Cloud storage is basically a commodity, as is physical storage on a local PC. It's just a spot to put stuff. The advantage of cloud storage, of course, is universal availability.
Given that it is a commodity, anyone who wants long-term, branded success in the cloud, will need some dramatic differentiation; something to set them apart from the masses. Whatever Google, HP or anyone else is doing, Apple has an advantage in the they are probably the best at that differentiation.
It sure is the best example of the private cloud being launched by one the esteemed company like Apple. Whether this icloud is offering the true cloud computing environment or not may be debatable but it is binding all the Apple products users all over the world. With such cloud service Apple can offer unified services across the globe at a very economical cost. It will be definitely a win-win situation for Apple and its customers
@Raghuraman: Cloud computing may be desirable requirement for some applications. But for Apple with devices like iPod, iPhone and iPAD - do they really need Cloud computing for their typical task? Main requirement for these Apple devices is Cloud storage and sharing data.
Making clouds available to users is not a big deal, except when it comes to communicating and sharing between and among other clouds. It's another way to ensure loyal customers for Apple and others and creates proprietary clouds for them. What happens when my Apple cloud friends want to share data with other clouds like Google's? I predict many clouds that benefit its proprietors but will do little for intertwined interdependence among disparate users. The sky will become very murky.
One of the key aspects/requirements in cloud computing is that the tasks/processes can be executed in any machine and that could indicate that 'Java' could be the key in cloud computing, running on Unix or Linux or Windows machine in the cloud. Each machine in the cloud should be able to spawn of such processes in different machines and collate their results 'sensibly'. There needs to be further consensus on what could be done in Cloud computing. Just blindly going into 'cloud computing' will lead the companies to nowhere.
I am not sure if cloud is clouding the vision of all companies. They are jointly going into the dark room each claiming in the dark to be the first in God-knows-what! Cloud computing is about computing and not about 'storage', per se. Rssentially it is not just a server which is 'broadcasting' the files requested by the user. User basically offloads some or all of his tasks into a 'cloud'.
Cloud storage shall offer backup service. Nonetheless, the infrastructure shall support fail-over which will effectively provide backup.
Going back to iCloud, it supports storage of your music through iTune. As far as I know, iTune won't upload all your music file to the cloud; instead, it will send the tag to iCloud. Then, Apple simply build a link between tags and the original music files. In addition, if you buy music through iTune, the music file will automatically be stored in iCloud. It is a very efficient way to provide cloud base music storage.
Apple mentioned $29 per year for iCloud. How much space do one get for this amount? If larger amount of cloud space is required, how much does it cost?
Also, if device is Apple, can he avail other Cloud services or is one locked to Apple iCloud only?