iCloud: Features and Competitors
With the release of iCloud, Apple has revolutionized the process of storage and interaction via the cloud computing technique. The best part about iCloud is that it is free. It does not charge subscribers any sort of fee during the usage of most of the iCloud services.
The specific services provided in iCloud are discussed in the paragraphs below.
- iCloud facilitates its subscribers by offering synchronization of mail, address book and calendar. The brilliant and unique aspect about this service is that it functions as a PUSH feature. This means that an update made by any user device will automatically be PUSHED to the rest of the connected devices without having to manually synchronize the events as in previous cloud computing services.
- Photo-stream service automatically saves and synchronizes the user’s camera roll into the cloud from where it can be accessed by any Apple device. There isn’t any need to manually transfer the photographs or keep a back up in case of a device crash.
- iTunes, like Photographs can also be accessed from any connected device without having to transfer any particular file manually to a specific destination. iTunes Match is another service incorporated in the iTunes feature; for a nominal fee or $24.99, the user has access to over 18million songs present in the database and can stream these songs whenever he wants to. The process of working and saving a user’s documents is also revamped in iCloud. The iWork suite will automatically save the user’s documents in the cloud to prevent any chances of data loss. This also means that a user can access or modify his documents using any device that is connected to the cloud while the changes made will be automatically updated.
Around 130million iBooks will be available to potential Cloud users who can download and purchase these books from the iBookstore. These iBooks can be opened using any Apple device which is in sync with the Cloud.
iCloud also provides the vital and crucial feature of wireless backup. Any information that is changed, updated or revised is automatically and instantly saved into the Cloud. This means that none of the user’s files is at a risk of being lost in case of device failure.
Despite making a late entry in the cloud computing technology race, iCloud has already created shockwaves in terms of consumer attraction and services as compared to older cloud services. Its biggest competitor is Google, a pioneer in providing cloud services. So far, iCloud has been unable to displace Google in the cloud computing field because Google provides the same reliable services as iCloud does. Another major competitor is Amazon which launched its cloud computing services in March 2011. The price factor has caused Amazon to lose some of its market power as it doesn’t provide majority of its services for free. Other cloud computing service providers such as Box.net and Sugar Sync have still managed to hold a small percentage of users by offering attractive packages for data storage at reasonable rates.
By Chuck Weaver