Apple Introduces iCloud
Apple announces iCloud, a set of free new cloud services that work 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 your devices.
When anything changes on one of your devices, all of your devices are wirelessly updated almost instantly, the company says.
The free iCloud services include:
- The former MobileMe services—Contacts, Calendar and Mail—re-architected and rewritten 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.
- The App Store and iBookstore now download purchased iOS apps and books to 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.
- 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.
- iCloud Storage stores all documents created using iCloud Storage APIs, and automatically pushes them to 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 use iCloud Storage. Users get up to 5GB of free storage for their mail, documents and backup—the storage for music, apps and books purchased from Apple, and the storage required by Photo Stream doesn’t count towards this 5GB total. Users will be able to buy more storage, with details announced when iCloud ships this fall.
- iCloud’s Photo Stream service automatically uploads the photos you take or import on 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. 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.
- iTunes in the Cloud lets you download your previously purchased iTunes music to all your iOS devices at no additional cost, and new music purchases can be downloaded to all your devices. In addition, music not purchased from iTunes can gain the same benefits by using iTunes Match, a service that replaces your music with a 256 kbps AAC DRM-free version if it can be matched to the songs in the iTunes Store. iTunes Match will be available this fall for a $24.99 annual fee. Apple today is releasing 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 iPhones that iOS 5 supports this fall.
Pricing & Availability
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 fall concurrent 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 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. iTunes Match will be available for $24.99 per year (US only).
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