iCloud brings a ray of sunshine to MobileMe users.

iCloud icon

iCloud iconApple finally revealed details (as promised) at yesterday’s WWDC. As expected, it will replace the existing MobileMe service when it is introduced later this year. So, what exactly will iCloud feature?

What is iCloud?

iCloud stores your music, photos, apps, calendars, documents, and more. And wirelessly pushes them to all your devices — automatically. It’s the easiest way to manage your content. Because now you don’t have to.

That’s Apple’s announcement on its site and I guess the rest is filling in the fine details. Certainly, it looks very promising and now we know what Apple intends to do with all that data storage and processing capacity it recently  established.

Many folk will be pleased to see the end of syncing and the physical requirement to connect your device to a Mac. The new wireless way of keeping everything instantly ‘in sync’ will be, if it all goes according to plan, a great feature and a welcome improvement, especially for anyone with more than two devices. However, iCloud only comes with 5GB of free online storage and currently MobileMe offers 4 times that. MobileMe has two different plans. The Individual plan includes 20 GB of email and file storage and 200 GB of monthly data transfer. The Family Pack includes 40 GB of storage split among one 20 GB individual (primary) and four 5 GB sub-accounts, each sub-account having its own email address, online storage and being able to use all the MobileMe features. Family members also have a Shared folder in their iDisk with which they can share access to data amongst themselves. Both the primary account and sub-accounts have read/write access to this folder and is limited to the free space available in the primary user’s iDisk.

Apple claims that 5GB will be sufficient for most users but I am not so sure, especially as they are promoting iCloud as a service for storing “your music, apps, latest photos, and more”. Interesting that it doesn’t mention video in that bit. One positive is that your purchased music, apps, and books, as well as your Photo Stream, don’t count against your free storage. However, again, no mention fo video. In fact, here is the list on Apple’s site of what iCloud will store:

iCloud backs up your:

  • Purchased music, apps, and books
  • Photos and video in the Camera Roll
  • Device settings
  • App data
  • Home screen and app organization
  • Text and MMS messages
  • Ringtones

Video is mentioned in the Camera roll part, but 5GB is not as good as 20GB. I haven’t checked every page about iCloud but this is, so far, the only reference to video I could find. The fact that Apple doesn’t mention it often would seem to indicate to me that they are not pushing this aspect, instead focussing on music and features such as  iTunes Match. Perhaps they are planning further announcements or maybe they expect us to pay for an upgrade in storage? I guess 5GB of free storage is something to be grateful for considering what MobileMe has cost me over the years. Let’s hope its not as buggy as the original iTools and iDisk were (iDisk is still).

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