There is no doubt you've heard something about Apple's upcoming iCloud release. The tech world was all abuzz as the rumor mill churned out some interesting speculation as to what exactly it could be. And thankfully the wait will soon be over as Apple introduced the service at the beginning of this month, claiming that it would be available in the fall coinciding with the newest iOS 5 release. But what exactly is iCloud and how can it change your life? We encourage you to read on, especially if you're unsure what it is or if you could use it. There are some compelling reasons why you might want to spend some time and learn about it's powerful functionality.
An arial view of Apple's brand new and massive 500k sq/f data center in Maiden, N.C. built entirely to support iCloud.
Hype for the iCloud release really kicked into gear when it was announced that Apple had paid a Swedish tech company, Xcerion, 4.5 million dollars for the icloud.com domain. Clearly, Steve wasn't messing around. And in fact he had big plans for the iCloud which he hoped would usher in an entirely new way in which people interact with their files, never before possible.
Firstly, one strong reason to give iCloud a chance is that it's completely free of charge. You have nothing to lose! In fact, the once costly MobileMe subscription model is being dropped and replaced by the iCloud. So what is it exactly? At the most basic level the iCloud is essentially an extra hard drive where you can store your important files like music, apps, photos, documents, calendars, contacts, and more. But it really does so much more than just store data. It syncs all of the content across all of your devices so that the days of manual syncing are over. Everything is available at all times across any device. It's actually incredible in it of itself. But there's more.
In order to sweeten the deal on the musical front, Apple is allowing users to download already purchased songs for free across your computers. This has since been unheard of and now will likely be revolutionary for those of us who never wanted to bother copying/buying music for each device. On top of that in a surprising twist, Apple is introducing an iTunes Match service which means if you have songs not currently present in the iTunes database, they will allow you to upload it and store it on the cloud for $24.99 a year.
Another amazing feature will be the ability to share multiple calendars so families or friends can know other's schedules. If you made reservations and want to inform the family of the location, simply update the event on your calendar and it can instantly push the information to everyone else's calendar without a second thought. We're very grateful for this feature as it has always been difficult coordinating multiple schedules at once.
Lastly, the backup is extremely helpful. You should know by now how important it is to backup your computer regularly. Now iCloud will do it for you. This will help many people achieve the perfect trifecta of backup storage: connected drive, disconnected drive (preferably in a safe) and a virtual/cloud storage system. iCloud boasts that it can backup your music, apps, books, photos, settings, apps, texts, ringtones, and more without you doing a thing.
So how will this effect you? Imagine never having to think again about whether you just left the house with the presentation still on your home computer. Or maybe you just bought a song at home but want to play it for your friend with your iPhone? This assurance that our files are around whenever we need them will be such a relief to those of us who are constantly working across computers and mobile devices. iCloud now allows us to focus on the important things like generating content and not where we need to copy it when we're done.