Apple iCloud announced for free, replaces MobileMe

Steve Jobs took the stage at WWDC 2011 to talk about Apple’s iCloud service: “Keeping these devices in sync is driving us crazy,” Jobs said as he prepared to introduce the major new service. “We’ve got a great solution to this problem. We’re going to demote the PC and the Mac to just be a device. We’re going to move the digital hub, the center of your digital life, into the cloud.” iCloud will store all of your content and automatically push it to all of your devices. It’s integrated with all of your apps, and everything is seamless. MobileMe is out, and iCloud is going to be free — amazing! Hit the jump for more.

Steve Jobs is now demoing the next three apps in iCloud besides Mail, Contacts, and Calendar, and the first one is the App Store, which will re-download all purchases and keep them in sync across all devices. Backup is next, and once daily, your devices will backup important information to the cloud. When you get a new Apple device, just sign in and all of your information will be there, like photos, settings, and so on. Documents in the cloud is next up, and Jobs talked about editing a Pages document and how it will automatically be uploaded to the cloud and available from any of your devices. All iWork apps have this feature, including the new ones Apple released last week for iOS.

Photo stream is Steve’s favorite, he says. “How many times have we taken photos on our iPhone, maybe of our kids, and when we got home to share them on an iPad, we had to go through the process of moving them over.” All photos are uploaded to the cloud automatically, and then synced with all devices including your computer.

The last piece of the iCloud puzzle? You guessed it… music! “It’s the same old story,” Jobs explained. “I buy something on my iPhone and it’s not on my other devices. I grab my iPod and I go to listen to that song and it ain’t there!” You can now download any purchased song to any of your devices for free, just like you can with apps, and you can flip a switch to allow all your devices to automatically download newly purchased music.

Apple is giving all users 5GB of free storage, for documents, back ups, mail, etc — and support for up to 20,000 songs! There’s a developer beta available today and iTunes in the cloud will run on iOS 4.3. Here’s Apple’s full release:

Apple Introduces iCloud

Free Cloud Services Beyond Anything Offered to Date

SAN FRANCISCO—June 6, 2011—Apple® today introduced iCloud®, a breakthrough set of free new cloud services that work seamlessly with applications on your iPhone®, iPad®, iPod touch®, Mac® or PC to automatically and wirelessly store your content in iCloud and automatically and wirelessly push it to all your devices. When anything changes on one of your devices, all of your devices are wirelessly updated almost instantly.

“Today it is a real hassle and very frustrating to keep all your information and content up-to-date across all your devices,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “iCloud keeps your important information and content up to date across all your devices. All of this happens automatically and wirelessly, and because it’s integrated into our apps you don’t even need to think about it—it all just works.”

The free iCloud services include:

  • The former MobileMe® services—Contacts, Calendar and Mail—all completely re-architected and rewritten to work seamlessly with iCloud. Users can share calendars with friends and family, and the ad-free push Mail account is hosted at me.com. Your inbox and mailboxes are kept up-to-date across all your iOS devices and computers.
  • The App Store™ and iBookstore℠ now download purchased iOS apps and books to all your devices, not just the device they were purchased on. In addition, the App Store and iBookstore now let you see your purchase history, and simply tapping the iCloud icon will download any apps and books to any iOS device (up to 10 devices) at no additional cost.
  • iCloud Backup automatically and securely backs up your iOS devices to iCloud daily over Wi-Fi when you charge your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. Backed up content includes purchased music, apps and books, Camera Roll (photos and videos), device settings and app data. If you replace your iOS device, just enter your Apple ID and password during setup and iCloud restores your new device.
  • iCloud Storage seamlessly stores all documents created using iCloud Storage APIs, and automatically pushes them to all your devices. When you change a document on any device, iCloud automatically pushes the changes to all your devices. Apple’s Pages®, Numbers® and Keynote® apps already take advantage of iCloud Storage. Users get up to 5GB of free storage for their mail, documents and backup—which is more amazing since the storage for music, apps and books purchased from Apple, and the storage required by Photo Stream doesn’t count towards this 5GB total. Users will be able to buy even more storage, with details announced when iCloud ships this fall.
  • iCloud’s innovative Photo Stream service automatically uploads the photos you take or import on any of your devices and wirelessly pushes them to all your devices and computers. So you can use your iPhone to take a dozen photos of your friends during the afternoon baseball game, and they will be ready to share with the entire group on your iPad (or even Apple TV®) when you return home. Photo Stream is built into the photo apps on all iOS devices, iPhoto® on Macs, and saved to the Pictures folder on a PC. To save space, the last 1,000 photos are stored on each device so they can be viewed or moved to an album to save forever. Macs and PCs will store all photos from the Photo Stream, since they have more storage. iCloud will store each photo in the cloud for 30 days, which is plenty of time to connect your devices to iCloud and automatically download the latest photos from Photo Stream via Wi-Fi.
  • iTunes® in the Cloud lets you download your previously purchased iTunes music to all your iOS devices at no additional cost, and new music purchases can be downloaded automatically to all your devices. In addition, music not purchased from iTunes can gain the same benefits by using iTunes Match, a service that replaces your music with a 256 kbps AAC DRM-free version if we can match it to the over 18 million songs in the iTunes Store®, it makes the matched music available in minutes (instead of weeks to upload your entire music library), and uploads only the small percentage of unmatched music. iTunes Match will be available this fall for a $24.99 annual fee. Apple today is releasing a free beta version of iTunes in the Cloud, without iTunes Match, for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users running iOS 4.3. iTunes in the Cloud will support all iPhones that iOS 5 supports this fall.

Apple is ready to ramp iCloud in its three data centers, including the third recently completed in Maiden, NC. Apple has invested over $500 million in its Maiden data center to support the expected customer demand for the free iCloud services.

Pricing & Availability
The iCloud beta and Cloud Storage APIs are available immediately to iOS and Mac Developer Program members atdeveloper.apple.com. iCloud will be available this fall concurrent with iOS 5. Users can sign up for iCloud for free on an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch running iOS 5 or a Mac running Mac OS® X Lion with a valid Apple ID. iCloud includes 5GB of free cloud storage for Mail, Document Storage and Backup. Purchased music, apps, books and Photo Stream do not count against the storage limit. iTunes Match will be available for $24.99 per year (US only).

iTunes in the Cloud is available today in the US and requires iTunes 10.3 and iOS 4.3.3. Automatic download of apps and books is available today. Using iCloud with a PC requires Windows Vista or Windows 7; Outlook 2010 or 2007 is recommended for accessing contacts and calendars.

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