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Apple Introduces iCloud: Contact, Cal, Docs, Photos, and Music Syncing Free of Charge

After giving the stage over to Phil Schiller and Scott Forstall for much of today's WWDC keynote, Steve Jobs himself introduced iCloud to the world.

Noting that devices have changed over the past decade, with people now using photos and videos on the go, the PC should no longer be the hub for your digital life, with all media hosted on the computer. "Keeping these devices in sync is driving us crazy," Steve told the crowd.

To address the new reality, Apple has moved the digital hub to the cloud. All devices can talk to the cloud whenever they want, with instant propagation to all other devices. With iCloud, users get 5GB of free storage for mail, documents and backups; purchased music, apps and books don't count.


"Some people think a cloud is just a hard disk in the sky," Steve told the crowd. "We think it's way more than that." iCloud stores content (think contacts, calendar, photos, music), with wireless push to all devices. And with APIs providing developers with hooks into iCloud, all apps can take advantage of the service.

iCloud completely replaces MobileMe. Mail, contacts, and calendar are all free. Contacts and calendars will be updated across devices, just like they currently do, but there are several new components to iCloud.

First is the App Store. Users can see purchase history on all devices. Second, iBooks. Books and progress will be synced across devices. Once daily, "a lot of your important content" will be uploaded to the cloud, making it super easy to buy a new iOS device. Just type in your AppleID and password, and all your information will be automatically loaded up: music, apps, books, camera roll, device settings and app data.

Apple has added documents to iCloud as well. Users can edit a document in iWork on a Mac, and it gets instantly pushed to iCloud, where it can be accessed on an iPad. All data is saved and backed up in the cloud. This functionality is built in to Pages, Numbers and Keynote. File transferring seems totally automatic and effortless. Tweak an existing document in Pages on a Mac, and it immediately gets saved to iCloud and changes are immediately pushed to an iPad.

Apple has been working for 10 years to get rid of the file-storage system. It started with iOS, and has made its way to the Mac. iCloud entirely removes the concept of file-storage. Apps manage presentation of its own documents. Apps can store documents in iCloud, documents pushed automatically, with automatic updates on all devices when content is changed anywhere.

For developers, Apple has provided iCloud storage API's, giving easy access to iCloud features for developers -- this is a developer's conference after all, and the dev's love it.

Photo Stream, previewed earlier this year, is part of iCloud too. Photo Stream works just like documents, but your camera roll gets uploaded to the cloud, then sent to everything else. Users can import photos as well, and upload to the cloud. Steve stressed that all these features were built into apps, invisibly, "so there's nothing new to learn." On the Mac, Photo Stream is built in to iPhoto. Apple TV supports Photo Stream as well.

Only the last 1,000 photos are stored in the cloud will be downloaded to iOS devices, but all photos will be stored on the Mac/PC side. Only 30 days of photos are stored on iCloud, so iCloud doesn't save all your data, it just makes sure that everything is synced up properly.

Top Rated Comments

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45 months ago
I want to find out if there is an 'on/off' swith for photo sharing. I would hate to up or download some adult photos onto my macbook, and then have them show up on my wife's mini/iphone/ipad, since we share the same itunes account. That would not be a good thing....
Rating: 6 Votes
45 months ago
Really looking forward to info about:

-iDisk
-Pricing on Additional Storage
-MobileMe refunds
-E-mail addresses

Please Apple, iCloud sounds really cool, but please don't screw over the folks who have grown to love all of the features dating back to .Mac.
Rating: 5 Votes
45 months ago
Maybe I'm just too old. I still can't figure out why anybody thinks that "doing away with the file system" and sandboxing data is even remotely a good idea.

When I'm on the computer, I work on projects. A typical project has three or four word processing documents, two or three spreadsheets, some files of lab instrument output, dozens of images, and a thread of email messages. It all needs to be kept together, not spread around randomly in different sandboxes.

I just can't picture a workflow that could possibly accomplish anything in this brave new wurld.
Rating: 5 Votes
45 months ago
Apple has been working for 10 years to get rid of the file-storage system. It started with iOS, and has made its way to the Mac. iCloud entirely removes the concept of file-storage. Apps manage presentation of its own documents. Apps can store documents in iCloud, documents pushed automatically, with automatic updates on all devices when content is changed anywhere.

