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In true Apple fashion, the computer giant held off until the end of a more than two-hour presentation Monday to open the curtain on Apple iCloud, its long-rumored cloud service that propels Apple's cloud strategy.
Unveiled by Apple CEO Steve Jobs at Apple's WWDC 2011 in San Francisco, iCloud is Apple's new cloud syncing service, akin to what Amazon is looking to do with Amazon Cloud Player and Amazon Cloud Drive.
According to Apple, iCloud stores music, photos, apps, calendars, documents and more in the cloud and automatically wirelessly pushes that content to up to 10 devices. Jobs told the crowd at WWDC that the iCloud service is compatible with iOS devices, PCs and Macs.
Apple's cloud strategy has been under close watch lately, with several key developments fueling the rumor mill over whether Apple has the chops and the wherewithal to make a splash in the cloud game. The buzz around Apple's cloud plans intensified in April when the companybought the domain iCloud.com and the iCloud name from a Swedish cloud storage player.
Jobs called the PC era broken. He said having different media like music, photos and video spread across different devices, like a PC, a phone and a tablet, created a dependency on devices. Jobs said that the cloud now becomes the hub.
Jobs said iCloud moves well beyond where Apple's cloud direction started with MobileMe, which came under heavy fire.
"It wasn't our finest hour, let me just say that. But we learned a lot." Jobs said of MobileMe, according to several live blogs from WWDC 2011. With the launch of iCloud, Jobs said, MobileMe has officially breathed its last breath.
According to Jobs, with iCloud and a new Photo Stream capability, if a user snaps a photo on their iPhone, it is automatically stored in the cloud and can be pushed to other devices automatically, without user intervention. "It just works," he said, citing the iCloud tagline. According to Apple, a user's last 1,000 photos will be stored on iOS devices and in the cloud, and images will be kept for 30 days unless moved to a specific folder. Content can also still be stored locally.
Jobs said that Calendar, Mail and Contacts are all now iCloud apps, meaning contact edits go to the cloud first and then are pushed wirelessly to other devices. Same for calendars, if a user makes a new calendar event, it stores in the cloud and is distributed to devices and changes are pushed to others with whom a user shares a calendar.
Additionally, any apps bought in Apple's App Store are now synced between devices via iCloud, same goes for iBooks, which will now also sync across vand arious devices.
Next: Apple iCloud Gets iTunes, Backup, More