Tech Tuesday – Apple Announces iCloud
Yesterday was the start of Apple's World Wide Developer Conference, where software developers for the Mac converge on San Fransisco, to discuss their projects with Apple engineers to get help as well as tweak software for the Mac and iOS platforms. It is also usually a day when Apple announces something new, and sure enough, they did.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs returned from a medical leave of absence to present the keynote speech at WWDC and announced Apple's new version of it's cloud based services, called iCloud. It will replace the MobileMe service and allow you to sync not only your calendars and contacts, but also your music and apps for the iOS devices.
Basically, when you buy a new app from the app store, say like, radioPup (Ha Ha), it'll download not only to the device you just bought it on, like your iPhone, but it will also download to your other iOS devices as well, like your iPad or iPod Touch at the same time, as well as your computer, be it PC or Mac, wirelessly. And it is also saved online as well. The same is also true for music you purchase from iTunes. The real big thing that got a real response from people at the announcement, was iTunes Match.
iTunes Match, will be a service that you can purchase, and it will scan your iTunes' library for music that you did not purchase from the iTunes store. Maybe you ripped it in from a CD or gotten it "some other way"? iTunes Match will find that song in the iTunes database of 18 million songs and if it's there, you will have access to it on ALL your iOS devices without having to physically connect it to a computer, to sync it. The cost is $25 a year, and if I heard right, there is no limit to the amount of songs. And anything that you have that is not in the iTunes database, you can upload yourself to have it available.
Now Amazon charges per gigabyte after you use up the initial 5GB they give you. You can see their rates on their Cloud player page, and Google has yet to announce any pricing. But Apple is a flat rate, for as many songs as you want. So Amazon's $1000 for 1 terrabyte of music on the cloud is just $25 from Apple, and Google, still hasn't said how much. Another thing too is, that there is no licensing from the music labels for Amazon and Google's services. And as I said in my previous stories about Amazon and Google's services, they were doing it like the old myMP3.com website service did it, and they got slammed by the RIAA with lawsuits. Apple, already with a pretty strong relationship with the labels has all this in place according to reports.
And the real kick in the head while Amazon and Google are down, the music from iTunes Match will be 256Kbps with no Digital Rights Management. Re read that sentence if you need to, I'll wait. I can't tell you how huge that is. No DRM means it's not locked to just your iPod. Any device that can play an AAC music file can play these. And if you ripped it in, at lower quality, it's been upgraded.
Another big plus, is no uploading of your music to the service. When i set up Amazon, it would have taken me a day to 2 to upload all my music in my iTunes library. I don't need to do that with iCloud, as most of my music is already in the iTunes store, they just copy it over. Easy-peasy Lemon Squeezy.
So now it seems that the battle of the Cloud has started. All 3 factions are now geared up and all are strong with the Force. Who's gonna win? Let me know what you think, because your guess is as good as mine, but I plan on sitting back with a cold Mountain Dew and some popcorn and listen to my tunes while I watch.