iCloud Goes Live (as Beta - for Developers)

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Apple let iCloud go live late Monday, but it’s a beta rollout, and it’s open only to developers. The beta reveals that some of MobileMe’s Web apps will make the transition to iCloud, and the company also unofficially revealed pricing for adding additional online storage to their iCloud accounts.

iCloud Beta

iCloud Beta

iCloud is part semi-backup solution, part file sharing-to-yourself service, and part iTunes distribution system, and that’s just for starters. The company uses iCloud to make iTunes purchases (Music, Apps, iBooks, and TV Shows for now) available to all of your devices, and it will be at the heart of iTunes Match, Apple’s service for scanning your iTunes library, matching it to its own servers, and then making that content available to you anywhere.

It’s also at the heart of Versions, the company’s cloud-based file storage and versioning solution introduced in July with the release of OS X Lion. In addition, Apple is using iCloud to allow users to view their iWork documents (Pages, Keynote, Numbers) on the Web.

What’s new in the beta is confirmation that some MobileMe Web apps will making the transition to iCloud, including an address book, an e-mail app, and a calendaring app. Find My iPhone is there, too, as well as the above-mentioned iWork document viewing feature.

The other major feature of iCloud is Photo Stream, the ability to have all of your photos go straight to iCloud and then straight out to to all of your other devices. Like MobileMe before it, your contacts, bookmarks, and calendar information will also be pushed to your devices through iCloud.

iCoud comes with 5GB of storage, and your Photo Stream doesn’t count against that total. 9to5Mac noted that Apple has revealed pricing for adding additional storage. As of this writing, an addition 10GB (for 15GB total) is priced at US$20 per year, 20GB (25GB total) is $40 per year, and 50GB (55GB total) is $100 per year.

That’s $2 per GB after the first free 5GB of online storage, and comparisons are already being made to Amazon’s Cloud Drive, which charges just $1 per GB for additional storage, though Amazon’s service does far less than Apple’s iCloud.

No official launch data has been set for iCloud but Apple said at June’s World Wide Developer Conference that it would go live sometime this fall.

Comments

Lee Dronick

That?s $2 per GB after the first free 5GB of online storage, and comparisons are already being made to Amazon?s Cloud Drive

I got caught in a loop at that link. There is a Flash ad and a countdown.

Site will load in 16 seconds…
Site will load in 1 seconds

And then just loops back to the Flash ad and Site will load in 16 seconds

Edit: Fixed it by disabling Javascript in the Develop menu

geoduck

The more I hear about iCloud the more certain I am that I won’t be using it.
5Gb is so far short of what I need for proper backups it’s laughable. I use a 2TB drive for TimeMachine.
I do not want all my music and videos automatically pushed out to all my devices.
I do not want all my photos automatically pushed out to all my devices.
I do not want my private documents automatically drifting all over the cloud.
I’m too concerned about security to want any of that and in any event, my libraries are too big for my devices. I’ll manage them myself

I just hope that like Ping before it, Apple defaults this to off.

EDIT: after further thought a clarification. I use MobileMe for two things:
I host my web site but this will be dropped with the transition to iCloud. I’ll need to find a new host.
My e-mail address is through MobileMe. However I did so because I liked the .mac address and MobileMe was pushing harder and harder to make me use .me Oh well, I’m getting a lot of SPAM on the old addresses so it’s likely time I switched addresses anyway.
So with the transition to iCloud I’ll likely be dropping Apple cloud services completely.

Dave Hamilton

Based on my understanding, iCloud is not meant to be a “proper” backup. To me, the fact that it *acts* as a backup is incidental. Its real purpose—and value—is in the syncing. Indeed, if you don’t want your data synced to iCloud (or any cloud) then this presents a problem in and of itself. Additionally, it’s not (yet) clear if iCloud will offer any sort of user-managable file-storage, or if all of this will be controlled by apps.

geoduck

if you don?t want your data synced to iCloud (or any cloud) then this presents a problem in and of itself.

Is it a problem in that this will happen whether I want it or not?
Or
Is it a problem because I’m somehow missing the point and I should want this?

Not to be waggish, it’s just that I’m not sure what you’re getting at.

Dave Hamilton

@geoduck: I just meant that if you don’t want ANY of your data synced to the cloud, then that trumps any other issues that may exist with iCloud (since you won’t be using it, etc).

geoduck

Oh, OK that makes sense.

CCardona

Question about Photo Gallery (or am I the only one who uses it?) Will Photo Stream be a replacement for Photo Gallery, allowing you to share with others (in a “typically Apple one-click” kind of way)?

@geoduck: why not host your own site, now that Mac OS X server is just $50? Just don’t forget to open port 80 out on your router!

webjprgm

Additionally, it?s not (yet) clear if iCloud will offer any sort of user-managable file-storage, or if all of this will be controlled by apps.

But someone could easily create an app (iOS and Mac) that acts like Finder allowing “user-managable file-storeage” via an app.

Dave Hamilton

But someone could easily create an app (iOS and Mac) that acts like Finder allowing ?user-managable file-storeage? via an app.

But with sandboxing that app would only have access to its own files, and no other apps would have access to those files. So while that idea is possible, it’s not entirely useful.

Lee Dronick

As to file storage. It is my understanding that iWork files will be backed up to the iCloud. I don’t know how it would work, if it can be set to auto, or similar to how iDisk works now. I guess we will have to wait and see.

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