At the Worldwide Developers Conference on June 6,Apple unveiled iCloud, its Web-based platform that will allow users to store content in the cloud and synchronize data across their many devices, including the iPhone, iPad, Mac and PC. Best of all, the service is free.
But before iCloud launches in the fall, millions around the globe will need to determine if it's a right fit for them. On one hand, Apple has made iCloud seem extremely appealing to users. But on the other hand, those same folks know that there are a host of services on the market that can provide many of the same features.
However, from what we have learned about the service and its features, Apple's iCloud seems like the winner. Though it still hasn't launched and there are some features missing, it looks, on paper at least, like an ideal choice for many consumers around the world. Once again, it appears that Apple has created a new service that not only has the potential to trump all the currently available alternatives, but could also become another cash cow for the company.
Here's why users should employ Apple's iCloud:
1. It's free
Apple made an exceptionally intelligent move by making iCloud free. If the company charged for access to the service, it might have turned many customers away. But by making iCloud free, the Cupertino, Calif.-based company took out all the risk that might have otherwise been associated with it. Free is always good, and it's certainly nice to see that price tag for iCloud. Whether or not it will always be free is another question.
2. iTunes Match seems like a winner
In addition to offering free access to iCloud, Apple announced at the Worldwide Developers Conference on June 6 that it will be offering a new feature, called iTunes Match, for $24.99 per year. The service scans a user's library to find content that wasn't downloaded from the iTunes marketplace. It then automatically transfers those tracks that are also available in the store to a 256K-bps AAC DRM-free version to enhance sound quality. It's a nice option that shouldn't be overlooked.
3. Multiplatform support
When rumors surrounding iCloud first cropped up, there was speculation that it would only work with Macs andiOS-based devices. However, Apple said the service will work with Windows in addition to those platforms. Because of that, a huge portion of the desktop-OS market won't be kept out of the iCloud fun. Without Windows support, iCloud simply wouldn't be as attractive a proposition as it is.
4. The apps consideration
As users of iOS-based devices, like the iPhone and iPad, know all too well, getting applications onto multiple products can be a pain. However, with the help of iCloud, users will be able to download an application on, say, the iPhone and automatically find that same application on their iPad. It might not be the biggest feature in iCloud, but such convenience really does matter when someone determines whether or not they want to use a cloud-based service.