iCloud

iCloud is a cloud storage and cloud computing service from Apple Inc. launched on October 12 2011. As of July 2012, the service has more than 150 million users.

iCloud runs on Microsoft Windows Azure and Amazon AWS services.

The service allows users to store data such as music and iOS applications on remote computer servers for download to multiple devices such as iOS-based devices running iOS 5 or later, and personal computers running OS X 10.7.2 "Lion" or later, or Microsoft Windows (Windows Vista service pack 2 or later). It also replaces Apple's MobileMe service, acting as a data syncing center for email, contacts, calendars, bookmarks, notes, reminders (to-do lists), iWork documents, and other data. The service also allows users to wirelessly back-up their iOS devices to iCloud instead of manually doing so using iTunes

iCloud is the latest branding of Apple's cloud computing services. It has previously been branded as iTools in 2000, .Mac in 2002, and MobileMe in 2008.
iCloud was announced on June 6, 2011, at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). Apple announced that MobileMe would be discontinued after June 30, 2012, with anyone who had an account before the unveiling of iCloud having their MobileMe service extended to that date, free of charge.

The official website, www.icloud.com, went live in early August for Apple Developers. On October 12, 2011,  iCloud became available to use via an iTunes update. iCloud had 20 million users in less than a week after launch.

A class action lawsuit by customers unhappy over the transition from MobileMe to iCloud was filed in early May 2012.

Features
The cloud-based system allows users to store music, photos, applications, documents, bookmarks, reminders, backups, notes, iBooks, and contacts, and provides a platform for Apple's email servers and calendars. Third-party iOS and OS X app developers are able to implement iCloud functionality in their apps through the iCloud API (application programing interface).

iOS device backup and restore

iCloud allows users to back up the settings and data on a device running iOS 5 or later. Data backed up includes photos and videos in the Camera Roll, device settings, app data, messages (iMessage, SMS, and MMS), ringtones, and Visual Voicemails. Backups occur daily when the device is locked and connected to Wi-Fi and a power source.

Find My iPhone

Find My iPhone, formerly part of MobileMe, allows users to track the location of their iOS device or Mac. A user can see the device's approximate location on a map (along with a circle showing the radius depicting the margin of error), display a message and/or play a sound on the device (even if it is set to silent), change the password on the device, and remotely erase its contents.

Find My Friends

In iOS 5, iCloud introduced a new feature called Find My Friends. Find My Friends is very similar to Find My iPhone, except users canshare their location with other friends or family using the feature. Concurrently with the launch of iOS 5, Apple released an app for Find  My Friends. iOS 6 added location-based alerts to notify the user when a device arrives at a certain location.

Photo Stream

Photo Stream is a service supplied with the basic iCloud service which allows users to store the most recent 1,000 photos on the iCloud servers up to 30 days free of charge. When a photo is taken on a device with Photo Stream enabled, it is automatically uploaded to the iCloud servers; from there, it is automatically pushed to the rest of the user's registered devices. The service is also integrated with Apple TV, allowing users to view their recent photos wirelessly on their HDTV.

Email

As with MobileMe (and .Mac and iTools before it), an iCloud account includes an email account. Unlike MobileMe and its previous iterations, an email address is an optional part of an iCloud account, in that the user can choose not to use it but can still use the email as their iCloud Apple ID. The email account can be accessed using any standard IMAP-compatible email client as well as the web portal mail client on iCloud.com. Additionally, on an iOS device, iCloud email is push-enabled.
Users converting existing MobileMe accounts to iCloud accounts kept their existing "@me.com" email addresses, and users whose accounts pre-dated MobileMe and had both me.com and mac.com email addresses kept both. In iOS 6 beta 3, Apple gave notice to developers that new signups would instead get "@icloud.com" email addresses. As with the .Mac to MobileMe transition, existing users get to keep their old addresses and also get a matching new icloud.com address, so messages sent to a valid account with multiple addresses all end up in the same inbox.

Back to My Mac

Back to My Mac, also previously part of MobileMe, is now part of iCloud. As before, this service allows users to login remotely to other computers configured with the same Apple ID that have Back to My Mac enabled.

URL access points

There are subdirectory (private) access points to each iCloud user's individual account functions on the main iCloud.com portal. Once signed in, these provide web access to each iCloud user's account via direct links to each function. As well as private subdirectory access points, the previous similar MobileMe service also had subdomains for public access to certain user account functions, which are currently not offered in iCloud.

Data informations:  Wekipedia
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