June 13, 2011
by Mark Ollig
Thunderous applause greeted Apple CEO Steve Jobs, as he took the stage during last Monday’s opening of Apple Computer’s Worldwide Developers Conference.
Jobs returned from being on medical leave to speak during the keynote presentation at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.
Physically, Jobs was looking thin – but acted enthusiastically, as he walked back and forth on stage while gesturing with his hands when talking about Apple’s new iCloud.
“Now some people think the cloud is just a hard disk in the sky,” Jobs declared.
He continued, “We think it’s way more than that, and we call it iCloud.”
Apple’s newest data center complex (iCloud) is nearing completion in Maiden, NC.
Job’s described this new iCloud data center, saying, “It’s a large place and it’s full of stuff. Full of expensive stuff. We are ready, we think, for customers to start using iCloud, and we can’t wait to get it in their hands.”
It is said every cloud has a silver lining.
At a price tag of about $1 billion, this cloud’s lining must be made of gold.
Jobs presented a photo tour of the new data center on the huge screen behind him.
The aerial photo of the 500,000 square-foot data center was impressive.
Jobs pointed out the two small dots circled on the roof of the huge facility.
He smiled as he told the 5,200 in attendance the two dots were actually two men standing on the roof.
Laughter was heard from the audience.
Jobs expressed determination when he said, “If you don’t think we’re serious about this, you’re wrong. This is our third data center that we just completed.”
One source reported this data center alone has a capacity for 95,000 to 120,000 data servers.
This complex is also known as Apple’s Eastern United States Data Center, and iDataCenter.
This iCloud will be used initially for storing user iTunes music libraries, shifting the file storage role from the user’s own computer onto Apple’s iCloud.
This iCloud will eventually begin storing user’s photos, apps, calendars, documents, and other data.
Apple’s iTunes in the cloud means users no longer need be tethered to their personal computer or Mac in order to sync their iPods, iPads, and iPhones with the iTunes program. They will now be able to sync their devices with iTunes inside the Apple iCloud via Wi-Fi – from wherever they are.
It should be noted, Apple will not be storing each individual user’s song file, (which would mean having millions of copies of the same song stored in the iCloud) rather; Apple will store copies of a vast variety of songs and sync particular songs to a user’s device based on their purchases.
A person will be able to listen to the songs they have purchased on more than one device, since all of their devices will be synced with the iCloud.
It will become more cost efficient, convenient, and safer, to store and retrieve our computing content online from the new data center clouds which are being built all over the country.
Google and Amazon are examples of other companies using cloud computing.
The action will be taking place in the cloud.
Apple is working to make cloud computing something we will all, sooner or later, take for granted.
“About 10 years ago we had one of our most important insights, and that was that the PC was going to become the digital hub for your digital life,” Jobs said.
He explained this meant the PC is where we would put our digital photos, digital video, our music, and other data.
“Where else were you going to put them?” said Jobs.
Jobs explained it was “driving us crazy,” continuously backing up and synching new data between iPhones, iPods, and iPads, which required plugging these devices into a Mac or Windows PC every time they needed to be updated with the latest songs and most recent photos.
This led Apple to what Jobs described as Apple’s “next big insight.”
“We’re going to demote the PC and Mac to just be a device, just like an iPhone an iPad, or an iPodtouch, and we’re going to move the digital hub, the center of your digital life, into the cloud. Because all these new devices have communications built into them, they can all talk to the cloud whenever they want,” he said.
An example Jobs gave is, when a person takes pictures with their iPhone; those pictures would be immediately sent up into the cloud. The pictures are then “pushed down” (delivered) from the cloud to the users other devices automatically and wirelessly, everything is in sync – no user intervention is necessary.
“Everything happens automatically and there’s nothing new to learn. It just all works,” Jobs explained.
Apple services available through the iCloud will include MobileMe, App Store and iBookstore, iCloud Backup, iCloud Storage, Photo Stream, and iTunes.
Other services will follow.
Users will have access to these iCloud services via Apple’s new mobile iOS 5 platform, which is scheduled for release this fall.
For more information, go to http://www.apple.com/icloud.