WWDC 2011: Apple iCloud will be free, iTunes Match replaces pirated songs

WWDC 2011: Apple iCloud will be free, iTunes Match replaces pirated songs

Summary: Ever since it was announced last week that Apple CEO Steve Jobs would present iCloud at WWDC 2011, there has been a deluge of rumors and guesses as to what it might be. Now, we have the answers.

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TOPICS: Apple
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Ever since it was announced last week that Apple CEO Steve Jobs would present iCloud at WWDC 2011, there has been a deluge of rumors and guesses as to what it might be. Now, we have the answers.

Jobs noted at the keynote that the cloud has "demoted" the PC and Mac to just mere devices, and iCloud will step in as the "center of your digital life" and digital hub. Those are some lofty goals, but that is where Apple thinks computing is headed these days.

MobileMe, which Jobs noted was not Apple's "finest hour" (to say the least), is basically being reworked from the ground up and turned into iCloud. Actually, it doesn't really even exist anymore (at least in Jobs' memory).

The idea behind iCloud is simple: iCloud stores content and then pushes it wirelessly to all of a user's devices. That goes for contacts, calendars, new emails, etc. Basically almost everything you sync in iTunes via USB can be done via the cloud now. Users can only backup data using Wi-Fi connections, which might seem limiting but it should save anyone from outrageous data costs.

The big focus on iCloud centered around music. For days, weeks, whatever - everyone has been wondering what Apple was going to announce regarding a cloud-based music streaming service. However, we didn't get what most people expected.

The first surprise was that there will be no charge for multiple downloads to multiple devices. The key word is "multiple," not unlimited. Users can just hit a "Purchased" button in iTunes on their various devices and push what is already purchased and downloaded to nine other iCloud-enabled gadgets.

Secondly, iTunes for iCloud isn't actually a competitor for Google Music, Amazon's music service or anything else like that. There isn't a subscription-based model involved here, but rather the usual purchase model that already exists. The only difference now is that users can just push the songs to multiple devices wirelessly and much easier.

The closest it gets to the streaming service is the new iTunes Match. Users who have pirated MP3s on their computers can try to go back to the honest and good side of things by using this software that scans the hard drive and then matches the titles to 256Kbps AAC, DRM-free tracks. (That must be where Apple's latest deal with the music industry came in.) Jobs promised this scan would take only "minutes" and that it costs $24.99 per year "regardless" of the amount of songs.

Some of the other tidbits included in iCloud include a @me.com account, a no-ads promise, and a new feature in the App Store that shows the user its previous purchases (i.e. mobile apps, iBookstore items, etc.) that are waiting to be pushed down to other devices.

Apple also appears to be targeting a more business-minded bunch with the new Documents in the Cloud function. This feature incorporates the iWork suite (Pages, Numbers, and Keynote) and follows the idea of the cloud: users can work on projects using one of these apps using an iPad and then pick up where one left off using a PC. iCloud will also sync up the Camera library among multiple devices using Photo Stream, which pushes the last 1,000 photos taken on any of the iCloud-enabled devices to the rest. These images will be stored to their own album, but they'll only be kept there for 30 days. If a user wants to keep them, then the selected images must be moved to a different, specified album.

Although it was widely rumored that Apple would charge $25 per year for iCloud usage (versus the $99 MobileMe yearly subscription fee), Jobs said that iCloud will be free. Yes, free - except for that whole iTunes Match fee if you opt into it.

Like iOS 5, the developer preview will be available starting today, and the full version will launch this fall. iCloud will offer 5GB of storage space, but purchased music, e-books and photos don't count towards that total.

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  • RE: WWDC 2011: Apple iCloud will be free, replaces MobileMe

    iCloud seems to be a logical move for Apple. It will store stuff sans PC. That eliminates the need for their device owners to HAVE PC's. Since its free, eventually, I predict that the ability to sync with PC's or Macs will be eliminated. After many more users are tied to iCloud, then Apple will add a few features and then start charging. Ka-ching, you are hooked to Apple and they have your money.
    mstrsfty
    • But Google, MS, ect have setups that don't require you

      @mstrsfty
      to own a PC right now to do that, so it's not a new concept, but yes, a nessacery one moving forward.
      Will Pharaoh
      • Sorry to be this a non-relevant repy, but ***this has to be noticed***, ...

        @Will Pharaoh: I watched Jobs presentation of iPad 2 from early March just yesterday, so I can compare it: from very first seconds of the just published video of today's presentation: <b>Steven Jobs appeared more frail, exhausted, and his voice was shaking at some moments -- not because he was emotional, but because of seemed *extreme* weakness -- for the first time I have ever heard him.</b><br><br>I hope this will pass and he will get robust and healthy again, but this, for now, means that things might actually be going to the bad direction.

