Will Photo Sharing Come To iCloud?
Michael Harper for RedOrbit.com
Much has been written about iCloud ever since Apple introduced it last fall. The cloud-based service is meant to keep Macs in sync with iPads, iPhones and iPod Touches automatically. However, for all iCloud does well, many still consider it an incomplete service. Now, as WWDC 2012 draws nearer, the Wall Street Journal, suspected purveyor of controlled Apple leaks, is reporting that Apple plans to revamp and push iCloud even harder than before.
According to the Journal, iCloud will now do more with photos than sync them across iDevices: It will also allow users to share photos with one another.
Quoting those popular “Sources Familiar With the Matter,” the Journal says the new version of iCloud will allow users to share and comment on sets of photos from other users. These new additions to iCloud are expected to be announced during WWDC 2012, along with other features of iOS 6.
These changes come as Apple is looking to better compete in the photo sharing market, along with apps such as Flickr and recent Facebook-buy Instagram.
Apple may also be looking to allow users to sync their personal videos via iCloud, a notable absence in the current offering. Notes and Reminders could also be coming to the cloud this summer, according to the Journal.
As you might expect, Apple declined to comment on this news.
These moves could be typical of Apple’s approach to roll-outs: They will release a product that works well on its own, then continue to improve that product year after year. Case in Point: The iPhone, the iPod, the iPad and the MacBook Airs.
This kind of improvement could be beneficial to the 125 million Apple iCloud users, though Apple is approaching with caution, as rolling out new features in the cloud can tax their data centers and raise costs of data storage. During Apple’s last earnings call, CFO Peter Oppenheimer said of iCloud , “Our real desire here was not about selling more storage.”
“We just really want to increase the customer delight from the entire ecosystem and platform of our iOS devices and the Mac, and that’s why we’ve done iCloud.”
As it stands, iCloud is used to store app data, as well as movies and music purchased through the iTunes online stores. Users start off with 5 GB of free storage, and then have the option to upgrade their storage for a fee. iCloud’s current photo offerings store the user’s last 30 days worth of pictures, or 1,000 photos, in Photo Stream, which can be displayed on other iOS devices, Macs and the Apple TV.
According to the Wall Street Journal’s “Sources Familiar With the Matter,” the commenting and sharing functionalities will be a basic feature available for all subscribers.
In addition to revamping the photo features of iCloud, Apple is also expected to announce a new version of their “Maps” app at WWDC. Last week, rumors surfaced that Apple would drop Google in their Maps application and begin to do all the backend heavy lifting on their own, utilizing some of the technologies they have been acquiring for the past few years. One of the big features of the new Maps app, according to the rumors, will be a 3D mode, in which users can access an aerial, 3D view of their current surroundings.
This year’s WWDC will take place from June 11th through June 15th.