Apple's iCloud will finally be here October 12, providing wireless backup and syncing for your apps, songs, documents, books, photos, videos, calendars and contacts. Best of all, it's free. Here are a few of iCloud's more notable features.
A centralized hub
iCloud will store your photos, videos, music, contacts and other files, which are accessible from any compatible device, whether that be laptop, desktop, iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch.
iCloud is free. That means every user gets 5GB of space to do as they feel with. Whether you want to upload video, music, photos or books to access on the go, it's your choice. If you need more than the free 5GB, you can buy an additional 10GB (15 total) for $20/year; an additional 20 (25 total) for $40/year; or 50GB (55 total) for $100/year.
iTunes in the cloud
iTunes will take the tracks you purchase in the iTunes Music store and automatically make a copy from their servers accessible to you for syncing on the go (you can enable up to 10 devices per account). However, if you want to match songs that you havent purchased through iTunes, it will cost $25 a year to have iTunes match as many tracks as you want. Plus, what iTunes in the cloud matches doesn't count against your 5GB limit, which will come in handy for those with large music libraries. More on that here, but iTunes Match won't be available until the "end of October."
iOS and OS X app integration
Many of MobileMe's features have been rewritten as apps that function in the cloud and deeply integrate with the apps on iOS devices and computers (Mac or PC). If you update a contact on your iPhone, that contact is added to your lists on your other Apple devices. Add a new calendar event in iCal, and it will show up on your iPad or any other device. Plus, all iCloud users get an email address that will have push updates enabled.
When you snap a photo, you can send it up to iCloud, where it will beam it down to your computer and other iOS devices, but will also live on Apple's servers for 30 days. Photo apps on Apple devices will have a feature called Photostream, which will bring up a thumbnail array of all the photos.
Find my friends
You can set entire blocks of your day to share locations, and at the end of the day, it automatically turns itself off. It's trying to take location sharing beyond the check-in, and it seems very cool.
App purchase history
Remembering what apps you've purchased in the appstore can be tricky. Especially when you need to redownload or install them on a second device. iCloud now keeps track of all your purchased apps in a single list, and allows you to directly download those apps from the list.
Now that iWork is on all iOS devices, it will automatically auto-save a copy of your progress made with the iWork suite of productivity apps, which is accessible by other devices.. That includes Pages (word processor), Numbers (spreadsheets), and Keynote (presentations).
Apps on iOS and OS X will have API access to store documents. Programs like Evernote could theoretically store and sync documents using iCloud.
Apple merges all your accounts into one
You won't have to choose which Apple ID or MobileMe account you want to run with. You can consolidate them into one.
App history, device settings, new photos, and purchased music, apps and books will all be sent up to iCloud automatically. El Jobso claims that "it just works."
Images Courtesy of MacLife