Saturday, March 31, 2012

10 Good Reasons to Use Apple iCloud

Here are the reasons why Apple's iCloud is worth using.

1. Synchronization takes center stage

One of the key aspects of iCloud is synchronization. When users sync their devices, including iOS-based products or computers, with iCloud, they will be able to get the same content elsewhere. So, if users want to keep all their emails or calendar appointments synced, they can. If they downloaded applications on the iPhone and want those on the iPad, iCloud will be their best friend. iCloud delivers a hands-off approach consumers will like.

2. It has storage too

Apple will be offering 5GB of free storage with iCloud. What that means is users can upload content to the cloud and keep it there for when they might want to download it at another time. Admittedly, 5GB of data isn't ideal. Many users would like to have access to much more storage, but it's a nice start. And for the average user, it should be enough for what they need.

3. It's a free option

If iCloud was an expensive proposition, few folks would want to use it. But Apple is offeringiCloud for free. What that means is there's no risk to trying it out. If the platform works well, people will be happy to find a product that they won't need to pay for. In the case that it doesn't work well, those same people will be happy they didn't have to pay for a loser. The fact is, iCloud's price tag (or lack thereof) makes it at least worth trying out.

4. A disaster-recovery solution

One of the nice things about iCloud is that it's a suitable tool for disaster recovery. In a time when malware is everywhere and computers can die in an instant, it's nice to have something to fall back on. With iCloud, users will be able to recover synced data to their computers and iOS-based devices without much trouble. That doesn't mean that iCloud is an alternative to backing up--nothing is--but for apps, music and stored content, it should help get users back up and running quite quickly.

5. It's great for families

Apple's iCloud platform's appeal to the enterprise is undoubtedly debatable. But when it comes to families, it seems like an ideal option. With iCloud, users can take an image on one synced device and then find that the service automatically sends it to all the other devices assigned to the account. The service, called PhotoStream, could be one of the most desirable features for families. Combine that with support for music file synchronization, and close families with iPhones, iPads and computers galore should get quite a bit out of iCloud.

6. It's not just iOS and Mac

Prior to the launch of iCloud, some wondered whether the platform would only work on iOS devices and Macs. But after announcing the solution, Apple CEO Steve Jobs said that it will work with Windows PCs, as well. That's important. In order for iCloud to be a success, it needs to have multiplatform success. And because it does, there's no compelling reason for Windows users to not try it out.

7. Hands-off is a good thing

One of the key features of iCloud is that users won't need to worry about doing much, if anything, with the service. Apple has designed it to automatically sync content without requiring users to get too involved. That's a good thing. One of the biggest issues with online services that aren't so popular is that they require too much user engagement.iCloud isn't like that, making it a more worthwhile choice.

8. It's a great first step

One of the nice things about iCloud is that it promises bigger and better things for the future. Is the service perfect? Of course not. Video support and streaming music from the Web would have been great. But iCloud is, so far, a great first step in the right direction. It delivers some nice features and, based on Apple's track record with other products, will likely be updated quite frequently in the coming months and years. The future looks bright for iCloud.

9. It will appeal to MobileMe users

If there's any group that will use iCloud, it's current subscribers to Apple's MobileMe service. MobileMe's key functions, including Find my iPhone, in addition to syncing with Mail, Contacts and Calendar, are all included in iCloud. And where MobileMe users paid $99 per year for that functionality, iCloud will offer it for free. For MobileMe users, it's no-brainer to start using iCloud.

10. It'll be central to Apple's plans

Looking ahead, there's no doubt that Apple will be focusing much of its efforts on iCloud. The cloud is the next frontier in the industry, and Apple, like Google, Amazon and others, is trying its hardest to be the biggest player there. Those who are thinking about iCloudshould keep that in mind. If Apple views the platform as integral to its future, its many products will increasingly rely on the service. As that happens, consumers might not have a choice but to employ iCloud at some point in the future. Trying it now and acknowledging its importance could be the smartest move Apple customers, especially, make right now.

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