Apple Unleashes iCloud, iTunes Match at WWDC

On Monday, Apple kicked off its annual WWDC with a bang, lifting the curtain on a variety of new offerings, not the least of which was the widely anticipated iCloud service.

During the presentation, Apple CEO Steve Jobs sad the service stores content, wirelessly pushes it to mobile devices, and – perhaps most appealingly – integrates with applications.

Answering the burning question of iCloud’s cost, Jobs says it will be available at no cost to users and available this fall to coincide with the release of iOS 5.

  • iCloud delivers syncing of contacts, calendars and mail
  • Users receive 5GB of free storage for mail
  • iCloud will be integrated in the App Store on iOS devices
  • iDevices can be backed up to the cloud
  • Backups take place exclusively over Wi-Fi
  • “Documents in the Cloud” automatically backs up documents created in Pages, Numbers or Keynote
  • “Photo Stream” will now let users to back up and sync pictures automatically to the cloud
  • In the cloud, photos will be saved for 30 days (they can be saved permanently by moving them to a designated album)

As rumored for years, iTunes is finally making its way into the clouds, as users can “redownload” songs to any iDevice at no additional cost.

“Now when I buy a song on one of my devices it automatically downloads to all of my devices without having to sync or do anything at all.” According to Jobs, “This is the first time we’ve seen this in the music industry. There’s no charge for multiple downloads to different devices.”

On Monday, Apple also introduced a new service called “iTunes Match.”

Dubbing it an “industry leading offer” with a price tag of $24.99 per year, iTunes Match will scan your entire library of songs – yes, the entire library – and subsequently match the songs up with the library of songs available in iTunes, of which there are now more than 18 million.

Jobs says the new service “will take just minutes” to do all the matching and syncing, noting that similar services from Google and Amazon are exponentially more time consuming and expensive.