Apple has announced its long-awaited iCloud. Here are some high points:

  • The cloud is the central hub, not the Mac.
  • Calendar sharing is automatic.
  • MobileMe-funcationality is now free with iCloud. Those three apps (Calendar, Mail, Contacts) make up part of iCloud
  • App Store is now cloud-based. Purchase history and installs are streamlined.
  • iBook bookmarks and purchase history pushed to all devices.
  • Cloud backups. Steve Jobs: “We’ve added wireless backup to the cloud. Once daily, we’re gonna back up a lot of your important content to the cloud. If you ever get a new phone, everything will be loaded onto that phone automatically.”
  • Cloud Document Storage: Documents created in iWork on the Mac are pushed to iCloud, then available to other devices with iWork installed. Doesn’t seem to include cloud-based editing.
  • API for syncing data to iOS, Mac OS X and Windows.
  • Photo Stream. Steve Jobs: “It take photos on any device, puts them in the camera roll, and then it’s uploaded to the cloud and downloaded to all of my devices, just waiting for me when I get home. In addition, I can import photos.” Photo Stream will save up to 1,000 photos on the iCloud, for up to 30 days. After that, it looks like Apple will trash them. It really seems like this will be great for importing photos, minus the USB cable, but not for long-term storage.

In introducing iCloud Steve Jobs said,” I get to talk about iCloud. We’ve been working on this for some time. About 10 years ago, we had one of our most important insights. We thought the PC would be the hub for your digital life. Where you put your photos, your video, your music.”

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