iCloud Is Out Of Beta And Ready For All
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online
Apple’s new “digital hub” has been working to keep Macs in sync with iOS devices and iOS devices in sync with one another for over a year now.
Introduced during last year’s WWDC in San Francisco, iCloud replaced Apple’s other attempts at cloud-based computing and cloud syncing, such as MobileMe, .Mac and iTools.
This year’s launch of Mac OS 10.8, or Mountain Lion, brought even more iCloud advancements to Apple desktop and laptop computers, keeping an iPad and iPhone users’ calendars, contacts, mail and notes all in sync across all Apple devices.
But what of those iPhone and iPad toting PC users who have yet to be brought in by the halo effect of iOS?
This summer, Apple rolled out a web portal of iCloud which gave these users access to their notes, calendars, contacts, etc. Though freely available to anyone with an Apple ID, this web portal of iCloud had remained in beta until yesterday.
Now, iCloud.com has been fully launched into the world, ready to be accessed and used by any and all.
Users only need to enter their Apple ID credentials to access this information from any browser. Once logged in, users will see those 7 icons (Mail, Contacts, Calendar, Notes, Reminders, Find My iPhone and iWork) hovering above Apple’s now ubiquitous linen backdrop.
Clicking the Mail icon will bring users to an interface which very closely resembles the OS X mail app. This web-based version of mail has also rolled out a new feature set to make an appearance in iOS 6: The VIP folder. Just as it sounds, any incoming mail from a person designated as a VIP will be stored in this folder, making it easy to find messages from contacts with whom you email regularly or from close friends and family.
Contacts on iCloud.com also closely resembles the skeuomorphic leather-bound address book from the iPad, displaying every contact currently stored within iCloud. Just as you can with any other device, users can add, delete or edit contacts from any web browser. Calendars, notes and reminders are all doppelgängers of their iOS counterparts as well, and each offer the same functionality as an iPad or iPhone in a web-based environment.
One incredibly useful and potentially digital lifesaving element of iCloud.com is Find My iPhone. This app is available on all iOS devices as well as any Mac running Lion or Mountain Lion. Should any of these devices go missing, Find My iPhone will allow users to send a sound to said device, helping them locate it, should the thing be lost in the couch cushions or laundry somewhere. However, if the device has been missing for a while or is thought to be stolen, Find My iPhone can lock the device and even completely wipe it remotely. This app works on all devices, of course, but putting this ability on the web can be a huge help in just the right situation.
For instance, anyone who has ever had their Apple trinity (iPad, iPhone, MacBook) tucked away in their bag at one time knows that a simple swipe from a passerby could render them absolutely vulnerable and without anyway to immediately track these devices.
Find My iPhone on the web lets users locate their devices (or the devices of their family and spouses, should they be registered with the same Apple ID) from the web as well.
Finally, iWork on iCloud on the web gives Keynote, Numbers and Pages users one place to instantly find these files and projects on any computer. From the iCloud web portal, users can find these documents, download them for editing or changes, then upload the changed version back to iCloud.com.
iCloud.com is up now and ready for your perusal. While it’s great to know your information is easily accessible from anywhere, it’s also important to make sure your Apple ID password is as secure as it can be.