Apple iCloud syncs apps, media, settings across devices

Today at the Worldwide Developer Conference, Apple announced a new service called iCloud that works across all of their products, including iPhone, iPad, and Mac computers. Pictures, music, everything is paired up across all devices. Take a snap with your iPhone, and it’s automatically pushed out to your Mac. iCloud will hold onto your last 1000 pictures for up to 30 days each, which should be enough time for your either devices to download them locally. Add a contact on your iPad, and it’s automatically pushed to your iPhone. E-mail is synced and consistent across everything, documents and everything from the new iWork suite are also synced up. Documents in the Cloud actually works with PC too, which is a nice touch. In-app purchases sync up too, so your settings in one are carried over to another. For example, any iBooks you may have bought will automatically go out to all of your iDevices. It expands to iTunes music too – you can now re-download any song that you’ve purchased from any iPhone, iPad, or Apple device. iCloud will sync up daily over Wi-Fi, allowing you to pull all of that data down to brand new devices as soon as you log in with your Apple ID.

Of course, there’s a lot of overlap here with MobileMe, but no worries – Apple has made that service free now. Developers can start playing around with iCloud starting now, and iTunes in the cloud is available to users today too. Users will get 5 GB of storage free that doesn’t include photos, apps, music, or books. Huh, doesn’t leave much else, does it? Good thing, because that 5 GB would go pretty quickly. All nine of the iCloud apps will be free, though we’re not sure when they’ll be available.

It’s an aggressive, broad-spanning cloud strategy, and I could easily see a lot of third-party developers getting their iPad and iPhone apps synced up using the service. I’m curious to see how iCloud handles high-res pictures uploaded from the computer and downloaded to the iPhone, but no doubt we’ll find out soon enough. What do you guys think? Excited for iCloud?

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