Apple reveals iCloud syncing service for music, photos, apps and more

Today at its World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC), Apple revealed details about iCloud, a cloud storage and syncing service with close ties to iTunes. iCloud serves as a kind of virtual locker, syncing all things iOS across your Apple gadgets. While Apple recently confirmed the name of its forthcoming cloud storage service, the most valuable brand on the planet had kept most of the details about iCloud under wraps until this morning’s event.

Today, Apple announced that it will do away with its MobileMe service as it stands, instead opting to integrate existing features like calendar, contact and mail syncing into iCloud at no cost. Beyond rolling MobileMe’s core features up under the new iCloud banner, the service will allow for app and data syncing across devices for contacts, apps, and photos. The photo syncing feature will automatically store your last 1000 photos on Apple’s servers for 30 days.

Of course, the real meat of the announcement is how iCloud will integrate with iTunes. Now, through iCloud, you’ll be able to universally access any music you’ve previously purchased on iTunes across the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. New downloads can automatically be pushed to each iOS device, since keeping your selection in sync is clearly the ultimate goal. Apple is also offering the ability to sync your non-iTunes music into iCloud for a fee of $25 a year through a service called iTunes Match, or you can keep your entire iTunes collection synced for free.

Apple’s iCloud service will compete directly with 2 huge players in the cloud music scene, Amazon Cloud Player — which launched first back in March — and Google Music Beta, Google’s own cloud storage and streaming service. While the latter 2 services beat Apple to the punch, iCloud will leverage official deals with the music industry’s major labels and the wildly popular iTunes to differentiate its own cloud music offering.

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