iCloud Now Has 85 Million Users

iCloud logo

 

Today, Apple announced its best quarter ever and its share price soared past $450 in the after hours. In addition, Apple also revealed some interesting numbers during their financial conference call. A little over three months ago, Apple launched iCloud. The company announced that over 85 million users are syncing their devices through iCloud. This comes from Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, during today’s Q1 2012 financial earnings call.

It goes to show that the growth rate is incredible and eclipses the total number of iOS devices sold during the same time frame. During that time frame, 64 million iOS devices were sold! In fact, that’s also more users Dropbox reported in late 2011. I remember, when the service first launched, people said nobody would use it, but look who’s talking now!

iCloud is a free service that stores all your content and seamlessly syncs it across all your devices. It replaced the company’s predecessor paid subscription service called MobileMe with a more seamless and free service. The service being offered for free would probably explain the tremendous growth iCloud is seeing.

Apple Building Solar Farm for Data Center

Early this year, Steve Jobs talked about what powers iCloud during his WWDC keynote  . It is a huge data center in Maiden, North Carolina that is 500,000 square feet and is about five times the size of the company’s existing Silicon Valley data center. Also, it costed $1 billion to build, which is  twice what Google and Microsoft generally invest in their cloud data centers.

Apple Data Center

Today, The Charlotte Observer reports that  Apple has begun work on a solar farm adjacent to its massive new data center in Maiden, North Carolina. According to the report,  Catawba County permits have been issued giving Apple approval to begin preparations for the solar farm. When asked about the project, the company declined to comment. If this report turns out to be true, it just goes to show how much Apple cares about the environment. They clearly do care! County engineer, Toni Norton, said more information about Apple’s plans would be available when the company applies for a building permit.

The new solar farm is likely generate a significant amount of power for the facility, although Catawba County officials are yet to see building plans. Local permits show that the lot approved is  171 acres of vacant land on Startown Road that Apple  has acquired. In addition, according to the report, engineering plans have yet to show details about the solar farm.

The project is code named as  “Project Dolphin Solar Farm A Expanded” and it had previously been revealed that the data center was codenamed “Project Dolphin.” Definitely, sounds like an Apple project to me. ;)

Get 50GB Free Space on Box.net for Lifetime

Apple fans: As if things weren’t good enough already, Box.net has an offer that will blow your mind! , Social Media Manager at Box.net, announced on their official blog, that iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch users will get 50GB of lifetime storage for free if they sign up for a Box Personal account.

50GB Free

The offer started at midnight of October 13th and will extend for 50 days. The Box account isn’t restricted to just the mobile device, either, so you can use it with your PC. Below are the instructions stated on their website to set up a new account.

  1. Visit the app store and download the Box app for your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch
  2. Log in to your account or register for a new one directly from the app
  3. Start sharing and collaborating in the cloud
  4. (optional but recommended) Tell the world how you’ll use your 50 GB with the hashtag  #Box50GB

It is obvious that Box.net is trying to capitalize on the iPhone 4S euphoria. Not only that, but you have to believe that the introduction of Apple’s iCloud has a little to do with it, as well. All new Apple devices now come with the iCloud. This basically gets you 5GB of online storage for free. The iCloud’s seamless integration with iPhone/iPad devices threatens to take market share from companies like Box.net. It’s understandable that Box.net would come out in full swing.

This is a great promotion and, according to their blog, there will be other contests and tips coming in the next 50 days, so you might want to stay tuned.

What about you? Is this a service that you would like to take advantage of? Let us know your thoughts and if you are considering this as part of your app collection.

Don’t forget to read our earlier article about how you can mount Box.net in Windows Explorer.

Apple Working on International iCloud Music Rights for October 4th?

iCloud logo

Earlier this week, Apple announced that they will be holding an event for the next-generation iPhone on October 4. Today, CNet’s  Greg Sandoval reports that Apple is trying to obtain international cloud-music licenses from record companies and publishers. These licenses would be similar to the ones they acquired for iCloud. Nothing is confirmed yet, but word has it that  Apple is said to be close to reaching deals.

