Steve Jobs Unveils The iCloud. Your Cheat Sheet To What Promises To Usher In A New Era

by Mara Siegler · June 6, 2011

Apple CEO and guy the AP likes to write advanced obits for, Steve Jobs, unveiled iCloud, a new service that promises to usher in the "cloud" era, today at the Worldwide Developers Conference.  "We are going to move the digital hub, the center of your digital life, into the cloud," he said.  Well, OK, cool. But what does that mean?

Here are the basics:

The iCloud replaces Apple's MobileMe document-sharing offering

Apple is offering 5 gigabytes of free storage on iCloud for mail, documents and backup.

Your music and documents are stored on large servers instead of on personal hard drives so when you're computer crashes or you buy a new one, you can access all your stuff from anywhere through the Internet.

You will be able to download your iTunes songs to as many as 10 devices, instead of five. "Any song I buy on any device will automatically be downloaded to all my devices," Jobs explained. This is available now with an iOS 4.3 update.

iTunes Match, a software coming this Fall that can be purchased for just $24,99 a year,  will scan all the non-iTunes music in a library and allow users to access it through iCloud.

Automatic backup functions for all devices.

If you are reading a reading a book on an iPad, you can pick it up again later on the same page on an iPhone. Kind of trippy.

A PhotoStream service allows a person to take a photograph on an iPhone, upload it to iCloud, then download it to all devices, from the iPad to a Mac to Apple TV. Photos will be stored for 30 days and it holds 1,000 photos.

And to break it down even further, this new thing is, in one word: awesome.

[Top image via]