Like it or not, many Mac users are Cloud users. We store files on some unnamed server deep in a server farm somewhere on the outer edges (or, innermost regions) of the internet. Email, calendar, address book, photos are the basics we’ve been storing in the Cloud for years.
Apple has announced the iCloud. Here’s what it will do and what it will cost.
Send In The iClouds
One of the problems with remote storage of important files is keeping what you want in synchronization with all your devices—Macs, PCs, iPhone, iPad, iPod, et al.
iCloud aims to make that typically convoluted process a full on no brainer.
iCloud stores your music, photos, apps, calendars, documents, and more. And wirelessly pushes them to all your devices — automatically. It’s the easiest way to manage your content. Because now you don’t have to.
Easier said than done.
Apple doesn’t want us to think of iCloud as simply a larger hard disk drive stored somewhere in the internet’s sky. The idea is to make what we want easily accessible on whatever device we’re using now.
8 Things In The iCloud
My unofficial count indicates that iCloud will store eight things. iTunes music, photos, documents, apps, books, backup files, contacts, calendar, and email.
You decide how much storage you need, but Apple plans to give you five gigabytes to start. Free. Add 10 gigabytes of iCloud storage (for a total of 15) for $20 a year. 25 gigabytes is $40 a year. 55 gigabytes is $100 a year.
That compares favorably to Dropbox, which starts at two gigabytes for free, 50 gigabytes for $120, and $100 gigabytes for $240. The Dropbox app works across multiple devices, and syncs files seamlessly.
iCloud aims to do that and more. The more in the equation remains undetermined. It’s not the data types (music, photos, documents, etc.). It’s how Apple will make it all work seamlessly, quietly in the background, and with little user intervention. That’s what Dropbox does now.
The start at 5 gigabytes of storage makes it attractive to Mac users who need a place for Address Book contacts, iCal calendars, and web email. The option to store and stream photos or music, and backup documents is welcome but remains to be seen how well it works. Remember the launch of MobileMe? That wasn’t pretty.
iCloud needs to work better, work faster, and work flawlessly to attract the masses to cloud storage. Google, Amazon, and Apple are in a race to backup, store, and stream device user’s files. Who will win?