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Apple announces iCloud coming Oct 12th

Apple today officially announced the public release of its iCloud service. Introduced in June at Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference, iCloud is a free online service for iOS and OS X users providing support for mail, calendar, contacts, photos, documents and more. Specific features include push Contacts, Calendar and Mail similar to the company’s soon-to-be-discontinued MobileMe service along with several new features: Photostream for syncing photos between iOS devices and desktop computers, storage and synchronization of documents across multiple devices and online backups of iOS device settings and data to the cloud. iCloud requires iOS 5 or OS X 10.7.2 and will be available for sign-up on October 12th. Each iCloud account includes 5GB of free online storage; users can choose to purchase additional storage at annual rates of $20 for 10GB, $40 for 20GB or $100 for 50GB.

Let’s Talk iPhone Event: The Big Picture

Apple’s “Let’s talk iPhone” media event is being held today at the company’s campus Town Hall auditorium. As there are plenty of announcements expected to come from the event, we’re providing this story as a starting point—we’ll be linking to all the major news from the event right here, so check back periodically throughout the afternoon for more updates.

So far:

iPhone 4S to launch October 14, iPod nano to see update

Apple introduces Cards, a new free app that lets you create and send cards directly from your iPhone. It will mail printed cards through the mail after you design them, then provide tracking notifications to your iPhone. Cards will be $3 each when mailed within the U.S. Available October 12.

iOS 5 is coming October 12. As is iCloud.

Apple announces Find My Friends application for iCloud, enabling you to locate your friends and family if they’re using Apple’s devices.

“New” iPod nano announced - new user interface, 16 new clock faces, Nike+ without the need for shoe-based sensors. $129/$149, available today. Seven colors like the previous ones. Updated! Originally claimed to be a “new” iPod nano, this appears to be little more than a price change with a minor software update. Following the event, it was discovered that the software will be released for the 2010 iPod nano as well.

Updated iPod touch: black and white, $199 8GB, $299 32GB, $399 64GB. Available October 12. Nothing mentioned about under-the-hood changes of any sort. Updated! Apart from the color addition, there does not appear to be any change to the iPod touch hardware at all this year.

iPhone 4S officially announced with A5 processor, dual-core graphics chip that’s up to 7x faster than prior iPhone (down from 9x in prior iPad). Yet now gets eight hours of talk time, six hours of 3G browsing, 9 of Wi-Fi browsing. Now can switch between two antennas for improved call quality. Data speeds now doubled for downloading—now up to nearly 14.4Mbps downloading speed. Apple is not calling this 4G, but saying that the performance is 4G-caliber. It’s a dual-band world phone with both GSM + CDMA. Improved camera sports an 8-Megapixel sensor with backside illumination, gathering 73% more light than before, with a hybrid IR filter and 1/3 faster performance. The lens now has 5 elements and is f/2.4—really wide angle with 30% greater sharpness, macro photo feature, plus 1080p video recording.

iPhone 4S also gets AirPlay mirroring. And expanded voice controls thanks to an integrated Siri assistant. “What’s the weather like today?” can be answered by the iPhone 4S with a forecast. “Find me a great Greek restaurant in Palo Alto,” and it returns a bunch of results sorted by rating. The interface is a mix of prior Siri and the linen backdrop of OS X and iOS, tying into iOS applications to look up calendar information, messages, and other things stored on the device. It can read to you, and understand what you’re saying. It will initially be available in English, German, and French support, with other languages to follow. 16GB, 32GB, 64GB $199/$299/$399. 3GS and 4 will still be sold, 3GS free on contract, iPhone 4 is $99 for 8GB. Preorder on 7th, available October 14, Verizon AT+T and Sprint. First countries: U.S., Canada, Australia, U.K., France, Germany, and Japan, with more to follow on the 28th, then more through end of the year.

A summary of the presentation thus far is available after the break.

Apple releases iTunes 10.5 beta 9 to developers

Apple has released another update to its beta version of iTunes 10.5 for registered iOS developers. The update appears to be primarily targeted at developers testing the iTunes Match service, with iTunes 10.5 beta 7 also remaining available as a separate download for registered iOS developers. This latest release follows reports of iTunes Match data being reset earlier this week for developers testing the service. iTunes 10.5 beta 9 is available for download now for registered developers from the iOS Dev Center.

