iOS News Tech, apple, Article, Charles Arthur, Computing, Digital music and audio, Internet, Main section, Media, News, Software, steve jobs, Technology, The Guardian, UK news, United States, World news — June 6, 2011 21:24 — 0 Comments
Apple pins its hopes on the iCloud as users drift away from computers
I tried and failed to get a press pass for Apple’s 2011 Worldwide Developers Conference, so here is the Guardian’s take on it. The most interesting development is how the iCloud can be used to store and share data, with obvious benefits for smart moviemakers using their mobile devices to shoot video
Steve Jobs launched a slew of new services on Monday evening, including an online music offering that promises to let people listen to songs bought online on any Apple device with an internet connection.
The iCloud service will be free to use and be available in the autumn. For an extra a year, users can use the service to access any songs on their computer.
“Some people think the cloud is just a big disk in the sky,” said Jobs. “We think it’s way more than that.”
Jobs said the service would be increasingly important “for those people who want to be completely PC-free”, suggesting that in future people will want to operate using solely their phones and tablets and bypassing computers altogether. “The idea of the PC as the digital hub has broken down in the past few years,” he said.
Jobs, who has remained chief executive of Apple despite being on medical leave for the past six months, looked gaunt as he appeared in front of a crowd of more than 5,200 developers and media at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. After receiving a standing ovation at the opening, he gave a few brief words of welcome before quickly handing over to Phil Schiller, head of product marketing. Jobs returned almost 90 minutes later to introduce iCloud.
The company also showed off new software for the iPhone intended to make it more competitive with Google’s Android phone software, which has roared past Apple’s iPhone to take a 36% share of the smartphone market.
The iOS 5 software, which will run on iPhones introduced since June 2009, mimics a number of features available on the Google software.
But Apple also indicated that it is seeking to undermine BlackBerry maker RIM’s position in the market, by offering iMessage, which allows people to send messages directly to other iPhones or iPads – very like the BlackBerry Messenger feature which has proved hugely popular with teenagers and users in Middle Eastern countries. RIM’s stock has fallen by 40% in the past three months as investors worry that its growth has stalled compared with Apple and Android phones.
Apple’s iCloud may have required an enormous investment. It is understood to have built a data centre in North Carolina with an estimated cost of bn and measures half a million square feet.
In 2004 Jobs was treated for neuroendocrine cancer of the pancreas and in 2009 had a liver transplant. Doctors have questioned whether the 56-year old could be suffering the effects of immunosuppressive drugs needed for the transplant.
Apple’s launch of iCloud contrasts with similar offerings from Amazon and Google, which launched theirs in March and May. Amazon’s “music locker” immediately ran into criticism from the record industry after its launch because it did not seek their permission to let users listen to music stored in their online lockers – a system that some labels argued required a per-play payment.
Google managed to sign a number of the record labels, but not enough to cover everyone, and so its content is limited. Apple’s only covers songs bought from its iTunes Music Store, and not any of the user’s own content.
For users, however, the lockers are cumbersome because they have to upload any tracks they want to listen to, which would be a slow process even for the few hundred tracks that people typically own.
Apple also sought to emphasise its strength in contrast to rivals, especially companies making tablets to compete with its iPad. Scott Forstall, head of the iPhone software team, said a total of 25m iPads have been sold – implying that 5.5m iPad 2s have been sold in the past two months. At that rate, Apple could surpass its Christmas sale of 7.3m for the spring quarter, even while dozens of rivals struggle to sell more than half a million.
Forstall said that more than 15bn songs have been bought from the iTunes Store, 14bn apps have been downloaded for the iPhone, iPod and iPad, there have been 130m downloads from the iBooks store, and that developers have received .5bn on sales of apps.
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