One of the key attributes or selling points of Apple’s Safe Deposit Box Application or OS X feature is that your digital valuables could be stored “off site” or beyond the home computer to safeguard your digital valuables which could be something like a Will or Living Will, agreements, life insurance policies, home insurance policies, a simple home inventory list or video or perhaps something that’s really valuable to most every iTunes fan: a copy of your iTunes Library.
Patently Apple is speculating, and it’s in Apple’s interest to file plenty patents just for mutually-assured-destruction purposes, but I don’t believe that a feature like this wasn’t destined for Mac OS X in some way at some point. One angle of the feature that Patently Apple puts stock in is basically iTunes Server.
Time Machine was backup. This feature is primary storage and encryption locally (which means that if you backup with Time Machine, rsync or something else, it gets a local backup), optionally coupled with automatic off-site secondary backup. This is great.
The feature I was hoping for lets you place the data on a local but external drive, manages access so that you get the local copy if possible and go through some routing and tunneling otherwise, and has clear guidelines so that applications like iTunes, iPhoto or media centers may stick their databases there and work the same but with some caching, buffering, latency and asynchrony. Optionally, it also backs up everything from that drive into cloud storage as time and purchased capacity allows.
Nothing of what I propose is rocket science; it takes a few more Back To My Mac servers, some new Time Capsule firmware (and probably boosted capacity) and a little determination to make this work. The payoffs for Apple are enormous: saving huge chunks of everyone’s drives are a powerful motivator to buy both their service and OS revision. So yes, I still feel like Mac OS X Lion will actually deliver something that goes farther than the patent, written right around the Snow Leopard launch, details.