Tuesday, June 07, 2011

What Is iCloud And How Will You Use It?

Apple had a busy day yesterday with CEO Steve Jobs taking the stage at Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference to introduce, iOS 5, the company's latest version of their mobile operating system found on the iPad, iPhone and iPods. Amongst several of the new features, which we'll cover later, was the much anticipated announcement of iCloud.Or as I see it Apple's go anywhere cloud based storage service.

What is iCloud?

To break it down to its simplest terms iCloud is Apple's new free cloud based service that works to allow you to seamlessly sync information from several different Apple based applications to almost any device connected to your iCloud account. You simply store your content in iCloud and it will automatically push the information and updates out to all your devices. When anything changes on one of your devices, all of your devices are updated almost instantly.

iCloud includes 5GB of free cloud storage for Mail, Document Storage and Backup. Purchased music, apps, books and Photo Stream do not count against the storage limit. Sp basically you get 5GB of free online document storage, I'm sure Apple will not let you store none-paid music, videos or anything that might be perceived as being a copyright concern.

How will you use iCloud?

For as much hype as it has receive iCloud is really not what the name implies. Its not some revolutionary new service that allows you to upload a ton of content to the cloud. Its not some ground breaking cloud computing project. Its really just a syncing feature much like Windows Live Mesh 2011 or an online storage system like Windows SkyDrive, DropBox or anything else.

What it does do is allow you to sync things like your contacts, calendar and mail across all your connected devices. If you update a contact on your iPad the same changes will take affect on your iPhone and vice versa. It also lets you share calendars with friends and family, and the ad-free push Mail account is hosted at me.com.

The biggest advantage iCloud adds is it make it easy to buy and sync music from iTunes, apps from the App Store and books from iBookstore. Once you make a purchase on say your iPhone it will automatically be delivered to your iPad or iPod. Meaning no extra downloads. Much like Amazon's new Cloud Player and Google's Music services it also adds music streaming via iTunes. Content can be saved on the iCloud servers and streamed to any device. No need to fill up your hard drive on your iPad or iPhone anymore.

iCloud will be available this fall concurrent with iOS 5. For more information see Apple's press release.

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