Apple's iCloud Lets Wi-Fi Take the Strain

Apple's upcoming cloud service won't bust a hole in your data cap even as it replicates music, video and photos across iPads, iPhones and Macs

Dan Jones, Mobile Editor

June 6, 2011

2 Min Read
Apple's iCloud Lets Wi-Fi Take the Strain

Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) has sidestepped the issue of bogging down 3G networks and draining mobile data plans by making its new iCloud service perform daily updates over Wi-Fi. (See What's in Apple's iCloud?)

Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the iCloud service at Apple's worldwide developers conference (WWDC) in San Francisco Monday. He described it as a digital hub in sky that will copy and replicate content from every one of the Apple devices a user owns and make it available across all of them.

"Basically, you want your content everywhere," Jobs was quoted as saying in the Engadget event feed. "We're going to move the digital hub, the center of your digital life, into the cloud."

This means that consumers can take this free service and replicate their iTunes music collection, photo, videos, iBooks, email and calendar details among multiple iOS devices. Jobs says that Apple has made the process automatic and everything from app updates to new songs will replicate between devices.

Clearly, mass daily updates could have put a strain on 3G networks and blown through 2GB or 5GB data caps on mobile plans. An album of MP3s can represent anything from 60MB to 100MB of data. So, replicating 20 or more albums -- depending on how much of a Yes fan you are -- to a new iPhone using the iCloud service over 3G could take a user over his 2GB data cap.

So, Apple has sidestepped this issue to making the daily synchronization across devices over the iCloud a Wi-Fi affair, like its popular FaceTime video chat service. Jobs didn't address what would happen with updates if no Wi-Fi signal is available.

Nonetheless, Apple has built some serious muscle behind the remote service to support its ability to replicate data across devices and even match non-iTunes songs in the cloud (for a $24.99 annual fee).

The company has just completed its third data center to power the cloud, which will be available when iOS 5.0 ships in the fall.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

About the Author(s)

Dan Jones

Mobile Editor

Dan is to hats what Will.I.Am is to ridiculous eyewear. Fedora, trilby, tam-o-shanter -- all have graced the Jones pate during his career as the go-to purveyor of mobile essentials.

But hey, Dan is so much more than 4G maps and state-of-the-art headgear. Before joining the Light Reading team in 2002 he was an award-winning cult hit on Broadway (with four 'Toni' awards, two 'Emma' gongs and a 'Brian' to his name) with his one-man show, "Dan Sings the Show Tunes."

His perfectly crafted blogs, falling under the "Jonestown" banner, have been compared to the works of Chekhov. But only by Dan.

He lives in Brooklyn with cats.

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