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Apple iCloud is the latest product from the “love 'em or hate 'em” technology giant. It's a service that provides cloud storage and syncing between all of your Apple devices without you having to do anything. As expected from an Apple product the service is completely seamless and for the most part you won't even realise you are using it. The basic service is free with iOS 5 and is without a doubt the best online storage solution if you own a couple of Apple devices.
Getting started using iCloud is as simple as upgrading your Apple device to iOS5 and iTunes on your computer to the latest version. From then on you will automatically be taking advantage of iCloud as any content you buy, such as music, apps or books, will be available on any of your Apple devices no matter where you purchased it. There are various settings, of course, that control the details of how this works, but we imagine the default will suit most people. The best part about it is that none of this content takes up any of your storage space as it can come straight from Apple's servers.
You get 5 GB of free storage space when you sign up to use iCloud and, because your apps and music etc aren't physically stored in it, this can go quite a long way. Most people will probably want to use the space for photos and with Apple's seamless user interface you can set every photo you take on, for example, your iPhone to be automatically uploaded to the cloud and made available on all your devices. It's also possible to seamlessly sync documents with the cloud and edit them on any device you happen to be using.
iTunes Match is an extra service that you can purchase along with iCloud at a fairly reasonable annual rate. This allows you to automatically match any music that you own that you haven't purchased from iTunes and get access to it through iCloud. The intelligent matching system can figure out what is in your collection on your hard drive and match this with what iTunes has available. Any matching tunes can then be accessed across your devices without having to upload your own copy. If you have some obscure music that iTunes doesn't recognise it can be uploaded for you automatically.
iCloud is an excellent service and, given that it comes completely free with iOS 5, you would be crazy not to take advantage of it. Regardless of the other features iOS 5 provides the upgrade is worth it for this alone. The 5 GB of free space is very generous and we would be surprised if most people went over this and even iTunes match is offered at a very competitive price. If you aren't already using iCloud you are being left behind so get upgrading today!
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