        To be honest, I am really worried about this. More than about any advancements of progress announced. For the sake of humanism at least.
        DDERSSS
      • Words

        @Will Pharaoh
        etc, not ect. (etcetera), necessary not nessacery.
        As for the topic of discussion, I don't really care what Apple does, I have not jumped on their bandwagon, nor Amazon's, nor Google's. I do buy from Amazon and have an unused gmail account (because of my phone), but nothing Apple.
        dhays
      • Jobs' health (more non-relevancy)

        @DeRSSS :The man has pancreatic cancer. He's made it much longer than the average patient (maybe because he has access to medical care the average patient does not) but there is no cure for it, so he's wasting away and frantically trying to accomplish his visions before he departs. I wish him well. But you're going to have to get used to the idea of Apple not having Steve to lead it.
        krauskopf
    • I don't see that

      @mstrsfty With the work Jobs showed on Lion, its pretty clear that the Macbook, the Pro, and the Air are meant to be premium-class clients for iCloud. Apple doesn't care what device you subscribe to iCloud with.... it just hopes that its sold you that device, be it an iPod Touch or a 17" Macbook Pro.
      Mac_PC_FenceSitter
    • It would have been better if iCloud ,,,

      @mstrsfty,

      ... was software installed on your Mac or PC, which turned your computer into a private cloud, which allowed you to access your media and private files from anywhere. God help Apple if it has a Sony type network breach on its hands, and its customers' media and personal document files are taken over by hackers.
      P. Douglas
    • RE: WWDC 2011: Apple iCloud will be free, replaces MobileMe

      @mstrsfty
      But can I downloiad from the "iCloud" to my pc or other device in a non-AAC format?

      :|
      rhonin
      • No. But why would you?

        @rhonin

        AAC is better than MP3 and is playable on almost any device.
        Bruizer
      • RE: Why would you?

        @bruizer, no, AAC has better compression than MP3, but qualititative differences depend on personal preference. Also, if you are comparing 320Kbps AAC to 320Kbps MP3 then yes AAC is better, but jobs is giving us 256Kbps AAC for our (cd ripped) 320Kbps MP3's. I prefer 320Kbps mp3 over 256 Kbps AAC personally. So that's why I would rather upload my music collection than music match from itunes. Indeed when I buy music online, I buy it from bigpond music where I can get it as a 320Kbps mp3

        AND, MP3 is more widely supported than AAC, which plays on "almost" but not "every" device.
        pitdroidtech
    • RE: WWDC 2011: Apple iCloud will be free, replaces MobileMe

      @mstrsfty 90% of my home user customers have media collections way in excess of 5GB. So iCloud is the cloud you have when you are not really having a cloud. Yeah, it's free, but it's not gonna let people do away with their computers.
      pitdroidtech
      • Re: &quot;it's not gonna let people do away with their computers&quot;

        @max_wedge
        Apple doesn't want to do away with computers/phones/iPads. That's where they make their money, since they aren't charging for iCloud.
        galley
      • RE: WWDC 2011: Apple iCloud will be free, replaces MobileMe

        @max_wedge Guess you didn't see the part where the media that you have won't apply to the total. It's stuff outside the media based data that applies to the 5GB.
        rpollard1
      • RE: WWDC 2011: Apple iCloud will be free, replaces MobileMe

        @max_wedge Where did that stat come from? Not saying it isn't true but I have never seen it and would be surprised if it were true.
        non-biased
      • RE: WWDC 2011: Apple iCloud will be free, replaces MobileMe

        @max_wedge To clear this up for you. Jobs said Apple will essentially store a "memory" of up to 25,000 songs for their users and allow them to download that file to their devices via the cloud. They're not storing actual MP3s. He said they have a library of over 13,000,000 songs so he feels sure that if you have it in your library, that they have it in theirs. Photos, documents, and files such as that count towards the 5GB.
        tahoetoy
    • RE: WWDC 2011: Apple iCloud will be free, replaces MobileMe

      iCloud seems useful. What's more to it?

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  • RE: WWDC 2011: Apple iCloud will be free, replaces MobileMe

    So is it piracy if I own a CD, rip it and keep the track on my phone? Why should I need to pay for music I own? What happens if I quit paying the $25/year?
    txscott
    • Their definition of piracy is simple

      @rshol

      Apple definition of piracy is that you didn't buy the file from iTunes. The music cartel's definition of piracy is that you didn't pay *enough* or *often enough* even if you technically followed the rules.
      terry flores
      • RE: WWDC 2011: Apple iCloud will be free, replaces MobileMe

        I find the concept of considing mp3s to be pirated to be offensive. My mp3s are ripped from physical cds that I have purchased, or are mp3s downloaded from artist sites as they make them available. I don't want my library considered pirated, nor do I want my mp3s replaced by aac files...
        lvirden
      • RE: WWDC 2011: Apple iCloud will be free, replaces MobileMe

        @terry flores

        I don't recall Apple (Jobs) labeling it as pirated music. I believe it was the Author that did so.
        dave95.