Apple introduces iCloud, new FREE server hub and sync for all your stuff

Steve Jobs put sneaker to WWDC stage again today to introduce iCloud, their new cloud services offering that aims to replace a lot of the local, cabled computing of our past with new, wireless computing for the future.

And best of all, it's going to be FREE. Everyone gets 5GB, and books, Photostream, and apps don't count. It works with 4.3 (as a beta) today, and iOS 5 in the future.

Content storage Keeps all your stuff, syncs it to all your devices

MobileMe Written from the ground up to support iCloud

Calendar sharing: No more workarounds needed. You can share your events.

No ads Clearly a shot at Google

iBooks also sync, pretty much like they did before

Backups: Over wi-fi only. Music, iBooks, photos and videos, device settings, and app data (yes!)

Document sharing: iWork suite, Pages, Keynote, Numbers can sync docs between devices. Promises complete storage story.

PhotoStream: Photos go up from your devices to iCloud, and down to your devices from iCloud. Stores last 1000 photos, stores for 30 days.

iTunes in the Cloud: re-download your music, just like you've been re-downloading apps. Automatic downloads as well. Up to 10 devices, so no "all devices" 256kb AAC

iTunes Match service: You can sync stuff you already own to iCloud, you can re-buy a few songs you love, or you can use iTunes Match service. It'll scan your collection, if it finds it in the iTunes catalog, it makes it available to you in 256kb AAC. Costs $25 a year.

Developer beta available today.

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Apple introduces iCloud, new FREE server hub and sync for all your stuff


Wonder what happens to those that just re-upped their MobileMe subs in the last few months?

that would be great... $150 in May was a bitter pill... and even more so with all this being free. We have not seen a refund yet...

My subscription was coming to an end June 2011, next month and Apple extended this an additional year. Now expires June 2012.

Yay! This will be great as I'm a multi-iOS device household and will make life MUCH easier. I hope there is a setting to limit this to wifi-only though for those who are on more limited dataplans (not me!) - not just the backup feature.

Not liking the Mobile ME part if it uses the apple ID. I don't need my wife's apps and stuff on my iPhone and she sure can't have mine on her iPhone due to all the confidential info I have on it for work. Same with backups.

My wife NEVER syncs her's with the laptop. I always have to do the software and app updates for her because she doesn't understand why she needs them. All her contacts are stored on MobileMe though.

If you've ever done an upgrade for her, and selected backup, it creates a separate file. It's going to work the same way, just over the air.

Yea I always do a backup about twice a month for her. On mine I back it up every day. Not crazy about the photo changes though since we used that for our family photo albums for family and close friends. I also keep a separate contact list on MobileMe then what I have on my Exchange for iPhone so I'm wondering how that's going to be affected.

I'm confused, it supposedly enabled today, but how do you get it?
Also what happens to existing MobileMe accounts?
-that's what I get when I try to access my account settings in Something must be cooking there.

Does it automatically sync your pics, music, and docs, or can you manually sync, or can you turn off auto sync?

Does calendar sharing work only between iCloud devices? I am sure I am not alone in this, but I currently share calendars between users of iOS, Android, and Blackberry users. iCloud would be a non-starter if the only devices allowed to access/edit/sync were iOS devices.

Wonder if this means that if I install an app on my iPad that it will receive my iPhone app data. That would be huge!

So 5GB are free. And if you have more than 5 GB of music, which I assume many of us do, what then?