WWDC 2011: Apple Introduces iCloud, Unveils New Cloud Services06 Jun 2011
Apple introduced iCloud at WWDC 2011 (WorldWide Developers' Conference), a set of free new cloud services that work with applications on the iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Mac or PC to automatically and wirelessly store content in iCloud and automatically and wirelessly push it to the aforementioned devices. When anything changes on one of your devices, all of your devices are wirelessly updated almost instantly.
A press release quotes Apple CEO Steve Jobs,"Today it is a real hassle and very frustrating to keep all your information and content up-to-date across all your devices. iCloud keeps your important information and content up to date 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."
The release enumerates the following free iCloud services:
1. The former MobileMe services- Contacts, Calendar and Mail- all have been redone to work with iCloud. Users can share calendars with friends and family, and the ad-free push Mail account is hosted at me.com. Your inbox and mailboxes are kept up-to-date across all your iOS devices and computers.
2. The App Store and iBookstore now download purchased iOS apps and books to all your devices, not just the device they were purchased on. In addition, the App Store and iBookstore now let you see your purchase history, and tapping the iCloud icon will download any apps and books to any iOS device (up to 10 devices) at no additional cost.
3. iCloud Backup automatically backs up your iOS devices to iCloud daily over Wi-Fi when you charge your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. Backed up content includes purchased music, apps and books, Camera Roll (photos and videos), device settings and app data. If you replace your iOS device, enter your Apple ID and password during setup and iCloud restores your new device.
4. iCloud Storage stores all documents created using iCloud Storage APIs, and automatically pushes them to all your devices. When you change a document on any device, iCloud automatically pushes the changes to all your devices. Apple's Pages, Numbers and Keynote apps already take advantage of iCloud Storage. Users get up to 5GB of free storage for their mail, documents and backup- that doesn't include the space used for music, apps and books purchased from Apple, and the storage required by Photo Stream. Users will be able to buy more storage, but the details regarding this will be announced when iCloud ships later this year.
5. iCloud's Photo Stream service automatically uploads the photos you take or import to any of your devices and wirelessly pushes them to all your devices and computers. Photo Stream is built into the photo apps on all iOS devices, iPhoto on Macs, and saved to the Pictures folder on a PC. To save space, the last 1,000 photos are stored on each device so they can be viewed or moved to an album to save forever. Macs and PCs will store all photos from the Photo Stream, since they have more storage. iCloud will store each photo in the cloud for 30 days.
6. iTunes in the Cloud lets you download your previously purchased iTunes music to all your iOS devices for free, and new music purchases can be downloaded automatically to all your devices. In addition, tracks not purchased from iTunes can gain the same benefits by using iTunes Match, a service that replaces your track with a 256 kbps AAC DRM-free version if the song exists in the iTunes Store. iTunes Match will be available later this year for a $24.99 (Rs. 1,120 approx.) annual fee for American users only. Apple has released a free beta version of iTunes in the Cloud, without iTunes Match, for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users running iOS 4.3. iTunes in the Cloud will support all iOS devices that iOS 5 supports.
The release mentions that in order to meet the needs of iCloud users, Apple have invested over Rs. 2,000 crores in setting up a data centre in the US.
The iCloud beta and Cloud Storage APIs are available immediately to iOS and Mac Developer Program members at developer.apple.com. iCloud will be available this in Q3 of 2011 along with iOS 5. Users can sign up for iCloud for free on an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch running iOS 5 or a Mac running Mac OS X Lion with a valid Apple ID. iCloud will include 5GB of free cloud storage for Mail, Document Storage and Backup.
iTunes in the Cloud ihas been made available in the US and requires iTunes 10.3 and iOS 4.3.3. Automatic download of apps and books has also been enabled. Using iCloud with a PC requires Windows Vista or Windows 7; Outlook 2010 or 2007 is recommended for accessing contacts and calendars.
Images courtesy MacWorld
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