Hell-bent on proving that the Cloud is much more than "a hard drive in the sky" Steve Jobs took the stage at today's WWDC event in San Francisco and blew everyone away with the introduction of iCloud. The shiny new storage bin holds music, photos, apps, calendars, documents, etc. and automatically pushes everything to all of your connected devices.
The CliffsNotes version of iCloud is simply this: access to everything everywhere:
Baked right into iOS and a replacement for Apple's previous syncing service, MobileMe, iCloud aims to demote the PC to just another device. Users can add a new contact, calendar entry, song, document or photo to any of their Apple devices, and those files will become instantly available on of the user's other connected devices.
For example, if you purchase a song on your Mac, it becomes instantly available for download to your iPhone or iPad without messy cables. In fact, anything purchased from iTunes will be backed up in iCloud, as well as the photos in your camera roll, device settings, and app data, and documents created in iWorks.
“Keeping those devices in sync is driving us crazy,” said Jobs to a cheerful audience.
"If you don't think we're serious about this, you're wrong."
iCloud users automatically get 5GB of free storage just for signing up. It may sound like a small amout, but Apple doesn't count purchased music, apps, books and Photo Stream against you. That leaves 5GB for your mail, documents, camera roll, account information, settings, and other app data.
Beyond that, the company aims to provide a better deal than its competitors:
Consider the Not So Heavenly
It sounds like it's going to be a fantastic tool for Apple users, but there are some consumers out there that still have reservations.
Vince Horiuchi of The Salt Lake Tribune names a handful of reasons to be concerned about the booming cloud: Ownership, Reliability, Security and Privacy.
Horiuchi highlights how Amazon's servers had a freak out attack when hordes of people rushed to purchase Lady Gaga's Born This Way album for 99 cents, Sony's hacker attack on the PlayStation network, and the recent claim that Dropbox employees could access the contents of people’s digital files on the service.
It makes you wonder whether putting all of your eggs in Apple's basket is a good idea, doesn't it?
iCloud will be available at the same time as iOS 5 in the fall, although developers can download a beta version now.