Every Day Connected

Apple’s iCloud: 3 Reasons to Love It

Don’t know what all the fuss is about? Apple’s No. 1 fan touts the iCloud’s benefits.

If MobileMe wasn’t Apple’s finest hour (as Steve Jobs once said), then paying $99 for MobileMe wasn’t mine either. Thankfully, Apple has finally redeemed itself with the introduction of MobileMe’s successor, the iCloud. The new service hosts all your data and apps in the cloud, automatically syncing it across your devices -- all for free.

Here are just a few other benefits I’m loving about the iCloud right now:

1. The iCloud syncs your tunes to all your devices.
Here’s a common scenario that used to happen to me all the time with MobileMe: Decide it’s time for some new workout tunes. Turn on the computer, download several new tracks. Scrounge around for the little white cord; connect the iPhone to the computer. Wait several minutes while computer syncs new tracks to iPhone. Lose will to work out.

With the iCloud, that scenario may be extinct; buying a song on one device makes it appear on all others. Apple is even offering (for a $24.99 annual fee) the ability to match the non-iTunes music stored on your devices, which allows you to listen to it within iTunes along with the rest of your library. So if you still have a few old Napster-begotten tracks in there, they can finally come out of hiding.

2. Your photos automatically post on Apple TV.
When you take a photo, it automatically uploads to the iCloud servers when you hit Wi-Fi, which sends it to your other devices and programs. Want to show someone at home what you’re doing on a trip? Snap photos with your iOS device, and they can automatically appear in your Apple TV’s photo stream. (Just be sure you remember that before you take photos of anything … unsavory.)

Don’t treat iCloud like a photo backup solution, though; Apple has said it will store only the last 1,000 photos you’ve taken or uploaded. But that should give you plenty of time to ensure your photos are stored to your master photo library before they move out of the iCloud rotation.

3. The iCloud offers free backup and storage.
With document storage, Apple is moving into a space already occupied by heavy hitters like Google Docs. Although the integration with third-party apps isn’t really there yet, right now you can store and sync Apple iWork documents, which unfortunately aren’t used by a lot of people, compared to Microsoft Office docs and Google Docs. This feature will seem more usable after third-party developers do something with it.

iCloud also backs up apps, contacts, iCal data, email (.me accounts) and iBooks, all over Wi-Fi. Some of the data is simply too heavy for 3G wireless networks, but that seems like a small inconvenience when compared to the old ways of plugging in wires.

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