At Apple’s World Wide Developers Conference 2011 it was announced that in the Fall a new syncing product would be available for iOS and OS X Lion. Users would be able to quickly pull down their music, pictures, and applications from Apples new Data Centers and access their digital media information when they needed it most without storing it locally on their devices.
At the time, it was clear that iCloud would be replacing MobileMe, Apple’s previous mobile data platform. Steve Jobs made a few pokes at Apple’s failed attempt to bring mobile sync and success with the MobileMe launch a few years earlier and was set to prove that Apple was going to do it right this time. During the announcement, there was little to no discussion of whether Apple would be including services like email, calendar, and document syncing with iCloud. Many media outlets actually question whether or not Apple would release iCloud Web Apps at all.
Earlier this week it became clear that iCloud.com would feature web apps and provide all the services that iOS and OS X Lion users would expect. The best aspect of this service is its price… FREE.
Yes, iCloud will be free to an extent. Each account will receive 5gb of free space. You’ll be able to purchase more space at the following price points:
- 10gb – $20 a year
- 20gb – $40 a year
- 50gb – $100 a year
It isn’t clear on whether or not you’ll be able to purchase more than 50gb of storage space but my guess is the answer will be no.
5gb Per Apple ID, Not Per Device
It’s important to note that all the marketing material discusses the amount of space you’ll receive per Account. This can be very frustrating for some users who have 2 or more iPhones registered under 1 Apple ID. I know personally that my wife and I use one Apple ID for everything Apple in our home. If both phones are synced under that ID we’ll share the same photos, music purchases, and storage space.
Contact lists, files, and other aspects of iCloud will also be shared unless we create her a separate account but then she’ll loose access to the media we’ve purchased for our household. Managing the way iCloud works for end users is going to be more complicated than many people expect.
Apple has released to Developers the beta preview of their iCloud Apps and initial reports are that they’re beautiful. These apps include the following:
- Find My iPhoneiWork – Including Pages, Keynote, & Numbers
I’m completely anticipating these applications to look great from the start. Apple is great at design and visual appeal, but the real question remains; Is Apple capable of creating web apps that rival Gmail, Google Docs, and even Microsoft Office Live in features and functionality. It looks like we’ll find out in the coming months as these web apps become available with the release of iOS 5.
Are you excited for the web apps? Will you give them a fair chance when they are released or will you stick to traditional apps you’ve become comfortable with over the last few years?