Doing away file-storage system from the Mac scares me. I'm not entirely comfortable with the idea of leaving personal information and incomplete data to iCloud from my future Mac system. I wanted to directly access to them from my Mac's HDD (and syncing with iPad or iPhone if I need it) instead of some wireless data-in-the-sky system. Potentially, any hacker can get into iCloud and steal your data.
Rating: 5 Votes
45 months ago
After reading through 4 pages of repeated posts and questions all I can say is some of you folks should take a big fat chill pill and relax.

am I going to get a refund for my mobil me
What do I do with my codes I bought for the failed mobil me service
Why do I do with my web site
No streaming?
Can I turn it off
How much is more space
What's a cloud
No iDisk
Why about the rumored integration of time capsule
What happens if my wife gets my porn synced to her iPad

OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG!!
:eek:
Then there was the call to the apple representative, and the posted chat session.....

did you really think they were going to have the answer or did you just have some extra time on your hands and wanted to jerk some poor operator off?
:confused:
Seriously, it's 3 months off, the memo isn't out yet and you'll get it when it is, until, then, just relax, everything will work itself out.

Always does..:)

P.S. Heres a novel idea: Try reading the posts before repeating yet another question already asked and already answered!
Rating: 5 Votes
45 months ago

How many times do I have to say that MobileMe and iCloud are two different products. Seriously?

If Apple announced a new iPhone tomorrow, and decided to give it away free, you guys would be whining and complaining about having to had paid $200 for your iPhone 4 last week. And i'm sure we would be going through this same discussion, you get what you paid for - just because something new comes out doesn't mean you are entitled to a refund.

Listen - Just because they announce a new service that shall replace MobileMe - doesn't mean I am entitled to a refund. At the time of purchase I knew what I was buying, and I knew I was guaranteed that service for the next year.

iCloud is not MobileMe, and MobileMe is not iCloud. You get what you paid for, "at the time of purchase." That is - Mail, Calendar, Gallery, iDisk, and Find My iPhone. iCloud does not include those services AT THIS TIME. And when released, it will only be an alternative to MobileMe until MobileMe expires. MobileMe users are not required to switch to iCloud!! Therefor, I am not paying for a service that is otherwise free.

That's like comparing MobileMe ($99) with Google Apps (Free). I chose MobileMe, I chose to pay, I chose my service.


Wow, drinking a lot of the Apple cool aid there. You can say it once or 50 times, but it's still not true. MobileMe and iCloud are the same thing, just like dot Mac and iTools were before them. Giving it a new name and a couple cool features doesn't make it a brand new product. At most it's an upgrade.

The proper route would be for Apple to prorate refunds to mobileme subs. If I just re-upped my MM sub a couple months ago, I'll be paying for something for the next 10 months that others get for free with iCloud in the fall.
Rating: 5 Votes
45 months ago

I'm very curious how our Apple ID will work with iCloud. Everyone who signs up for iCloud gets an @me.com e-mail address. Will this replace the e-mail we currently use as our Apple ID? Or, we will continue to sign-in and download Applications under our old e-mail's, and have the @me.com solely as an extra e-mail. :confused:


On top of that, what about the "family" iTunes account. We all use the same iTunes account to purchase Apps, Music, etc. So how will this work? Certainly having to buy everything 3 times is rather unreasonable. My wife and son would much rather have their own mailboxes and phone backups, etc.
Rating: 4 Votes
45 months ago

Chat Support

Monday, June 6, 2011 09:33 PM
Duration: 24 minutes 24 seconds

Kimberly:
Hi, welcome to Apple! My name is Kimberly with MobileMe support. Please give me a moment to look over the information you provided.

Kimberly:
Hey Andre, I am happy to assist you with any MobileMe related issues today. While I am reading your pre-chat survey, might I ask if you've contacted us about this issue before?

Andre:
No. It is about the transition to iCloud.

Andre:
I use the MobileMe Gallery, iDisk and iWeb. What will happen to those services?

Andre:
I use iWeb to publish a website on MobileMe.

Kimberly:
I understand you are concerned about your published website. Is that correct?

Andre:
And about my 10GB on my iDisk and my MobileMe Galleries.

Andre:
I use my iDisk to store all kinds of files.

Kimberly:
I can definitely understand your concern for you files. The data you have in you MobileMe account will not be affected.

Andre:
So I will still be able to access my iDisk and upload new files after the migration to iCloud?