Sandoval believes that Apple will announce an international option at next Tuesday’s press event if the company is able to “wrap up negotiations in time.” Apple has invited members of the press to a “Let’s talk iPhone” event scheduled for 10 a.m. PST on Oct. 4.

Sources familiar with the discussions between Apple, record companies, and music publishers, say Apple is seeking international music licenses for its iCloud service. The licenses would be similar to those the company has already obtained for U.S. operations, the sources said.

Apple’s iCloud offers number of different backup and syncing services over the air. If the company is able to reach a deal, iCloud could be made available in  Germany, France and the UK.  Previous  estimates  had suggested the UK support to be delayed until 2012.

iCloud is a new feature in iOS 5, which is expected to be launched “this fall. iOS 5 will be available for free to iOS device users.

Apple to Reset iCloud Backups Sept. 22 Ahead of iOS 5 GM

Apple has published a notice on its developer board regarding iCloud backup data. The company is planning to reset iCloud backup data on September 22nd hinting at a final iOS 5 release. Developers using iCloud during the beta won’t have the option of backing up or restoring between 9AM and 5PM PST that day.

iOS 5 features

iOS 5 has been undergoing developer testing since its announcement back in June, and since then Apple has provided 7 betas. A rumor  suggests that Apple will release iOS 5 GM to assemblers on September 23rd. In addition, another rumor suggests  that Apple’s AppleCare department is prepping for a launch on October 10th. Usually, a golden master version of software is identical to the code that eventually becomes the final release to the public.

On Thursday, September 22, the iCloud Backup data will be reset. Backing up to iCloud or restoring from an iCloud backup will be unavailable from 9 AM PDT 5 PM PDT. If you attempt a backup or restore during this time, you will receive an alert that the backup or restore was not successful. After this reset, you will be unable to restore from any backup created prior to September 22. A full backup will happen automatically the next time your device backs up to iCloud.

Apple had said that iOS 5 would launch “this fall” which technically begins on September 23rd. In addition, the company is expected to send out invites for a fall event soon.

Apple Reopens iTunes Match Beta to Additional Developers

The iTunes Match beta was initially opened last month, but closed to new registrations within a few hours after the initial quota of developers was reached. Today, Apple has sent out an email to registered developers notifying them that iTunes Match beta has reopened to additional developers in the United States.

iTunes Match beta testing has now been expanded to additional developers in the United States.

iTunes Match stores your music library in iCloud and allows you to enjoy your collection from anywhere, any time, on your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or computer. Any of your songs, including music you’ve imported from CDs, that matches with the 18 million songs in the iTunes Store will become available in iCloud and will play back at iTunes Plus quality (256 Kbps DRM-free AAC) — even if your original was of a lower quality.

Apple says that developers must upgrade to the new iTunes 10.5 beta 8 in order to use iTunes Match, and continues to warn that all iCloud libraries will be deleted at the end of the beta testing period. So users should be sure to retain copies of their music libraries.

iTunes Match Beta Reopened email

iTunes Match is a new service that allows users to pay for an annual subscription that will make their  entire existing music collection (including songs not purchased through iTunes) available from Apple’s cloud servers. The service is priced at $24.99 per year, and is expected to launch alongside iOS 5 this fall.

iCloud Communications Drops Trademark Suit

In June, the Arizona company previously known as iCloud Communications had sued Apple after the company had unveiled its iCloud service at the Worldwide Developers Conference this year. The claim was that Apple has “a long and well known history of knowingly and willfully treading on the trademark rights of others.”

iCloud logo

Today, the Phoenix New Times reports that the motion for voluntary    dismissal with prejudice, which would prevent the company from refiling the suit, was filed on Sept. 1. The company has changed its name to  Clear Digital Communications and PhoenixSoft. In addition, its former domain  geticloud.com has been taken down.

