Apple iCloud Takes On Microsoft, Google & Amazon

Apple has launched a set of free cloud services called iCloud that will replace the former set of MobileMe services and add an additional six more services in a bid to fend off the ambitions of Microsoft, Google and Amazon.

Unlike its competitors, Apple didn't have the parts to come up with the iCloud and had to assemble its web-based services from the ground up, which included building three massive data centers.

In a nutshell, iCloud allows content linked to the service to be synced wirelessly and automatically across up to 10 iOS devices (iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch), Mac or PC. Not surprisingly, all other mobile platforms (Windows Phone, Android etc) won't be allowed on the iCloud.

This means that any changes will be automatically and wirelessly pushed to all devices, assuming of course that you have wireless connectivity. In addition, iCloud also comes with automated Backup over Wi-Fi whenever there's a constant power supply to your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch.

Other file types are also catered for; Photostream saves up to 1000 of your last photos which is worth around 2GB, for up to 30 days. That's provided free or charge and doesn't count towards the 5GB that Apple gives for mail, documents and backup.

Other files that do not count towards the 5GB allowance are apps, music and books purchased from Apple. Unfortunately, iCloud won't backup your TV shows, or homemade videos that you've shot.

iTunes in the Cloud, the ninth service, allows users to share iTunes music to all their iOS devices without paying extra, and music not purchased through iTunes can be matched against iTunes own database and converted to (Apple says replaced with) a higher 256 kbps AAC DRM-Free version for $24.99 per year.

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