Mac OS X 10.7 Lion to ship with cloud-based FileVault?
Apple has been rumored to go all in with cloud services for many years, yet for some reason Mobile Me is all we've got so far. But if Apple's recently uncovered patent regarding secure cloud storage will turn into an actual Mac OS X feature, that's clearly about to change.
The new feature would aim to protect your files in the cloud similarly to how a safe deposit box protects your assets in the real world. The basic idea is that a safe icon will be added to the Mac OS Dock. Once you drop a file over that icon, it will be automatically uploaded to Apple's servers, and it will be 'protected' (we assume that means 'encrypted'). All the files stored for you on Apple's servers will be instantly available to you once you log in to the Safe Deposit Service with a user name and password. For enhanced security, the login will expire after a set period of time has passed, to prevent accidental access to your files by others.
The cloud-based storage service would also apparently store copies of iTunes purchases, making iTunes customers everywhere less wary about possible hardware failures.
Of course, similar technology is already built into OS X with FileVault, which encrypts and stores secure files on the fly. The cloud component is missing as of yet though, and if Apple will go with full encryption for your cloud-based storage, its service will certainly pose a great threat to the Dropboxes of the world. Anyway, as this is all based on a patent that might never be used, do take it with a pinch of salt. We'll know for sure what all the new features in Mac OS X 10.7 Lion are this summer, when it will finally be released.