According to a new study of 2,012 developers by Appcelerator, a mobile solutions provider, and research firm IDC, app developers are seeing Apple’s new iCloud service as a major growth opportunity, in addition to – surprise – Google+. More precisely, 22 percent of respondents deem iCloud integration their top priority while one in four sees Google’s new social thing as a major opportunity. IDC analyst Scott Ellison told eWeek:

Google and Apple are pushing mobile competition beyond OS platforms into the cloud and into social integration This means even broader battles with major players like Amazon and Facebook, creating new competitive complexities and opportunities going forward for everyone in the mobile ecosystem.

The comparison may not be a good one because Google+ is (for now) another take on social networking, while iCloud is a comprehensive suite of online services involving cloud storage, information syncing and integration with iOS apps. However, it is evident that both services want to become cloud-based platforms as well. That said, iCloud is about to cause “a major disruption” in the cloud computing space, the study finds:

Developers are attracted to Apple’s new entry nearly as much as they are incumbent Amazon. Notably, iCloud beats Windows Azure over 2:1 in interest despite Microsoft’s “all-in” cloud campaign. iOS 5 recognizes the overall shift in the mobile industry toward more engaging, real-time, connected applications. It is also interesting to note that as Apple continues to drive more and more value into applications, this causes an ever-increasing separation in the industry between mobile app and web experiences.

There’s no denying that iCloud will be a major new boon for the iOS ecosystem, especially when the service opens up for public consumption this Fall, alongside the iOS 5 and iPhone 5 launches and developers update their apps with iCloud support.

Apple on Monday opened up the iCloud.com web interface to developers, revealed storage price tiers and previously flipped the switch on Documents in the Cloud, a major new iOS 5 feature letting developers write apps that sync documents via the iCloud service across Apple’s mobile devices as well as Windows and OS X PCs. This feature will be a significant differentiator as it’s bound to take Apple’s instant-on experiences and post-PC paradigm to the next level. Users will no longer have to worry about syncing, say, iWork documents created on iPhone with their iPad or a computer - it’ll all “just work”. This seamless syncing of app data and private documents is important in the post-PC era and could prove key for the rumored OS X-iOS merger taking place in 2012 or later.


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