Apple's iCloud and Cloud Computing: 10 Key Questions Answered
The Apple World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) keynote address -- the way Steve Jobs and crew announce new initiatives to fanboys (and girls) -- was even more anticipated than usual this year, so much so that Jobs made a special appearance despite being in the midst of battling a rare form of cancer.
Apple's iCloud service was introduced June 6
Apple's update to its operating system, named Lion, certainly is worth the pomp and circumstance if you are a Mac user. But, without question, the announcement that had people buzzing was the long-awaited release of iCloud, Apple's new cloud computing service promising to sync all sorts of things across all sorts of devices. As soon as I mentioned "the cloud" to several friends, a familiar glazed look came over them and I realized there are some questions that need answering before the average user gets overly excited.
Here are ten questions answered to help you get a better grip on just what "the cloud" is.
10. What is "the cloud?"
"The cloud" refers to online storage. In short, "the cloud" is a bunch of servers that can store your information and data -- music, photos, applications, documents, e-mail, calendar events, contacts, etc. -- for you and make it accessible wherever and whenever you want it.
9. Don't I have a computer for that?
Well, yes, but there are certainly times when people want access to files when their computer isn't available. Many of us are used to being able to check our e-mail on our phone and on our computer. Think of this as a way to access music, documents and photos the same way you view e-mail.
8. Isn't that what servers are for?
Quite right, but the difference here is in the interface. Without it, you would need different kinds of software and knowledge the average person doesn't need or want. Just as you could upload a photo to an online server and send a link to someone, services like Facebook, Instagram and TwitPic have simplified the process.
7. Are there other cloud services besides iCloud?
Absolutely. For businesses, there have been a wide range of services available for quite some time. For individuals, Google and Amazon both offer cloud services. In fact, much of what Google has offered for the last year or two, Apple is just now delivering to Mac users.
6. So, why wouldn't I just use Google?
You might. If you are an Android user or a Windows user, Google might be the best choice for you. Unfortunately, the iCloud is an Apple product and, as a result, is available to Mac users only for now.