Apple Inc.’s (Nasdaq: AAPL) Steve Jobs took a break from his medical leave to officially announce they are joining the cloud-computing crowd, unveiling Apple’s iCloud service in the wake of similar emerging services from Amazon, Google and Microsoft.
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Jobs said, “If you don’t think we’re serious about this, you’re wrong.”
Apple’s iCloud will let consumers store media, play their music and access data from any Apple device- and back it up regularly.
CNET’s Maggie Reardon says it’s the next evolution:
“We are getting so much content digitally now. We have you know digital videos, digital photos all of our communications are digital and What do we do with that? How do we store that? How do we manage that?”
The iCloud service will initially be free. They will charge an undisclosed fee in the future for more space.
For about $25 a year consumers can also get iTunes Match and have their song libraries available on iTunes for playback on any Apple gadget. The service will automatically scan users hard drives and make the songs available on the iCloud. Users of rivals Google and Amazon have to upload every song themselves.
Apple’s iCloud is available in beta right now, and will officially roll out in September. But the big cloud hanging over cloud computing is security.
As Reardon explains:
“There were a lot of questions about security. People are a little bit nervous about you know what if all my content is being stored in the cloud all the time you know is there a way to turn this off? Will all my pictures be stolen at some point?”
The company also unveiled software upgrades including Lion, its Mac OS X computer operating system, and the next version of its mobile operating system.
Bottom line: Apple’s Steve Jobs reveals the company’s new iCloud music and data streaming service to an enthusiastic crowd at his annual developers conference. Let the cloud wars begin!