Apple's iCloud has emerged from the shadows, not only providing cloud backup for your apps and songs, but also photos, videos and contacts. Here's why we're stoked about iCloud.
A Centralised Hub
iCloud will store your photos, videos, music, contacts and other files, which is accessible from any device, whether that be laptop, desktop, tablet, phone or iPod touch.
iCloud is offered as a free service that gives each user 5GB of space to do as they feel with. Whether you want video, music, photos or books to access on the go, it's your choice.
iTunes in the Cloud
iTunes will take the tracks you purchase in the iTunes Music store and back them up in the iCloud server. It also allows you to sync those tracks from the cloud. However, if you want to match songs that you havent purchased through iTunes, it will cost $US25 a year to match however many songs you own. What iTunes in the cloud matches doesn't count against your 5GB limit.
iOS and OS X App Integration
Many of MobileMe's features have been rewritten as apps that function in the cloud and deeply integrate with the apps on iOS devices and computers. If you update a contact on your iPhone, that contact is added to your lists on your other Apple devices. Add a new calendar event in iCal, and it will show up on your iPad. Mail works in a similar fashion.
App Purchase History
Remembering what apps you've purchased in the app store can be tricky. Especially when you need to re-download them, or want to install them on a second device. iCloud now keeps track of all your apps, and allows you to quickly access that list and re-download them directly from the list.
App history, device settings, new photos, and purchased music, apps and books will all be sent up to iCloud automatically.
Now that iWork is on all iOS devices, it will automatically auto-save a copy of your progress made with the iWork suite of productivity apps, which is accessible by other devices. That includes Pages (word processor), Numbers (spreadsheets) and Keynote (presentations).
Third Party APIs
Apps on iOS and OS X will have API access to store documents. That means programs like Evernote will be able to store documents in iCloud.
When you snap a photo, you can send it up to iCloud, where it will beam it down to your computer and other iOS devices, but will also live on Apple's servers for 30 days. Photo apps on Apple devices will have a feature called Photostream, which will bring up a thumbnail array of all the photos.
Images courtesy of MacLife