At the beginning of June Apple unveiled its new iCloud service at the Apple developer’s conference.
The cloud is one area in which Apple has let competitors get a head start with the likes of Amazon’s EC2 and Google Apps proving to be very popular.
With iCloud Apple hope to synchronise and co-ordinate the key content people store and share across their devices. Steve Jobs’ said at the conference, “We are demoting the PC and Mac to just be a device, and moving the digital hub centre of your digital life to the cloud.”
One of the biggest draws of the iCloud is its integration with iTunes: music brought on one device will be propagated to all other Apple gadgets that person owns.
Yesterday Apple finally opened iCloud up to a selection of developers consisting of members of Apple’s iOS and Mac Developer Program.
The iCloud.com interface is similar to those on Apple’s mobile devices. The site allows users to view and edit mail, contacts and calendars, as well as using the Find My iPhone service.
The iWork web application enables people to create documents and is similar to Google Apps and Microsoft’s Office 365.
The developers also have use of iCloud Storage API’s for distributing data between different devices.
Once released to the public, the iCloud will be free with 5GB of storage, but people will be able to pay for more space. However at the moment the only prices in US Dollars have been released.
General release for the iCloud is expected alongside iOS5 in the autumn.
With the market dominance of the iPad and the popularity of the iPhone, Apple needed to make sure they could be the ones with the cloud product to facilitate the sharing and storing of content across Apple devices. They know too well from historical experience that the market changes quickly and a leader can become a ‘has been’ before they realise it.
Are you one of the lucky ones with beta access? What do you think?