iCloud (formerly iTools, .Mac and MobileMe) is a cloud computing service from Apple Inc. announced on June 6, 2011 at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). The service allows users to store data such as music files for download to multiple devices such as iPhones, iPods, iPads, and personal computers running Mac OS X or Microsoft Windows on computer servers owned by Apple. It also replaces Apple’s MobileMe program, acting as a data syncing center for email, contacts, calendars, bookmark, notes, to-do lists and other data.
The cloud-based system allows users to store music, photos, applications, documents, iBooks and contacts, as well as serving as a platform for Apple’s email servers and calendars. According to InfiniteApple, iCloud “simply manages links to uploaded content” hosted in turn by Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services. iCloud is so much more than a hard drive in the sky. It’s the effortless way to access just about everything on all your devices. iCloud stores your content so it’s always accessible from your iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, Mac, or PC.* It gives you instant access to your music, apps, latest photos, and more. And it keeps your email, contacts, and calendars up to date across all your devices. No syncing required. No management required. In fact, no anything required. iCloud does it all for you.
Each account has 5 GB of free storage. Purchased music, apps and books and the Photo Stream service will not reduce this free space. Any music files purchased via iTunes are automatically downloaded to any registered devices e.g. iPods, iPhones and computers. When a user registers a new device, all iTunes content can be automatically downloaded.
The apps you use every day are ready for iCloud.
When you update your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to iOS 5, your favorite Apple apps become seamlessly integrated with iCloud. Just like that. So all your content and information is available and up to date, no matter which device you’re using:
- iTunes in the Cloud
- Photo Stream
- Documents in the Cloud
- Apps, Books, and Backup
- Calendar, Contacts, and Mail
*Wi-Fi or other Internet connection required.
Features are subject to change. Access to some services is limited to 10 devices. See http://www.apple.com/legal/itunes/ww/ for more information. Some features of iCloud require iOS 5 on iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPod touch (3rd and 4th generation), iPad, or iPad 2, or a Mac computer with OS X Lion or a PC with Windows Vista or Windows 7 (Outlook 2007 or 2010 recommended). Some music features of iCloud are available in beta now in the U.S. only and require iOS 4.3.3 on iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 (GSM model), iPod touch (3rd and 4th generation), iPad, or iPad 2, or a Mac or PC with iTunes 10.3