Apple just released an update for the Apple TV that brings a couple of new and welcome features to the platform. First, iCloud integration for television shows. There is a new "Purchased TV Shows" area that shows all shows that you have bought, either through the iTunes Store or from the original Apple TV (the current model doesn't allow purchasing, just renting.) You can go into this area for a list of shows you own, and then can drill into that show to see which episodes you've purchased, indicated by the iCloud logo. The other feature that the update brings is Vimeo support. You can now browse and play content from Vimeo, and if you have an account, you can even put in your credentials to access your inbox and mark videos you want to watch later.
The update is available now to all.
When Apple introduced iCloud at WWDC 2011, the big news was that the service would be free. Of course, Steve Jobs did make sure to mention that the 5 GB of storage included with iCloud would be more than enough "for most users," and we believe him. However, there are others out there (like us) who fall outside of that category. For example, I am only currently able to have iCloud back up just my iPhone 4. When I try to also add my iPad 2 to the backup, it errors out, telling me that I don't have enough space available, and that I need to buy ore storage space. Of course, since iCloud is still in beta, I'm unable to do that. Another iCloud user has come very close to hitting his 5 GB quota, and received the email above from Apple. Surprisingly to us, it says that once he reaches 5 GB stored, he won't even be able to receive any new email messages. Sounds like people are gonna have to really keep an eye on how much storage they are using, especially if they have more than one iOS device backing up to the cloud.
Read More | MacRumors
We've been hearing from quite a few disgruntled MobileMe subscribers who are wondering what the heck they're supposed to do now that Apple will seemingly be discontinuing the iDisk service with the launch of iCloud. As awesome as iCloud is, we do agree that iDisk is definitely a nice feature, and it's a shame to see it go away. However, Dropbox is a great alternative, and we've actually found that it often works better than iDisk does. You can sign up for free and you'll get 2 GB of space right off the bat. If you want more, you can upgrade...but it certainly doesn't hurt to try it out. Dropbox integrates right into your Finder, similar to iDisk, and gives you updates on syncing across all your devices, plus you can access your files from through the Dropbox mobile apps as well.
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The biggest player in digital music has finally vaporized its content. Starting this fall, you'll be able to store your digital music library on Apple's internet servers. We've already seen Amazon and Google's attempts at a Web-based music service, with the former's Cloud Player and the latter's Google Music Beta, but with iTunes' dominance in digital music, Apple's iCloud could eclipse both of them. Apple's offering differs from those of Amazon and Google in some big ways, though. Here's a rundown of the three services' differences and similarities.
A central difference of Apple's iCloud versus the others is that it's not just for music: It takes over all the former MobileMe's functions—email, contacts, calendar—along with backing up and syncing iOS device photos, app data, and iWork documents. Thus ends the stormy story of the MobileMe service, which even Steve Jobs noted at WWDC was "not our finest hour." This comparison, though will concern itself primarily with the music aspect of iCloud, iTunes in the Cloud. This piece is available as a beta by downloading iTunes 10.3.
A huge difference of iCloud's music capabilities is that you can't play songs from within a Web browser (at least as far as we have seen so far) as you can with both Amazon and Google's offerings. You'll either need an iOS device or iTunes running on a computer. True, this does include Windows PCs running iTunes, but forget any non-Apple tablets or phones. This lack of Web access is just less flexible. Nor can you stream music from its online storage—the music must be fully downloaded to play.
Hey, we know you wanna get a look at all the goodness announced this morning at the WWDC 2011 keynote, right? I mean, OS X Lion, iOS 5, and iCloud are Apple's new triumverate of dominance, and it would be nice to see it all unfold in front of your eyes. Just hit the link below, and you can stream the entire thing from the cloud on pretty much any device.
Read More | WWDC 2011 Keynote video
iCloud, Apple's new cloud services that Steve Jobs told us about during his WWDC 2011 keynote this morning, has already made its way into the purchase history area of the App Store. Above is an image from my iPhone 4, showing apps that I have purchased, but that aren't installed on the device. I can tap the iCloud icon to download the content right from there.
Just in case you weren't sure how influential iCloud would be next week at WWDC 2011, here's a look at one of the banners that is going up at the Moscone Center. Yep, iCloud gets top billing, right next to Mac OS X Lion and iOS 5. Apple must see iCloud as a pretty big deal, and it already told us as much. Now, we wait.
I've long since stopped kvetching over the number of things Apple chief executive Steve Jobs can attach an "i" to and call his own. The maverick CEO's track record is just too darn good. Now that we know that Apple's iCloud is a real thing, there's no sense in wondering how Jobs can have the gall to rebrand cloud computing. I'd rather focus on what Apple will do with the cl...er... iCloud now that Apple has adopted it as its own.
Is Apple new to the cloud? If you accept that at the most fundamental level, cloud computing is simply a matter of thin clients (hardware or software) accessing Internet-based services and intelligence, then the answer is no. Consider Apple's reliance on streaming services for Apple TV's TV show and movie rentals, or the way genius playlists work.
iCloud, which Apple will officially unveil at next week's World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC), will be more, and streaming content is only the beginning. Obviously, we expect some sort of cloud-based, access-anywhere music library. Apple may even cave and offer a subscription-based music service. These plans will only succeed if Apple has done what Google failed to do with Google Music Beta: convince the major labels to let consumers store and access purchased (and rented) music from central servers.
I think music labels fear this not only because they worry about losing further control of the digital bits that make up their vast song libraries, but because no one will ever buy more than one copy of a song again, and if they get subscription access, they're done buying music—period.
This morning, Apple put out a press release letting the world know that they'll be showing off iOS 5, OS X Lion, and iCloud, their long-awaited cloud service/MobileMe revamp, next week at WWDC. Oddly enough, Apple only went as far as naming iCloud, and called it an "upcoming cloud services offering." Now, we aren't expecting them to go into full detail in a press release, but why even name it at all? We're guessing it's because Apple really wants to set the expectation that WWDC will be focusing on software, softening the blow that will inevitably come when the masses are complaining about the lack of an iPhone 5 hardware reveal. The press release lets us know Apple's WWDC intentions and plans, and sets the expectations accordingly.
WWDC kicks off in six days, and of course, we'll have details of all the announcements as they're made. By the way, the press release also confirms that the incomparable Steve Jobs will be taking the stage at WWDC.
If the CNET report is true, Apple only needs to close deals with Sony Music Entertainment and Universal Music Group now before it secures unprecedented, legitimate access to music from all "Big Four" labels.
In March, Amazon launched its cloud music locker without such rights and faced threats of legal action; it is now reportedly in talks with the labels to secure licensing agreements. Google launched Google Music at its Google I/O event a couple weeks ago.
In April, CNET reported that Apple had inked a deal with Warner Music and "at least one of the remaining three" major music labels. Apple has not officially acknowledged the development of a cloud-based music storage service, but speculation is rife after reports "confirming" the development with unnamed sources. Furthermore, the company recently built a massive data center in North Carolina, reportedly meant to host a video streaming service.