(this article first appeared on Technorati)
I know what you're thinking, "I've seen about 400 articles about Apple's new cloud services offering already. Why would I want to read this one?" Well, sir, this one was written while eating Ruffle's Cheddar & Sour Cream potato chips...for breakfast! Who else can say that? Who else would even want to?
Apple has announced a revision to their current MobileMe offering that will not only give you a free email address, but also a way to sync that email, your contacts, and also calendars over all of your Mac and iOS devices. It used to be $99/year, but will cost nothing. Not only that, but this service will use your Apple ID to track all of your purchases to push new apps and songs down to all of your devices. If you buy and app on your iPhone, it will automatically download to your iPad. If you buy a song on your Mac, it will be pushed to your iPhone right away. This is all free, mind you.
Steve Jobs's favorite one of these new iCloud features was something called Photo Stream, which will be a sort of live feed of photos taken from your iPhone and other iOS devices that can be seen on all of your Mac and iOS devices. This stream will show your most recent 1000 for 30 days, which he says should be enough time to move photos out of that stream into a new Album, or permanantly moved to your Mac.
Another addition is the ability to backup your devices once a night without you having to plug into your computer. When I installed the beta of iOS 5, it asked me if I wanted to restore from an iCloud backup, which I had not yet made. Videos online show that once you add in your Apple ID credentials, all of your apps from your account start to show up and download. Email accounts, too. The future!
This may not seem like huge news to us in the IT field, but for 98% of Apple users, they don't want to have to worry about syncing once a week or plugging in to restore from a backup. Once September rolls around, Apple is going to take care of this for all of their users. Many providers are coming out of the woodwork and claming "we did this first". They're all right, but Apple could be the first company to make this an assumed feature that "just works".
I, for one, look forward to the revival of the Roaming Profile.