Apple Opens Up iCloud Beta To Developers


Apple has given developers the chance to play with its new syncing and storage website,

The arrival of Apple’s iCloud service has moved one step closer after the beta website was opened to developers.

It was back in June that chief executive Steve Jobs unveiled Apple’s long-rumoured cloud initiative at the company’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference. At the same event the upcoming Mac OS X “Lion” and iOS 5 operating systems were also unveiled.

Essentially, the Apple iCloud stores a person’s music, video, documents and contacts in the cloud, allowing consumers to move music and movies around, share content between all their devices, albeit an iPad, iPhone or iPod, or indeed any computer running Mac OS X or Windows.

Autumn Launch

A music streaming service is also thought to be in the works, which theoretically should allow users to stream music to their device wherever they are located.

The beta site also gives access to the Find My iPhone service, and has a new section called iWork, which may be a document editing, viewing or layout tool, although this has not been confirmed at this time.

The cloud service is scheduled to launch sometime in the Autumn in the US alongside iOS 5.

But on this side on the pond UK users will have to wait a bit longer after it was revealed in June that ongoing negotiations with rights holders meant that the UK launch would be delayed until at least the first quarter of next year.

The delay is apparently down to digital copyright issues, specifically with the music industry.

US Pricing

Apple has also provided some prices for the US market only.

It will be free for the basic 5GB level, and then users wishing for an extra 10GB of storage will have to pay an annual fee of $20 (£12). 20GB will cost $40 (£25) per year, and 50GB will cost $100 (£61).

The 9to5Mac website posted some images of the website.

“iCloud Storage APIs enable your apps to store documents and key value data in iCloud. iCloud will wirelessly push documents to a user’s device automatically and update the documents when changed on any device – automatically,” Apple said on its developer site.

“iOS and Mac Developer Program members can set up iCloud for iOS, OS X Lion and Windows, and prepare their apps for the iCloud service.”

Cloud Rivals

Of course, Apple faces substantial competition in the consumer-cloud arena from the likes of, which recently launched a cloud-based locker and player for music, and Google, whose own cloud-music offering recently launched in beta.

Apple will use iCloud to replace its MobileMe sync service, which currently costs $99 per year (£61).

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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