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ICloud: Seamless Integration Guaranteed

Apple Icloud

Apple Icloud

The concept of cloud computing, which until recently was practically non-existent, has well and truly arrived with the advent of the iCloud. This customizable world where online synching takes new meaning promises to slowly transform the way the average gadget user combines multiple devices into a single seamlessly coalesced database of personal archives.

The Apple iCloud was originally intended as a free platform that brings value-added features previously offered by the range of MobileMe subscription services. However, the iCloud is much more than a mere phone-backup service, with a suite of intuitive feature offerings packed into the ultimate free-to-use package.

iTunes Compatibility

The iCloud supports iTunes and allows users to purchase music from one gadget while still sharing it with all the devices in sync. This means that all purchased tracks, e-books and even apps display in all connected devices, without any need for active synchronizing. Apple also throws in some US-only add-ons such as the iTunes Match, available for an annual subscription fee. This feature allows users to selectively copy ripped music files by matching them against tracks already purchased from iTunes to help avoid copies of similar music tracks. The only downside to iTunes within the iCloud is that the database itself is not actually browser supported making it technically impossible to play tracks on devices not synched with the iTunes database.

Photos and Document Synching

iCloud makes sharing photos across devices a breeze with Photo Stream and the user-friendly apps within the Aperture. The Photo Roll makes for quick and seamless integration and sync of media files with a simple push technology. With the iPhoto, images can optionally also be saved on the local drive rather than the iCloud.
With the improved iOS versions featuring Cloud-enabled document folders including Pages, Numbers and the Keynotes, sharing documents and files also gets pretty effortless. iCloud Storage allows documents created and synched on any iDevice to get automatically updated on the Cloud, and can even be run on a PC as long as one logs in with the right credentials.

Calendar, Mail and Contacts

The iCloud allows users to sync e-mail across devices while also allowing sharing of all subscribed calendars. For instance, subscribing to the holiday dates listing from Apple integrates the chosen iCal across models. Synchronizing the Address Book and contacts across devices also gets a facelift with easy sharing on your Mac as well as iOS devices.

iCloud backup
This is another valuable tool particularly for iOS users. The cloud makes for automatic backup of all books, files and photos over Wi-Fi. This means that all content, including texts and apps are auto-synched as long as a wireless network access is available, thus saving users the hassle of a direct synchronize each time.

Despite the iCloud’s evident advantages, it does come with its set of limitations. For instance, the storage space for the free cloud service is 5GB, which although ample may prove to be insufficient if you store large media files on the Camera Roll or run apps that need immense memory. However, this space constraint does not apply to music files, books or even the Photo Stream itself so most users may still find the storage generous enough. Also the iCloud in itself does not support sharing of photos and media between users, this is perhaps beyond what Apple intended for the iCloud to be. After all, the iCloud is not a social network.

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