Apple's iCloud challenges role of PC as the digital hub

The concept of the cloud is not a new one but the move by Apple to unveil a range of services under the iCloud brand will extend the concept of using hosted services to a greater number of customers.

The concept of the cloud is not a new one but the move by Apple to unveil a range of services under the iCloud brand will extend the concept of using hosted services to a greater number of customers.

As expected Steve Jobs, Apple CEO, took to the stage at the vendor's developers conference last night and unveiled the vendor's free cloud service, which should not only increase the demand for its iPhones, iPods and iPads but also has the potential to change the role of the PC.

iCloud will allow users to stream music, photos, applications and documents over the web and for an extra fee gives customers the option to get access to their entire music collection through the cloud.

Richard Holway, chairman of TechMarketView, picked up on the prospects the iCloud service would have to the traditional behaviour of using the PC as a music, photo and document library.

"Apple reckon they have sounded the death knell of the PC. For 30 years, almost every user has had one 'central PC' from which an increasing array of devices are synced. iCloud makes that redundant. Now you don't need a PC at all," he said.

"Apple has even dubbed it 'PC Free' - all you need is a WiFi network and iCloud. If I was Microsoft I would have gone from concern to downright despair," he wrote on the analysts HotMarketViews news update.

Apple is now competing with other vendors and the likes of Google and Amazon, which have not only beaten it to launching cloud services but have built up valuable experiences they have shared with their channels over the last 18 months.

The prospect of competition didn't seem to faze Jobs who broke his sick leave to unveil the cloud product as well as the next update to the Mac operating system.

"iCloud keeps your important information and content up to date across all your devices. All of this happens automatically and wirelessly, and because it's integrated into our apps you don't even need to think about it--it all just works," he said.

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