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iCloud: What we already know

Serenity Caldwell | Oct. 4, 2011
Yes, Tuesday's Apple event will almost certainly center around iOS 5 and the iPhone, as both rumors and fact have intimated. But what about Apple's other planned fall unveiling, iCloud?

If you want even more, however, there's iTunes Match. For $25 a year, the service will give you access to every song you own across any device you use (up to ten of them). Itching for your iMac's classic rock collection on a cross-country drive? With iTunes Match, you can download and play The Best of Kansas as you pass through Kansas. If you have any non-iTunes Store content, the service will first attempt to match it with a 256kbps-quality iTunes file; if that song isn't available in the catalog, Match will upload it to the cloud so that you can still play it on your devices.

In its current (developer-only beta) form, iTunes Match is only available to those in the United States, and prohibits users with large libraries (more than 25,000 songs) from signing up (possibly due to space constraints); we'll have to wait and see if either changes when the service officially launches to the public.

Farewell, MobileMe

When iCloud launches, it will replace Apple's former sync service, MobileMe, and depreciate several features--namely, iWeb publishing, Gallery, and iDisk, though they won't sail off into the sunset for good until June 30, 2012. Current users have had their service extended to that same date, and, come iCloud's launch, they'll be able to migrate their data to an iCloud account. (Apple has published a detailed FAQ for current MobileMe subscribers that have any additional questions.)

What's next?

Of course, this is just what Apple has told us about iCloud so far: There's a fair chance the company could pull an extra rabbit out of its hat during the announcements Tuesday. Expanding iTunes Match outside the U.S., perhaps? Document sharing between iOS apps and OS X Lion programs? An iPhone made out of literal clouds?

We'll have to wait and see.


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