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Apple launches iCloud music storage service

New online storage service to rival Google and Amazon music services

At Apple’s annual developer conference, Steve Jobs made a rare public appearance to launch the company’s new iCloud service. It lets you store your music, photos, apps, calendars, contacts and documents online so that they can be effortlessly synchronised between all your iOS devices.

That means if you own an iPhone and an iPad, content is pushed to both so it’s always accessible without the need to synchronise the devices with your PC or Mac. Plus, if you purchase new music or apps from iTunes or the App Store, it will all be pushed to up to 10 iOS devices that you own.

Signing up for iCloud is free, and you get 5GB of storage. Any purchased music, apps, books plus your Photo Stream (see below) aren’t included in that 5GB, which leaves it free for email, your Camera Roll, documents, settings, videos and other data.

View our latest Apple Music discount codes

Photo Stream is a new feature of iOS 5, and is a rolling collection of your most recent 1,000 photos. When you snap a picture, it’s saved in your Photo Stream unless you choose to save it to your Camera Roll (which stores all the photos and videos you’ve taken). The 1,000 photos are automatically stored in the iCloud service and pushed to your other iOS 5 devices, and your PC or Mac (you need iCloud installed first, of course).

iCloud Photo Stream

The 2nd-generation Apple TV will also work with Photo Stream, so you’ll be able to show friends and family a slideshow of your day’s events as soon as you return: the photos will already be there ready to display on your HD TV.

iCloud also makes sure all your devices have the same apps (as long as they’re designed to work on them – an iPad-specific app won’t work on an iPhone or iPod Touch), as well as the same books and documents.

With all this stored online on Apple’s servers, you’ve always got an up-to-date backup of your settings and data should the worst happen. It also means that when you replace your iPhone, or buy a new device such as an iPad, you merely need to log in to your iCloud account to get all your stuff via Wi-Fi – no synchronisation needed.

iCloud will be available in the autumn, but the music part of it is available already for US users that have iTunes 10.3. Hopefully this will be made available to UK users shortly.

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