Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Digital Life

Apple (AAPL) unveiled its push into cloud computing on Monday with a service called iCloud that will store consumers' music, photos, documents and other files over the Internet.
The service will sync those files across devices, so you won't have to remember where a song or e-book is or whether your contacts are up-to-date.
Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs, who is out on medical leave, returned to introduce iCloud as a set of free services during a keynote presentation at Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference in San Francisco on Monday.
Apple executives also detailed new software for the company's Macintosh computers and iOS devices, including the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch.
With iCloud, Apple is moving people from using their personal computers for storing all their entertainment and information to using servers accessed over the Internet.
"We're going to move the digital hub — the center of your digital life — into the cloud," Jobs said. With iCloud, your music, photos and other content will be automatically synced with your iPhone, iPad, Mac and Windows PCs.
Syncing 'Driving Us Crazy'
"Keeping these devices in sync is driving us crazy," Jobs said.
A big part of iCloud is Apple's long-awaited iTunes in the Cloud. With this offering, consumers will be able to access songs purchased from iTunes on any device. And for $25 a year, people can listen to music they've obtained elsewhere, such as ripped from CDs, on any of their devices.
Apple's iCloud will be available starting this fall. It will provide users with five gigabytes of free storage for email, documents and backup, where it had charged $99 a year under its MobileMe service. It is discontinuing MobileMe at the end of the month.
Under iCloud, Apple also will give users unlimited storage for music, digital books and apps purchased from Apple.
"It's a pretty significant announcement when you realize that what Apple is doing is bringing a level of synchronization between devices that we just haven't had with cloud-based services," said Tim Bajarin, an analyst with Creative Strategies. "That's a very powerful offering and one that it's going to be very hard for competitors to match." (AMZN) and Google (GOOG) are among Apple's rivals in cloud computing and digital entertainment.
Apple will support iCloud with its three data centers, including the third recently completed in Maiden, N.C.
The next logical step for Apple's iCloud will be to manage movies and TV shows consumers purchase from iTunes, Bajarin says.