What to Expect From Apple’s iCloud
It was a moment with mixed feelings when Steve Jobs introduced iCloud to the world at Apple’s annual WWDC [Worldwide Developers Conference] in San Francisco. As he introduced Apple’s long-awaited iCloud service and platform, Jobs noted how the act of synchronizing multiple devices has “broken down” of late.
Noting that devices have changed over the past decade, with people now using photos and videos on the go, the PC should no longer be the hub for your digital life, with all media hosted on the computer. “Keeping these devices in sync is driving us crazy,” Steve told the crowd.
What is iCloud?
To address the new reality, Apple Inc. has moved the digital hub to the cloud. iCloud stores your music, photos, apps, calendars, documents, and more. And wirelessly pushes them to all your devices — automatically. It’s the easiest way to manage your content.
All iOS devices can talk to the cloud whenever they want, with instant propagation to all other devices. With iCloud, users get 5GB of free storage for mail, documents and backups; purchased music, apps and books don’t count.
iCloud completely replaces MobileMe. Mail, contacts, and calendar are all free. Contacts and calendars will be updated across devices, just like they currently do, but there are several new components to iCloud.
“Some people think a cloud is just a hard disk in the sky,” Steve told the crowd. “We think it’s way more than that.” iCloud stores content (think contacts, calendar, photos, music), with wireless push to all devices. And with APIs providing developers with hooks into iCloud, all apps can take advantage of the service.
However, bandwidth constraints are still a huge challenge. So with content like movies, which require so much space, we’ll have to see what happens. But just starting with documents, cloud computing will fundamentally change how we write and collaborate on projects.
Will iCloud ‘Legitimize’ Music Pirates?
Interestingly, Apple’s new cloud music service has been heavily criticized by some of the big players from the music industry for supposedly encouraging piracy by allowing people to essentially legitimize their pirated music collections.
But we don;t think Apple will be condoning piracy and it’s better for the labels to have a transparent system run by Apple than some nefarious P2P site. Besides, what pirate would bother uploading their collection to a cloud when they probably already have an iPod full of the music anyway?