A reporter from the PhoenixNew Times outreached to the company, when the person who answered the phone, he admitted that he’s not sure what the company is called. When asked about the report, he answered the phone by saying    “iCloud Communications,” he said it was a “bad habit.”

Apple first filed for the iCloud trademark in Jamaica last December, then in Europe in June. iCloud is expected to launch this fall alongside iOS 5. It will offer a cloud-based backups and syncing of media, documents and other data.

You can read more about Apple’s iCloud here.

Apple Seeds Developers New iTunes 6.1 Beta with iCloud iTunes Match

Today, Apple has released iTunes 6.1 beta to developers. iTunes 6.1 beta is the first release to support the    “scan and match” cloud access feature that Apple announced at this year’s Worldwide Developer Conference.

iTunes Match Email

iTunes Match is a new service that allows users to pay for an annual subscription that will make their  entire existing music collection (including songs not purchased through iTunes) available from Apple’s cloud servers as well.

The service will support music collections up to 25,000 and costs $24.99 per year. The song limit does not count any songs purchased from iTunes, which are already accessible through Apple’s iCloud. In addition, the service is limited to music, and does not support the uploading of apps, audiobooks, books, movies, TV shows, ringtones or interactive content such as iTunes LP liner notes or iTunes Extras for movies.

Unlike services like Amazon’s cloud player or Google Music (yes, they still exist), iTunes Match does not require users to upload many gigabytes of data  that thousands of songs would involve. iTunes makes it easy for users to store songs in the cloud by automatically scanning the user’s library and then make those same songs available through iTunes’ song catalog.

Currently, this service is available for developer testing only, and Apple warns that any content copied up to its cloud servers during the test period may be erased. Apple advises that users testing the device should back up their original songs, and not delete any songs uploaded into the service.

Find My Mac Now Available for Developers

A year ago, Apple introduced a service called “Find My iPhone” which would let users locate, lock, and even wipe the iOS device from anywhere. Today, a similar service for Mac has been made available to developers with early access to Apple’s iCloud service. The service is called “Find My Mac” and it lets users to locate, lock, and even wipe a lost Mac.

Find My Mac

The new service shares a close resemblance to the “Find My iPhone” service Apple offers for free. MacRumors reports that the service is able to locate a Mac’s network even though it lacks a GPS chip. “Find My Mac” is able to locate the Mac’s location by using WiFi networks.

When a user tries to locate a Mac, they have the option to play a sound, send a message, lock the screen, and erase the hard drive. In addition, after a Mac is locked by “Find My Mac” a user will be required to input a four digit PIN code to regain access to the Mac. The service is expected to be released this fall along with iCloud.

On Monday, it was reported that Apple activated the login page for iCloud, though it is only a developer preview for now.

 

New Apple TV Update Brings TV to iCloud

Apple TV

In addition to the new Apple TV software update, the update also introduced the ability for users to stream TV episodes they had previously purchased through iTunes. Also, Apple expanded the “Purchased” section of the iTunes to the Mac, PC, and iOS app to include  re-downloads of purchased TV content.

This new feature adds TV shows to iCloud, bringing the TV content to work the same way as music purchases have been since the update back in June following the iCloud announcement at WWDC 2011. Due to the update, users now have the the option to download purchased TV shows at will and for free as long as they are linked to the same iTunes Store account.  Also, the iTunes Store terms and conditions have been updated with new text covering the changes.

Notification of an additional type of previously-purchased content that may be subsequently downloaded to certain computers and devices as an accommodation to you, subject to existing association rules; and that such content may be played back on certain devices that are not subject to existing association rules, with limitations.

MacRumors notes that the changes have been covered under the section “Automatic Delivery and Downloading Previous Purchases Beta” which covers the two classes of downloadable content. One of the classes is “iTunes Auto-Delievery Content” which covers music and music videos which can be automatically downloaded to associated devices. The other clause being “iTunes Eligible Content” which covers  TV shows that must be downloaded manually.

Such a change usually requires licensing deals with content providers to be renegotiated, and thus probably why Apple has taken time to offer re-downloads for each media type and in each market.