Our family includes four Appleholics. We are so drunk on the Apple juice that we could start our own 12-step program.
All of us have at least one iPod and we have too many iPads, iPhones, Macs and Mini’s that we could have our own orchard I think.
Just today, something exciting happened to all of us Apple geeks. Steve Jobs came out of medical leave (again!) not to release a new iPhone 5 but to talk about the iCloud. On the heels of Amazon and Google we knew this was coming. It was just a matter of time. What was it just a few weeks?
What is iCloud?
iCloud allows you to seamlessly integrate all of your devices over the web. It lets you synchronize your content through the air. This is the next step in the computing world. I have told my kids for years that the days of a clunky desk top computer with a 500GB hard drive and a keychain full of flash cards are numbered.
The iCloud is purely awesome! This will change how we use our computers and devices forever. We will no longer be dependent on one device. I have four iPods/iPhones. One in my truck, one I use when I am dog sledding, an iPhone with very little music that I use every day, and an iPhone that sits in a drawer as a back up. Every time I want to sync my library from one device to another it is a hassle. I am constantly shuffling from one device to another. The iCloud will eliminate this.
With the iCloud, instead of syncing your devices to your Mac to get the files you are looking for, you can connect to the cloud and sync with it. The cloud will be the hub of EVERYTHING that you have on those PC’s and Macs.
For example when you take a photo on your iPhone it will push the image up the cloud. Later on that evening when you turn on your Mac, your image will appear among your photos without having to transfer the photo.
The stuff of business
All of your contacts, email, and calendars will be sync’d across all of your devices. Calendars will appear on your iPhone, your Mac and your Touch without having to do anything. You can even share these with your friends and co-workers.
All iCloud users will get a @me.com email account that pushes all of your mail to the cloud and sync’s it to all the devices.
The band played on...
The coolest feature of the iCloud is the music. All of us have iTunes libraries. Ours is stored three places right now. On my MacBook Pro, My Mac Mini and a 500GB hard drive that is hooked up to an old Dell and so archaic that it no longer works because I can’t find a driver for it.
We have a music library of over 7500 songs. Most of them come from CD’s that we have ripped, a process that has taken hours upon hours. I will get to that in just a sec.
Any music that you have previously bought, you can download to 10 devises for no charge on the cloud.
An auto download setting within your devices will automatically sync your new purchases across the devices. If you buy that Justin Bieber in secret one night, you wife will find out the next day when she opens the iPad’s music player. The song will load into your collection there too.
ITunes Match will let you match all of your ripped from CD tunes with 18 million tracks stored in Apple’s servers. That means you don’t have to upload them to the cloud. It will cost you $24.95 per year to do this. So if you plan to visit the used record store, like I love to do, and you buy a lot of music for 6 or 7 bucks a cd and you want to share these disc’s across your devices it will cost you a bit. But think about it–25 bucks a year is less than the cost of two new cd’s.
Right now, iCloud provides you with 5GB of storage for mail, documents and back up. This storage is outside of your quota for iTunes and photos, iWork documents, apps, and books.
This is going to rock for our business (and yours too)
Just in the past couple months my wife as gone to an iPad as her primary device for our business, Denver Dog Works. We can do everything on it from processing credit cards, to blog writing, to Facebook and Twitter updates, to Skype to production of our Internet radio show.
One thing that we have struggled with is the ability to share documents. We have tried yo use Google Docs. We have found it clunky and has limitations. As well as blog writing on Pages with links and it not transferring seamlessly with WordPress.
With iCloud you can access documents between devices while on the move. Keynote and Numbers will work with a click or a swipe.
When and How?
Just moments after Steve announced the new service the App Store and iTunes were dramatically updated with a new “purchased” tab for re-downloading software and content and a new version of iTunes (10.3) was released.
Once you download all the updates you will see the new iBooks as well as the “purchased” software by clicking the “updates” tab from there it will be seamless.
While today’s update will offer you a “taste” of the cloud, the full service–including wireless syncing of content and data–will roll out with the launch of iOS 5 this fall. Just in time for Steve to come back again from his medical leave to introduce us to the iPhone 5!