Earlier today, Apple enabled everyone to sign up for a free iCloud account. As it released iOS 5 and Mac OS X Lion 10.7.2 updates, the gadget maker has also made it possible for paid MobileMe customers to upgrade their accounts to iCloud. This requires that you first update your computers and devices to 10.7.2 and iOS 5. According to Apple’s iCloud transition page, folks who had an active MobileMe account as of June 6, 2011 will see their service extended through June 30, 2012 at no additional charge.

Not all MobileMe services will survive the transition. Mail, Contacts, Calendar, Bookmarks, Find My iPhone and Back to My Mac are all available in iCloud, but Gallery, iDisk and iWeb publishing are goners. More precisely, after the June 30, 2012 cut off time, the MobileMe service will no longer be available so you won’t be able to access your files on iDisk, albums in Galleries and web sites published to iWeb. However, MobileMe users can continue using Gallery, iDisk and iWeb publishing at me.com following the iCloud transition and through June 30, 2012.

You should also note that a bunch of Mac OS X data types will cease to sync with Apple’s servers after you make the transition to iCloud. This includes: Mail Accounts, Mail Rules, Dashboard Widgets, Dock Items, Keychain, Signature and Smart Mailboxes and Mac OS X Preferences. Apple has also published handy iCloud online help resources here.

iCloud, Apple’s free of charge online services suite to go along with iOS 5, has gone live for the general public, too. You can sign up for iCloud at icloud.com using your Apple ID credentials. iCloud gives you five gigabytes of free storage (paid upgrades are available), but content purchases on the iTunes Store don’t count against your quota. As you know, an Apple ID is a user name you can use for just about everything you do with Apple, which includes shopping the iTunes Store, logging in to iChat or MobileMe, buying products from the Apple Online Store and now it lets you access iCloud to store your content. Also, from Apple’s Mac OS X 10.7.2 support document, iCloud on OS X Lion includes the following features:

• iCloud stores your email, calendars, contacts, Safari bookmarks, and Safari Reading List, and automatically pushes them to all your devices. • Back to My Mac provides remote access to your Mac from another Mac anywhere on the Internet. • Find My Mac helps find a missing Mac by locating it on a map and allows you to remotely lock the Mac or wipe all its data.

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