now a step closer to launching its cloud-based music service, with the largest recording company Universal the last to add to the playlist. The heavily rumoured iCloud will supposedly let you stream your music wherever you are -- and could be announced as soon as June at the World Wide Developers' Conference.

Licensing agreements with the four giant labels will allow Apple to launch a fully licensed music store, an advantage over its competitors Google Music Beta and Amazon Cloud Drive. They reached up into the cloud first, but have foregone licensing deals that prevent them from providing a range of useful possible features. A mooted one, called 'scan and match', looks at your music collection and instantly replicates it online so you don't have to tediously upload your whole collection.

Meanwhile, Patently Apple has dug out a patent application filed by the manufacturer back in 2009, that not only confirms the iCloud is on its way but also reveals a few more details to boot. Within the patent, Apple promises you'll be able to adapt the service to the speed of the network you're using -- the patent mentions 3G, Wi-Fi and, intriguingly, "5G".

Apple has had a busy year, having launched the iPad 2 not even three months ago, and is reportedly preparing to launch a range of products including the new MacBook Air models and possibly the iPhone 4S or iPhone 5 this summer. The rumoured launch of a secret new gadget to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Apple Store is also causing a mild frenzy.