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The Essentials of Apple’s iCloud

Apple iCloudThe iCloud from Apple will be here before you know it and Apple is just now starting to roll out details about pricing as well as the beta version of iCloud.com. So in case you missed it, here is the low down on Apple’s newest cloud-based service known as iCloud.

One thing a lot of people were wondering about is whether or not iCloud would replace local storage on their iPhone, iPod or iPad and the answer is no. What iCloud does do is keep your data in sync between any Apple device or Apple computer that you own. So basically, anything you do on one Apple device is automatically available on all of your other Apple devices via iCloud. You don’t have to transfer any files by email or USB.

In addition to that, iCloud also remembers the settings, apps, home screen layouts, ring tones and text messages of all your devices so that all of the information is available if you decide to upgrade or replace any of your devices for a newer model. It’s sort of like the backup function on iTunes, but with the internet.

Apple’s iWork productivity software is also able to sync documents via iCloud. Things like Contacts, Calendar and Mail will all be updated automatically across all your devices. In addition to that, a new service known as Photo Stream allows you to download your 1,000 most recent photos to a computer or other iOS device for up to 30 days. You are also able to store a device’s entire camera roll on iCloud for a longer period of time.

The good thing about iCloud is that it is not restricted to Apple apps. Third party apps will also be able to use iCloud as well. Data you have on certain apps could be made available across your iPhone, iPad and iPod via iCloud, meaning you could start a game on one device and pick up where you left off on another. However, it is up to the developers of the app to implement features like this.

Pricing is one thing people have been discussing. Many are wondering what you get for free and what you have to pay for. Apple has already stated that it will be giving each user 5GB of storage for free, though iTunes music, apps, books and Photo Stream do not count against that total. iCloud storage is consumed by documents, mail, app data, full camera roll, settings and other device information.

Additional storage will also be available from Apple for those users who need or want it. An additional 10GB of storage will cost users $20 per year with 20GB costing $40 and 50GB costing $100. However, Apple suggests that 5GB should be sufficient, though that depends on whether you are storing a lot of photos and videos on your Camera Roll and how much app data you are backing up.

iCloud seems geared more towards people who have multiple iOS devices as these people will most likely get  the most out of the service. If you only own one Apple device, then you may still gain some enjoyment from iCloud and appreciate the automatic backup function.

You can expect the full version of iCloud to arrive this fall alongside iOS 5.

Source: PC World – Apple iCloud: What it is and What it Costs

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