At its first Worldwide Developers Conference in five years without a new iPhone, Apple instead launched a dazzling display of features for its mobile devices and computers with iCloud and updated operating systems.
iCloud, announced by CEO Steve Jobs in a temporary return from medical leave, will take the place of MobileMe services to synchronize contacts, calendar events, and e-mail on different devices as well as share them with friends and family. Ad-free push mail accounts will be hosted at me.com.
Users of iCloud will also be able to download apps and books to all connected Apple devices -- including iPads, iPhones, iPods and Macs -- in one shot; up to 10 devices will be included at no additional cost, with automatic, secure backups of music, apps, books and settings to iCloud. The backups occur daily via Wi-Fi while devices are charging.
Even changes to documents are updated on synchronized devices, and users get up to five gigabytes of storage free. Prices for additional storage will be announced in the fall.
"Today it is a real hassle and very frustrating to keep all your information and content up to date across all your devices," Jobs said. "iCloud keeps your important information and content up to date across all your devices. All of this happens automatically and wirelessly, and, because it's integrated into our apps, you don't even need to think about it -- it all just works." (continued...)