Apple has been pretty late in entering the cloud storage game. The leaders in this field are Amazon, DropBox and SugarSync. Apple has tried and failed before, their MobileMe service never did take off. Now Apple is trying once again with iCloud, which will be explained here.
First of all, what is this “cloud” we speak of? Cloud storage is like a hard drive in the sky. With cloud storage services you make files you have on one device available on your other devices. Cloud storage also serves as a backup service. Even if you lose your device(s) all of your stuff is stored securely in the cloud. Here is what iCloud does:
With iCloud, when you purchase a song, an app, a movie, a TV show or a book in iTunes on your iPad, the content will be automatically transferred to your other devices like your iPhone and your iMac.
For example, if you’re at Subway and hear a song you like, you use Shazam to learn the name of the song. Then you can buy it through iTunes and have it on your phone. By the time you get home and get your iPad, the song will already be there. There is no need to sync your iPhone to your computer and then sync your iPad to your computer in order to have the song on both devices.
Here’s another example. Let’s say you buy a book on the iPad and begin reading it and you leave a bookmark on page 12. Then you leave your house for a doctors’ appointment. While you’re waiting, you can whip out your iPhone and find the book already there, with that bookmark on page 12 so you can continue reading right where you left off.
With iCloud, your latest 1000 pictures are stored on the cloud. This means that if you take a picture on your iPhone it will show up on your iPad or Apple TV or on your computer. Other content that is stored in the cloud and made available on your other devices includes your calendar, events, contacts and documents. iCloud also stores websites that you’ve bookmarked and your notes as well.
Backing up your data is something that is a necessity for all users. You never know when you’re going to damage or lose your device. These events are compounded when people realize their data is lost too. But backups are easy and automatic with the iCloud service. When you’re connected to wifi and your iPad is connected to a power source iCloud can automatically backup your iPad to the cloud, every single day.
iCloud is indeed free, but you only get 5 GB of free storage. If you think that might not be enough for you there are additional paid upgrades you can do. For $20 yearly you can get an additional 10 gigs . 20 extra gigs it will set you back $40 per year while an extra 50 GB will cost you $100 a year. But do note that iCloud has unlimited free storage for books, movies and music that is purchased from iTunes. These iTunes purchases do not count toward the 5 GB limit.