Why does Apple like streaming music? Because they get to trade on-device storage for cellular bandwidth. And I don't say that because they want to skimp on device-based storage. I'm saying that because folks that can take advantage of unlimited streaming pay for high bandwidth plans, and high bandwidth plans are expensive. You want to keep phones high[ish] end devices that carry status, and right now being able to stream means you've got cash to burn on frivolous cellular bandwidth.

(Yes, I said frivolous. I'm old, I know, I know. GET OFF MY LAWN. But I do cringe when I listen to a few minutes of MLB on my iPhone, being a Ting user. These continuous bandwidth things just aren't necessities. And on-device music is pretty cheap. If you don't like buying, try etree.org)

By keeping high bandwidth uses mainstream, Apple keeps phone use upmarket, and that's an important part of their company's future. Stay tuned for more high-bandwidth (see current exhibit Facetime over cellular...) uses to come. It's not that there aren't awesome things bandwidth makes possible, but it's not a coincidence or convergent evolution alone that put Apple on board.

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