Wouldn’t it be great if you had access to your entire music library at all times? And what if you could share that library amongst all your Macs and iOS devices? iTunes Match is an optional paid iCloud component that offers exactly that, and while it’s charms are obvious, there are some limitations and usability issues that make Match’s forecast a little cloudy.
Backups to the cloud encrypt and transmit your Mac’s data to online servers that could be anywhere in the world. These backups depend on a fast, reliable internet connection, and may lack the speed of local backups and restores, but they offer important advantages over backing up locally. For starters, most cloud backups offer some storage for free, with additional plans to choose from as your needs grow. Your files are kept far from where thieves could realistically reach them, and they’re protected (again, within reason) from disasters and random acts of clumsiness better than most external drives. We have yet to hear of a server brought down by a spilled iced latte at Starbucks.
OnLive's cloud-streaming gaming service allows folks to experience the latest AAA releases via a high-speed Internet connection, even if you don't have top-of-the-line hardware or a very recent Mac or PC. Following a long lead-up, OnLive is finally knocking on the door to the App Store with its submitted app, which lets iPad owners get in on the fun with either custom touch controls (for select games) or a Bluetooth wireless controller. As the app continues to await Apple's final approval, I've had a chance to try out several of the titles available on the service, and spend more time checking out the touch controls following an initial hands-on at the Penny Arcade Expo in August.
Let’s face the facts— Box.net is our third-favorite cloud storage service— just behind Dropbox and iCloud. But when Box. net offered a limited-time 50GB of free storage for life, we were determined to make it work for us. With a little tinkering (and a whole lot of third-party add-ons) we made Box.net our premiere hosting, sharing, and collaborating cloud service.
If hotcakes were selling like iPads, IHOP would be the hottest investment on the block. But hold the maple syrup -- despite the higher price tag on most Macs, Apple’s making more money off iPads these days. Its Q3 2011 iPad earnings were $6.05 billion, up 179 percent since the previous year. Meanwhile, Mac sales raked in $5.1 billion…representing gains of only 16 percent.
What’s driving the iPad’s explosive growth? The “cool factor” is certainly part of it, but the iPad’s utility is the foundation of its success. It’s terrific as a second computing device (the first being a Mac or PC), and for many of us, it’s taking the spotlight as our primary platform for work, email, browsing, and beyond. Thanks to the cutting-edge offerings in the App Store (15 billion downloads served!), it’s even more practical than ever before to handle all your productivity needs with an iPad. We’re talking photographing checks to deposit them, piping video calls to your TV, and loads more. But how?
Services like iCloud or Dropbox are handy for sharing and accessing data, but they both require you to decide beforehand that you’re going to want to access your boring work spreadsheets and photos of your new puppy while you’re away from your primary computer. Plus there’s that whole deal about trusting a third party with all your stuff—not to mention the time it takes to upload gigs of data. Presence aims to change all that by putting your entire Mac into the cloud. And you can do it without wasting any time uploading data—or worrying about trusting your stuff to Apple, Amazon, or anyone else—because it all lives on your connected Mac.
Google Docs has become the ultimate go-to place when it comes to cloud document storage. The service not only enables you to access your documents and collaborate with other users, but you can also store important files to access anywhere. However, it's always a good idea to back up those documents if, say, your internet goes out, or if Google has another flub like when Gmail managed to accidentally delete a ton of users' emails. Fortunately, there's an easy solution for backing up your files to your hard drive.
With iCloud lurking in the not so distant future, MobileMe users may be wondering what will happen to their files on iDisk. While Apple has yet to release their plan for MobileMe to iCloud transitions, we can only assume that Apple will phase out iDisk in favor of document syncing and storage in iCloud. If you’re like us, however, you’ll want to take your files off of iDisk and store them on Dropbox or another online storage service.
A few short days away from the start of WWDC 2011, and the unveiling of iCloud, Apple has reportedly cut a licensing deal with Universal Music Group which will give Apple the ability to now offer songs from the largest of the four top record companies. Not only that, but Apple has also come to agreement with some of the largest music publishers.
While other tech companies have opted to pass right on by the wishes of the music publishing world, Apple has opted to take the other path and obtain deals with the four big music labels before going live with their rumored cloud based streaming service. The latest report has Apple close to signing a deal with the fourth, however advises that last minute obstacles can always crop up.