iCloud is a cloud storage and cloud computing service from Apple Inc. It appears as though Apple has just opened up the doors to their iCloud service for the first time, dropping the beta tag and allowing access to the general public. To actually use the service you will need either iOS 5, or the yet-to-be-released version of Mac OS X 10.7 Lion to set up the account, both of which currently are not available to the general public; however due to the recent opening of the iCloud web front it can only be a matter of time before either or both of these iCloud companions are released.

iCloud is so much more than a hard drive in the sky. It makes it quick and effortless to access just about everything on the devices you use every day. iCloud automatically and securely stores your content so it’s always available to your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, or PC. It gives you access to your music, apps, latest photos, and more from whichever device you happen to be using. And it keeps your email, contacts, and calendars up to date across all your devices. No syncing required. No management required. In fact, no anything required. iCloud does it all for you. When you sign up for iCloud, you automatically get 5GB of free storage. And that’s plenty of room, because of the way iCloud stores your content. Your purchased music, apps, books, and TV shows, as well as your Photo Stream, don’t count against your free storage.

Apple will provide 5 GB of iCloud storage for free, but iTunes music, apps, books and Photo Stream don’t count against that total. iCloud storage is consumed by documents, mail, app data, your full camera roll, settings and other device information. Additional storage costs $20 per year for 10 GB, $40 per year for 20 GB and $100 per year for 50 GB. iTunes in the Cloud, which allows users to download any song that they have bought from iTunes to their iOS device, also went live for British customers today. iTunes Match, which lets users match their music library with the iTunes database, so that those songs too are available for download, is not yet available in Britain. According to a research organization named RCM Capital Management, if Apple launch iCloud they will have at least 500 billion dollars of market partnerships.

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