Although it was mostly overlooked during Apple’s quarterly reports due to the focus on sales and revenue, Apple’s cloud-based services have been seeing incredible growth over the past year. We’re as surprised as you, considering Apple’s had a difficult time creating successful web applications in the past.
In 2012, the number of iCloud users grew from 85 million to over 250 million. iCloud has become an essential part of both the iOS and Mac experience, and Tim Cook referred to the cloud-based services as “a strategy for the next decade.”
Apple’s cloud-based services encompass a lot of different areas that saw tremendous growth, from the four trillion notifications sent to iOS users through Notification Center to the record-breaking $2.1 billion profit from iTunes. Over two billion iMessages were sent per day from more than 500 million devices, with the total iMessage count now beyond 450 billion.
iCloud offers free syncing of contacts, calendar data, bookmarks, reminders, notes, email and other data to Mac and iOS users, and even some Windows users. The Find My iPhone feature offers a “lost mode,” passcode locking, alerts and messages to help track down your missing iPhone. GPS tracking and remote wiping is also available if your iOS device has been stolen.
All of these cloud-based features, and more, are given away for free, making it much more popular than its predecessor, MobileMe, a $100-per-year service. Just a year since its release, iCloud has become a huge part of the Apple experience, whether you use a computer, iPhone or iPad, but especially if you use all three.
Cook says the increasing reliance and trust that consumers have on the cloud-based storage and services is “truly profound” and marks “a fundamental shift” in the way content is accessed. It’s true. In today’s landscape cloud syncing is a necessity. iCloud has made that a lot easier for consumers, even if developers still find it hard to work with in its current state.