Summary:

Apple does indeed appear to be planning big changes to its cloud services package, according to references found in the latest developer preview of Mac OS X Lion. French blog Consomac discovered code referring to something codenamed “Castle,” described as an upgrade to MobileMe.

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Apple does indeed appear to be planning big changes to its cloud services package, according to references found in the latest developer preview of Mac OS X Lion. French blog Consomac discovered code referring to something called “Castle,” which is described as an upgrade to MobileMe in Lion programming strings.

Consomac was looking for references to Find My Mac and iCloud when it came across something called “Castle,” which was referred to in phrases like “Complete your Castle upgrade,” and “Click OK to open System Preferences and complete your upgrade from MobileMe to Castle.” The discovery of what definitely appears to be revamped cloud services coincides with the revelation that Apple most likely purchased the iCloud.com domain name, so it isn’t a stretch to conclude that these new references are Apple’s internal name for any iCloud offering.

The discovery didn’t reveal anything more about what Castle might include, but it does suggest it will be an evolutionary product that builds off of MobileMe’s existing line of web services. Last week, we asked what other services you expect or want to see as a part of an iCloud offering, and some interesting suggestions included full online backup solutions (the backup product that ships with MobileMe is extremely limited) and much tighter iDevice and desktop integration.

Whatever the resulting service is named or brings to the table, it’s becoming quite clear Apple has big plans in store for its cloud service offerings. The company also is set to open a massive new data center in North Carolina, and its cloud strategy is in major need of new direction. But whether we see just another evolutionary development of the .Mac and MobileMe line of products, or a revolutionary offering that brings a number of basic free services to the entire iOS user base remains to be seen.

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