Ahead of its official launch, Apple has lifted the lid on the beta of its iCloud service, with the www.iCloud.com website going live.
The site gives us an idea of the look-and-feel of the coming iCloud service – pretty much a rerun of the near-end-of-life MobileMe and Me.com services – and a look at the likely inclusions.
There’s a lack of surprise about the offerings: Webmail, a contact manager, calendar, and Find My iPhone tool, and cloud storage for iWork documents. For developers, the iCloud beta allows testing of the APIs that will let them port their apps to iCloud storage.
And there’s the inevitable shot at a forced-march upgrade: the service won’t work for luddites that are still running pre-Lion or pre-iOS 5 operating system versions, at least at this beta stage.
US prices for iCloud storage start at $US20 annually for 15 GB of storage, up to $US100 annually for 55 GB (in all cases, the first 5 GB is free). Australian users also take their fist 5 GB for free, paying $AU21 for an extra 10 GB, $AU42 annually for 20 GB, or $AU105 annually for 50 GB, so apparently Apple is resisting the urge to slug international users.
According to Apple Insider, the login is available from mobile devices, so it looks like Apple’s Web-based apps will finally go mobile. ®