Apple Unveils iCloud

Stephen Yagielowicz

Digital content’s move to the cloud has taken another leap forward with Apple’s new iCloud service (www.apple.com/icloud/).

The company claims the technology represents “a breakthrough set of free new cloud services that work seamlessly with applications on your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac or PC to automatically and wirelessly store your content in iCloud and automatically and wirelessly push it to all your devices.”

Purchases made from the App Store and iBookstore can now download to all of your devices, not just the device used to purchase it.

While that is quite a mouthful, it boils down to the simple fact that when something changes on one of your devices, all of your devices update almost instantaneously.

“Today it is a real hassle and very frustrating to keep all your information and content up-todate across all your devices,” stated Apple CEO Steve Jobs. “iCloud keeps your important information and content up-todate across all your devices. All of this happens automatically and wirelessly, and because it’s integrated into our apps you don’t even need to think about it — it all just works.”

Apple’s iCloud services incorporate the former MobileMe services, including Contacts, Calendar and Mail, rewritten to work seamlessly with iCloud, allowing users to share calendars and to use an ad-free push Mail account hosted at me.com, keeping your inbox and mailboxes synched across all iOS devices and computers.

Purchases made from the App Store and iBookstore can now download to all of your devices, not just the device used to purchase it. The iCloud Backup feature automatically and securely backs up iOS devices to iCloud daily over Wi-Fi when charging an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, archiving music, apps and books, Camera Roll (photos and videos), device settings and app data. When acquiring and setting up a new iOS device, iCloud can automatically load your previously purchased content on to it.

Other features include iCloud Storage, which seamlessly stores documents created using its API and automatically pushes them to all of your devices. iCloud’s innovative Photo Stream service automatically uploads photos users take or import and pushes them to all connected devices and computers; while the enhanced iTunes in the Cloud lets users download new and previously purchased iTunes music to all of their iOS devices at no additional cost.

Apple says that it is ready to offer iCloud in its three data centers, including its newest facility, which the company invested more than $500 million in to support the expected customer demand for the free iCloud services.

Look for iCloud to be available alongside the release of iOS 5.

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