Apple Debuts iCloud; Juggernaut Seems Unstoppable

By Golly, the Apple digital media juggernaut shows no signs of slowing down.

Today, at  the Apple Developer Conference in San Francisco the digital media hottie introduced its much ballyhooed iCloud service and disclosed a bunch of other digital media milestones as well.

iCloud is a set of free cloud services that work seamlessly with applications on Apple’s iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac or PC to automatically and wirelessly store users’ content in iCloud and automatically and wirelessly push it to all their devices. When anything changes on one of their above devices, all of their devices are wirelessly updated near instantly.

How cool!

The free iCloud services include a rearchitected version of the former shaky MobileMe services (Contacts, Calendar and Mail), App Store and iBookstore purchases and automatic daily backup of iOS devices to iCloud over Wi-Fi when users charge their iPhone, iPad or iPod touch.

Content backed up to the cloud includes purchased music, apps and books, Camera Roll (photos and videos), device settings and app data. When users replace their iOS device, they are supposed to be able to easily restore all their content from iCloud by entering Apple ID and password during setup.

Users get a generous 5GB of free storage for their mail, documents and backup. Storage of music, apps and books purchased from Apple doesn’t count towards this 5GB total. Consumers can buy more storage.

Apple also rolled out a new $25 per year service called iTunes Match that replaces consumers’ music not purchased at iTunes with a 256 kbps AAC DRM-free version in the cloud if it can match it to the 18 million songs in the iTunes Store.

iCloud is set to debut this fall along with the iOS 5, Apple’s update to its mobile operating system.

Here are the digital media milestones Apple disclosed today:

* 25 million iPad tablets sold in the last 14 months.

* 14 billion apps downloaded from App Store in less than 3 years

* 15 billion songs sold from the iTunes digital media store

* Customers downloaded 130 million books from the iBookstore launched 12 months back

* AppStore now has 425,000 applications with 90,000 dedicated for the iPad tablet

* Over 200 million iOS devices sold so far.  iOS is Apple’s mobile operating system powering its Phone, iPad and iPod touch devices.

* iOS 5 coming later this fall with 200 new features.

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