Sunday, June 5, 2011

Apple's iCloud to Drive Bandwidth Usage

Apple's newly unveiled iCloud, along with wireless updates for untethered iOS devices, promise significant convenience for users and potentially huge amounts of new traffic for service providers.

iCloud offers 5 GB of free storage for music, photos, apps, calendars, documents, etc. The automated service effortlessly collects content from the user, stores it and then pushes a copy to all devices associated with the account. With over 25 million iPads and more than 100 million iPhones and iTouch devices already in customer hands, the amount of data traversing the network will be huge. In addition, music, books and apps purchased through iTunes does not count toward the 5GB limit.

iCloud Backup automatically and securely backs up iOS devices to iCloud daily over Wi-Fi when you charge your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. This includes home screens, text and MMS messages, and ringtones.

iTunes in iCloud automatically pushes all songs, whether purchased or ripped, to all iPads, iPhones, iPod touches, Macs, and/or PCs associated with the account.

Apple's new Photo Stream, which also does not count toward the 5 GB limit, will use iCloud to automatically share any new photos with all other devices on the account. Apple will let users keep a rolling stream of their 1,000 latest photos constantly updated for free via Photo Stream. Photo Stream is built into the photo apps on all iOS devices, iPhoto on Macs, and saved to the Pictures folder on a PC.

Apple's iWork apps will be automatically backed-up and distributed in iCloud.

Apple is providing APIs for other mobile and Lion OS apps to automatically use iCloud as a background service.

Wireless updating for iOS 5 -- iPhones and iPads no longer need to be associated with a Mac or PC to register or to get OS updates. The updates can be delivered over Wi-Fi or via 3G, potentially moving gigabytes of OS updates for hundreds of millions of devices onto mobile networks.

OS X Lion will be delivered exclusively via the Mac App Store. At 4 GB in size, traffic is expected to spike when Lion is released sometime in July.

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