Opinion: Has Apple finally promoted iCloud from a hobby to a serious service?

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I wrote a piece last month arguing that it was time for Apple to up its iCloud game, showing that the company is serious about cloud storage by focusing more on fast, reliable syncing, and by matching the functionality, storage capacities, and pricing of Google Drive.

In the WWDC keynote, Apple did exactly that. MobileMe may not, in Steve Jobs’ words, have been Apple’s finest hour, but it did at least include iDisk – an online drive we could access directly to store anything we liked – not just documents created in Apple’s own apps. It’s been a long time coming, but iDisk is finally back in the form of iCloud Drive.

The new iCloud pricing, too, looks set to be exactly what I asked for – comparable to Google Drive…  Read more

New Steve Jobs email a treasure trove of information about Apple TV, Google ‘holy war,’ and behind-the-scenes strategy

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A new email from Steve Jobs that was published during today’s Samsung lawsuit (via The Verge) has revealed a lot about Apple’s plans for its products in 2011 and beyond. As we’ve previously noted, Jobs referred to 2011 as a year of “holy war” against Google, but this document goes above that and describes how exactly Apple planned to wage this war.

A few choice bits are below, followed by the complete email.

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Is paid iCloud storage a good deal, or can you do better? Cloud storage roundup

With former MobileMe customers losing their additional 20GB of free storage a couple of days ago, there are probably a bunch of new people eyeing the paid iCloud upgrade options and wondering whether or not to hand over their cash. So we thought it would be a useful to take a look at the other major cloud storage services out there, to see how they compare.

As none of them are trying to hide the filesystem in the way Apple does, they all essentially work in the same way: providing you with a virtual online drive that you treat just like a local folder. There are also OS X and iOS apps for each.

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Let’s start with the obvious: if you want something that is totally integrated into both OS X and iOS, and which Just Works, then iCloud is king.

Although the 5GB you get free doesn’t sound like a lot, you actually get more than this in practice – because Apple doesn’t count the space used by any of your iTunes purchases (apps, music, movies/TV shows or books), nor does it count the 1000 most recent photos you get to store in Photostream. If most of the content you want to store came from Apple, and all you want to do additionally is sync your contacts, calendar, notes and so on, the free storage is probably all you need.

iCloud is also a seamless way to store documents if you use Apple’s own iWork software: Pages, Numbers and Keynote. By opting to save documents on iCloud, they are automatically available to you from your Mac(s), iPad and iPhone – as well as on the web.

But if you have a lot of documents, you can pretty soon start bumping up against that 5GB limit. Which is where iCloud’s costs and limitations start to show up …  Read more

Apple extends complimentary iCloud storage for MobileMe users until September 30th 2013

9to5Mac readers who migrated from MobileMe are reporting that their complimentary extra storage has been extended an extra year. Apple’s support doc is here.

From: iCloud <noreply@icloud.com>
Date: October 5, 2012, 3:38:18 PM PDT
To: 9to5mac
Subject:Your complimentary iCloud storage upgrade has been extended at no charge
Reply-To:no-reply@apple.com

When you moved your MobileMe account to iCloud, we provided you with a complimentary storage upgrade beyond the standard 5GB that comes with an iCloud account to help you with the transition. Originally, this storage upgrade was set to expire on September 30, 2012.

As a thank you to our former MobileMe members, we will continue to provide you with this complimentary storage upgrade at no charge, for an additional year, until September 30, 2013. No action is required on your part. For complete details, please read this article.

iCloud Team

All of the details from Apple’s Support Doc:

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Apple’s iCloud outage finally ends but some of those users left with malformed emails

The iCloud outage, which began Tuesday and affected roughly 2 percent of Apple’s 200 Million iCloud users, now appears to be over. However, some iCloud users wrote to tell us that Apple just dumped all of their email into the Inbox with 12/31/69 dates and jumbled Subject lines. One reader’s email now looks like this:

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An excerpt from his frustrated email is below. I hate to say this about a company that makes the best hardware and OS software in the world, but it would be hard to trust my junkmail to iCloud at this point.

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Small number of users report total iCloud email loss, Apple working on the problem (Update: Apple acknowledges)

A discussion thread on Apple’s support forum appeared last night from a user who claimed all of his iCloud content disappeared without warning. A further glimpse at the following comments revealed the same situation occurred for a number of iCloud users.

One commenter, npascual, said an Apple support representative “acknowledged last night’s outage,” and then suggested the user “turn off all iCloud-related services on my iPad (Mail, Contacts, Calendars, etc.), wait a bit then turn them back on.”  The representative apparently indicated “everything would return after a short period of re-synching.” However, npascual noted it had been a few hours since the call without any repair.

Check out the full thread here.

9to5Mac reached out to Apple on this matter, and we will update when more is known.

UPDATE: Well, Apple is owning up to the problem, according to its System Status page, but the company is neglecting to give an explanation as to what is happening.

More thread comments are below.

