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Daniel Nations

What is iCloud?

By June 1, 2011

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What is iCloud? iCloud is iTunes in the cloud, with the ability to really make your iOS devices both independent and connected at the same time. Announced at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), iCloud is a relatively simple concept: Instead of making the Mac or PC the center of universe for a person's iPhone, iPad and iPod, make the "cloud" (the Internet) the center of their universe.

With iCloud, you will no longer need to sync your device to iTunes. Instead, iCloud will do it for you. In fact, iCloud will go the extra mile and keep all of your devices in sync. If you buy a song on your iPad, you won't need to sync it to iTunes and then sync your iPhone to iTunes just to get the song on your phone. Instead, iCloud will do the heavy lifting, syncing it to your iPhone (and your iPod Touch and your PC's iTunes library) for you.

And with iOS 5's new feature that allows you to initialize your iOS devices without the need to hook them up to a Mac or PC, the iPad really can become a laptop replacement. This gives true independence to all iDevices.

But iCloud is more than just iTunes in the cloud...

iCloud will do more than just sync your music for you. It will sync your devices. If you add a contact on your iPhone, it will sync to your iPad. And if you add a new calender event on your iPad, it will sync to your iPhone. iCloud treats your iPad, iPod, iPhone, Mac and/or PC as simply "devices" and syncs the data between them.

Here are a few other features included with iCloud:

iTunes Match. If you have a large collection of your music originating from CDs, iTunes Match can help you get it to all of your iOS devices. The service, which costs $24.99 a year (or roughly $2 a month), will match your songs to the 18 million songs in the iTunes database and adds them to your iTunes account, so it is just as if you had bought the song on iTunes. (Note: iCloud and all of the other iCloud features are free. iTunes Match is the only paid feature of iCloud announced at this time.)

Photo Stream. iCloud will also sync your photos, thus letting you get at that beautiful picture taken with your iPhone 4 on your iPad without the need to do the iTunes shuffle.

Document Sharing. iCloud will also store the documents created with iWork, thus allowing you to easily share them among devices. Third-party apps will be able to turn this feature on as well.

Wireless Backup. In addition to syncing your data to other devices, it will also back up your music ,apps, photos, books, etc. to the cloud.

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