Apple Launches Beta Version Of iCloud
Apple’s iCloud has been much anticipated for some time now, with speculative reports surrounding its’ official release date growing in frequency over the last few weeks. Good news for all those eager to try out the new cloud-based service then, as Apple have finally released the Beta version of iCloud – available to all customers with an official Apple ID.
The Beta version features online versions of the iWork suite (Numbers, Pages and Keynote), as well as the ‘Find My iPhone’ app, Mail, Contacts and Calender. To take advantage of iCloud Beta, you’ll need to visit iCloud.com from iOS 5, which is currently only available to those registered as an Apple developer. Apple has suggested that you can also access the service via Mac OS X Lion, although reports are already surfacing of people having trouble accessing iCloud via the Lion OS X.
As you would probably expect, the service is already drawing comparisons with Amazon’s Cloud Drive, particularly as Apple have released their official pricing structure for the online service.
Whereas Amazon’s cloud service offers unlimited music storage completely free of charge, as well as an additional 20GB of space for $20 (around £12), Apple’s iCloud will not include their cloud music services and will offer 5GB of space for free. Additional space on the iCloud service is available in increments of 10, 20 and 40GB, costing $20, $40 and $100 respectively.
Whether or not the iCloud suite will be as popular as the Apple’s other recent offerings remains to be seen, as as yet the Beta version of iCloud appears to be little more than a tweaked version of the MobileMe suite, which has been available to users for some time.
There’s no doubt that a big element of the future of the way we use computers and access our data lies in cloud computing, but which company will become the dominant providers of such services remains a mystery. Whatever happens, it will certainly be interesting to follow the cloud-based developments over the next few months.