iCloud : Auto-Sync Your Life
Steve Jobs introduced this June, at the annual World Wide Developer’s Conference, Apple’s much-awaited iCloud wireless syncing service.
“Some people think the Cloud is just a big disk in the sky… We think it’s way more than that.” (Steve Jobs)
The personal computer (PC or Mac) is just reduced to “just being a device” like an iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch. Apple struggles to keep all the devices in sync using iTunes, according to Jobs. iCloud is a set of Internet-based services that automatically, wirelessly, and seamlessly integrates data and applications across a user’s mobile and desktop computers.
What is Cloud Computing?
Personal data, from legacy times, has traditionally been stored and accessed from a hard disk on your computer. If someone wants to access data on other computers (and mobile devices), he’s responsible for moving his data and keeping it in sync with other computer. With cloud computing services like Google Docs, the data is stored on the Internet(“the Cloud”) and accessed via a browser.
The general definition of the Cloud is storing your personal data on the internet and accessing from the same – not your local hard disk.
Mail, Calendar, Contacts
The free iCloud service (which will replace Apple’s $99-a-year MobileMe) will sync e-mail, contacts, calendars, and Safari bookmarks between computers and iOS devices. iCloud automatically pushes new e-mails to all of your devices and keeps folders in sync. Calendars and Address Books are updated on one device are synchronized on all others. Calendars can be shared between users. Changes made in Address Book(Mac) or Outlook(PC) are reflected on your iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch.
This app wirelessly keeps your photos in sync. Take a picture with your iOS device or import pictures from your digital camera to your Mac or PC, and iCloud automatically pushes it to the Cloud and then to your other devices. The most recent 1000 photos are automatically pushed to iOS devices and are retained for 30 days on iCloud.
Documents in the Cloud
iCloud aims to do for files what Photo Stream does for photos. Once a document in Apple’s iWork apps (Pages, Numbers, and Keynote) on one device is created, the document is stored in iCloud and automatically pushed to all your other devices. Apple’s iWork suite (which runs on the Mac and all iOS devices) will work seamlessly with iCloud.
iCloud Release Date
iCloud will be rolled out this fall along with iOS 5. A basic iCloud account is free and comes with 5 GB of storage. Photo Stream photos, apps, books, and music purchased through the iTunes Store don’t count against the 5GB limit. Apple has not disclosed pricing for additional storage.
MobileMe users will be able to convert to an iCloud account when the service becomes available. Existing MobileMe services will work until June 30, 2012.
Final Thought on the Cloud Revolution!
Apple is introducing iCloud at the same time it is delivering major updates to its desktop (MacOS) and mobile operating systems (iOS). This is unavoidable since iCloud is so embedded in both, but it underscores the complexity of what Apple is trying to pull off.
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