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Apple disables iCloud and MobileMe push email in Germany due to patent fight with Motorola

Apple informed customers in Germany that push email on both MobileMe and iCloud services were disabled due to the company’s patent fight with handset maker Motorola Mobility. According to a support document Apple quietly published today, “Due to recent patent litigation by Motorola Mobility, iCloud and MobileMe users are currently unable to have iCloud and MobileMe email pushed to their iOS devices while located within the borders of Germany.”

Push still works for Contacts, Calendars and other items and it is unaffected on OS X. Moreover, the affected users can still access the iCloud/MobileMe email service by manually checking for messages or using the Fetch setting. Apple also wrote the following line in the support document:

Apple believes Motorola’s patent is invalid and is appealing the decision.

As you will recall, Motorola filed an iCloud-related lawsuit on April Fools’ Day. It recently won an injunction and provided a €100 million bond to enforce it. Apple detailed how the patent suit affects the iCloud/MobileMe email service:

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Emails from RoadRunner and Comcast not playing nice with Apple’s servers

The Apple discussion boards are starting to heat up with an issue related to users not receiving emails from particular domains sent to their me.com/ .mac accounts. The problem appears to specifically related to RoadRunner and Comcast domains, and is affecting users across the U.S.

The issue is related to me.com accounts being unable to receive emails from rr.com and comcast.com domains. One user reports being unable to receive emails from “hawaii.rr.com”, while others report the same for “tampabay.rr.com”, and “rochester.rr.com”. It appears Apple’s servers aren’t playing nice with the domain, although some users report receiving emails up to 24 hours late, which would indicate the domain isn’t being blocked entirely. Emails forwarded from one account, such as an rr.com account, to a .me account are apparently not affected.  There are a few mentions of the same issue for emails sent from Comcast.net as well.

Just today my boss’s emails stopped showing up in my inbox – online, in Mail, or on my phone.  I am able to send files to him.  He is sending and receiving emails.  The problem seems to be entirely between hawaii.rr.com (his email, time warner/roadrunner) and my .me/.mac mail account (neither work).  I am able to use my gmail account and my .me/.mac account just fine together.

At this point the problem seems to be inconsistent, but impacting a lot of users across the country nonetheless. Users in the Apple Support Communities report that Comcast claims it’s a “a .mac problem”, while one poster says rr.com has forwarded the issue to their engineering team. Most seem to believe it’s an issue on Apple’s end. We’ll keep you posted when Apple addresses the problem.
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Apple may allow users to merge iTunes, iCloud logins

A frustration for many users in the past is the fact that Apple IDs are currently not able to be merged. As Apple’s iOS 5 and iCloud near launch, Apple might be taking an important step to allow the merging of Apple IDs. iOS 5 includes several services such as iMessage, iCloud integration, Game Center, FaceTime, iTunes, the App Store, and iBooks.

Some users are frustrated because all of those services are spread across multiple Apple IDs. For example, some people have a separate Apple ID for iCloud (especially migrators from MobileMe) and for iTunes/App Store/iMessage/FaceTime, etc. According to an answer from Apple’s executive relations team, as reported by MacRumors, Apple could be readying a solution that merges all of a user’s Apple IDs:

Tim Cook about the issue, and quickly received a phone call from an Apple executive relations employee. She had spoken to the team responsible for Apple IDs and acknowledged that they understood the issue and that more people would run into the problem with iCloud. She also repeated that there is no way yet to combine accounts but revealed they are working on it. In the meantime, she recommended picking a single account to plan on keeping indefinitely and to make all future purchases on that account.

There you have it.? Read more

Apple seeds iOS 5 beta 7, iTunes 10.5 beta 7, Xcode 4.2 beta 7 to developers (full change log)

Apple has just released iOS 5 beta 7 to developers as an over-the-air update. iOS 5 includes new features like Notification Center, Twitter integration, Newsstand, and iCloud support. The software update will become publicly available this fall, likely alongside the new iPhone lineup in early October. Apple has released iTunes 10.5 beta 7 and Xcode 4.2 beta 7 as well. Apple has also just released Safari 5.1.1 update 3. Let us know at tips@9to5mac.com anything you find!

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We’ve found that in the Wi-Fi sync settings there is now support for multiple Macs. Under each Mac you’ll find what categories your iOS devide will sync to. Thanks Christoph!

Additionally, the Nuance Text to speech is now available as a menu item (below)

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The following issues relate to using the 5.0 SDK to develop code.We’ve pasted the full change log for the new beta after the break:

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Apple’s iCloud built using the SproutCore framework

Apple’s new iCloud Web apps are built using the same SproutCore Javascript engine that was used throughout MobileMe.  If the favicon above doesn’t prove it, looking at the underlying code below seems to offer undeniable evidence.

SproutCore describes itself as an open-source framework for building blazingly fast, innovative user experiences on the web.

Here’s a nice interview with Charles Jolley, one of the founders of SproutCore and previous MobileMe Javascript Frameworks Manager.  He left Apple about a year ago to start Strobe – a device agnostic Web publishing engine based on…you guessed it, SproutCore.

Interestingly, SproutCore lists Strobe Inc. as its parent company.

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