Andre:
And I will still be able to upload new Photo Galeries from Aperture?

Andre:
And other people (non iOS/Mac) will be able to see these galeries?

Kimberly:
This information, I don't know. The only changes we are aware of at this point are in this article http://support.apple.com/kb/ht4597.

Andre:
And when does Apple plan to inform it's paying customers about these basic questions?

Andre:
PS: If I try to follow your link, I get a "Page does not exist" error.

Kimberly:
To be honest Andre, I don't know. I will copy and and paste the page.

Kimberly:
Information about the MobileMe transition Author: Artie Nathan III Last Modified: June 06, 2011 Article: HT4597 Views: 0 Security: Public   Summary What's happening to MobileMe? Effective June 6, 2011, if you had an active MobileMe account, your service has been automatically extended through June 30, 2012, at no additional charge. After this, the MobileMe service will no longer be available. Products Affected MobileMe What will happen to the content I have on MobileMe? Apple has announced a new service called iCloud which will be available this fall and free for iOS 5 and OS X Lion users. When you sign up for iCloud, you'll be able to keep your me.com or mac.com email address and move your MobileMe mail, contacts, calendars, and bookmarks to the new service. When iCloud becomes available this fall, more details and instructions will be provided on how to make the move. Can I create a new MobileMe account? You can no longer create a new 60-day trial account or start a new subscription using a code contained in a MobileMe box. However, if you have a Family Pack subscription, you can still create new family member accounts. Can I upgrade to a Family Pack or purchase additional storage? Effective June 6, 2011, you can no longer upgrade your Individual account to a Family Pack or purchase additional storage for your MobileMe account. I purchased a MobileMe box and have not used the activation code inside. Can I get refund for it? Yes. If you have an unused activation code from a MobileMe box, you can submit a refund request.

Andre:
Thank you for the article. I understand that you can only tell me what you've been told by your supervisors. But they should have expected the confusion caused by this iCloud announcement. And judging by what's going on online, I'm not the only confused MobileMe customer.

Kimberly:
You definitely aren't. I found out 30 minutes ago when I walked in. All we have is that article. I'm sorry.


Shes telling the truth. Apple employees are usually the last people to find out things.
Rating: 4 Votes
45 months ago
For what's it's worth, here is a posting I put on Apple's support community as I am concerned about managing the content on all my family's devices. With the exception of calendars and contacts, we like to keep our lives separate for practical reasons, like I hate Josh Groban, and my wife loves him, to parental reasons, my young children don't need to listen to Kanye West. Also, I don't want every device to get every picture I take. Right now I manage my photo library by using my laptop to edit pictures and then import all the finished photos onto the device of whoever wants a particular picture. If every picture automatically gets downloaded onto everyone's computer, then this creates real havoc with disk space.

Here is the post, and I'm curious as to others' thoughts.

My family has used mobileme very efficiently to keep all of our macs, iphone and ipads synced with calender and contact data. It is a nice way to keep us all on the same page. Now, with iCloud, I'm rethinking the value of keep all of the devices synced. I purchase music, movies and some apps that are not necessarily kid friendly. For instance, when I bought Kanye West's "Runaway" I certainly did not want that on my 11 year-old daughter's macbook pro, or my 8 year-old son's iPad.

On another note, I am confused about photos. First, I wouldn't want the photos I import into the photo library to reside on my wife's macbook pro. She is runnig out of hard drive space, and doesn't need to have the photos on her computer. If she wants to view photos, she can view them from a share libary. Plus, when we go away on vacation, we tend to dump all photos off our iPads and iPhones to maximize space for movies and videos. Won't these photos just take away more memory.



Also, this concept of once a photo is imported onto a computer it is on all devices doesn't make sense if you plan to edit photos. I am a lousy photographer, and always need to edit photos. So now everyone on my account not only loses hard drive space because the photos get pushed to the device, they get a lousy picture on their device. This doesn't make sense. I know these are two examples, but I really hope that Apple puts in place a way to manage the content on the devices.
Rating: 4 Votes
45 months ago

I guess I don't "get" it, what the big deal about this is.

I already have Gmail.

I already have Flickr.

And I already have online storage.

How is this any different?


its not different it just combines all of those different services into one service and integrates it more seamlessly into your iOS and OS devices.
Rating: 4 Votes

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