Apple's iCloud Storage Service Hits 85 Million-User Mark


iCloud, Apple's free cloud-based storage service, has attracted more than 85 million users in the three months since its official launch just over three months ago.

That's a healthy adoption rate, but the most important aspect of iCloud, according to Apple CEO Tim Cook, is its ability to connect customers with their content in more scenarios than have previously been possible.

"[iCloud] solves a lot of problems that customers were having," Cook said in Apple's first quarter earnings call Monday. "… it was a fundamental shift, recognizing that people had numerous devices and wanted the bulk of their content in the cloud, easily accessible from all devices."

iCloud, the successor to MobileMe, Apple's glitch-ridden cloud services debut, lets users store documents, contacts, calendars, e-mail, media and other data and access them from up to 10 different devices, including iPads, iPhones, iPod Touches, Mac and PCs.

In addition to being the cornerstone of Apple's cloud plans, iCloud is also Apple's horse in an increasingly crowded race that includes Amazon Cloud Drive, Box, Dropbox, Microsoft Windows Live SkyDrive and SugarSync.

Like MobileMe, iCloud had its share of early struggles in the wake of its unveiling in October. Early adopters encountered difficulties upgrading accounts for more storage, and problems moving their MobileMe data over to to iCloud.

Since then, though, Apple has worked out the kinks, and the iOS 5 'Reminders' feature has emerged as an effective way of keeping track of task lists between iOS devices and Mac OS X desktops and notebooks.

Apple sold more than 52 million iOS devices in its fiscal first quarter -- some 37 million iPhones and 15.4 million iPads -- and the breakneck sales pace the company has established shows no sign of slowing.

Given the millions upon millions of iOS devices that will be finding their ways into customers' hands in the future, iCloud is certain to become even more of a selling point for Apple.

"It's not a product, it's a strategy for the next decade," Cook said.

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