My mother uses to have a phrase when I used to have outlandish ideas as a child, she would say “you’re living in Cloud Cuckoo Land”. For those that haven’t heard the phrase it means that you are being silly and making believe impossible things.
As you’re all probably aware Apple released details of it’s new iCloud service yesterday evening (UK time) with the usual excited tones of an Apple launch.
If you’ve not aware check out Apple.com or the 2 hour WWDC Keynote
As many are aware Apple have had online storage, e-mail, photo sharing and other services since .mac (renamed
to MobileMe a few years back) So is this another rebrand, and if not what’s new?
Well Apple have realised that consumers have demanded iPhones, iPads and iPods, but some might not have an OS X or Windows PC to plug it into to activate it, update it, load content, backup content and various other things that users do on a regular basis. Also what happens when you upgrade, your desktop PC is away for repair?
So realising this they have spent a lot of their profits on building Massive (see the WWDC Keynote for details) data centres to allow users to have all their content stored online, after all all these devices have WiFi or 3G connections..
Now Apple being the company it is, they realised that just storing files wasn’t enough, they realised that in order for users to have everything they need they would have to store their pictures, calendars and other content in line and they may have multiple devices they use (iPhone and iMac for instance).
Now some of this online content sharing was already available to MobileMe/.Mac users, so they will be moving these users over to the iCloud, but they have been improving the service, implementing changes so that the items in iCloud are instantaneously changed on all the other devices (assuming they have an Internet connection).
Added to this Apple have realised that space is a previous thing so they have stated that any content purchased on iTunes will not be counted towards the users limits. I am assuming that iCloud just references the original iTunes files so as to save space on their storage systems?
So what about content that users have converted from original CDs that they own? Well Apple have said that, for a small annual fee, they will try to match your tunes to the same tune from the iTunes store so that you get a high quality iTunes version of the song added to your iTunes library and accessible on your Apple devices. This ensures you get a good quality version of the song and Apple don’t need to store your copy of the song on their servers (getting round possible copyright issues?).
So what If the songs are not in the massive Apple iTunes library, or you have other non iTunes media? Well you still have the option to copy the files via cable & PC or via other transfer methods.. old school !! 🙂
I almost forgot, if you have an iOS or Lion OS X device, the service will be free (except for the ripped from CD tunes).
The programming tools that allow other applications / software vendors to use the iCloud have already been released to developers, so by the time Apple release iCloud to the public in Autumn there should be a lot more to this story than we presently know.
Again Apple have taken things to the next step. True, other services have been trying to do something similar (Amazon), but Apple just pulled an Ace out the pack and the rest will be playing catch up for a while.