Apple to reset iCloud Backups on Sept 22nd

Apple has posted an announcement on its developer site for both iOS and Mac developers noting that it will reset all iCloud backup data on September 22nd. “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,” the message reads. “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.” Registered developers have had access to iCloud for testing purposes during the iOS 5 beta period, as the service will launch alongside iOS 5 this fall. A report from last week—which incorrectly suggested that iOS 5 beta 8 would be released last Friday—claimed that Apple would release the Gold Master (GM) build of iOS 5 on or around September 23, which would coincide with this iCloud data reset.

Apple once again accepting iTunes Match beta signups

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Apple over the weekend reopened its iTunes Match beta to registered iOS developers. Mac Rumors reports that the company sent out emails to developers, letting them know that the beta has been expanded to additional developers in the U.S. The email also notes that iTunes 10.5 beta 8 is required to use the service. iTunes Match is an upcoming $25/year cloud-based service from Apple that matches the songs in users’ iTunes libraries with songs available on the iTunes Store, uploading songs that can’t be matched, and subsequently offering the users access to their entire libraries across all their computers and iOS devices anywhere they have an Internet connection. The iTunes Match beta was launched late last month, but was closed for new signups shortly afterwards.

Apple releases iTunes 10.5 beta 8 to developers

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Apple has uncharacteristically released a small update to its beta version of iTunes 10.5 for registered iOS developers. According to release notes provided to iLounge by an anonymous source, the update focuses mainly on Apple’s iTunes Match service, which remains closed for new developer sign-ups. iTunes 10.5 beta 8, as well as iWork for iOS beta 3, are available for download now from the iOS Dev Center.

Apple promotes Eddy Cue to SVP of Internet Software and Services

Apple has promoted its vice president of Internet services Eddy Cue to the position of Senior Vice President of Internet Software and Services. According to his Apple Press bio, Cue will be reporting directly to Apple CEO Tim Cook, and his duties will include overseeing the iTunes Store, App Store, and iBookstore, as well as iAd and iCloud services. In an email to Apple employees announcing the move, Cook credited Cue with playing a major role in the launch of the Apple online store in 1998, the iTunes Music Store in 2003, and the App Store in 2008; the complete email is available at 9to5Mac.

Apple launches iTunes Match beta for developers

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Apple has made a beta version of its new iTunes Match cloud music service available to developers. The service, announced in June, allows users to pay $25 a year for the ability to match songs on their personal library with songs in the iTunes Store library—and upload any songs that can’t be matched—for cloud access from any Mac or iOS device. The service limits the total number of songs at 25,000, and iTunes Store purchases do not count against that total. In the email announcing the beta release, Apple states that beta subscribers will receive an additional three months free with their paid 12 month subscription, and advises users to maintain a local backup of their iTunes library, as well as any music they upload to iCloud. “Apple will periodically reset your iCloud library during the beta and it is critical that you backup your music regularly,” the email states. “Some features and optimizations of iTunes Match will not be available during the beta.” In support of the service, Apple has released iTunes 10.5 beta 6.1, which is now available to registered developers from the iOS Dev Center.

Insanely Great Mac has posted a video walkthrough of the new service showing that it is capable of not only allowing for downloads to iOS devices—which is how the company’s current “iTunes in the Cloud” service works—but also streaming, integrating the customer’s iTunes Match library into the Music application, and letting the user choose between downloading or streaming each song. Apple is expected to officially launch iTunes Match later this fall. [via Mac Rumors]

Update: Apple has posted a notice on the iTunes Match signup page noting that “beta testing has begun with an initial set of developers. Over the next days, we will continue to expand our testing.”

Update x2: Apple has informed AllThingsD that the new iTunes Match service isn’t technically streaming songs, but is instead offering a simultaneous listen and download feature that, on the surface, appears quite similar to streaming.

2Do adds iCloud support

Guided Ways has released an update to its iOS productivity app 2Do noting the addition of support for syncing with iCloud calendars, one of the first apps on the App Store to advertise compatibility with Apple’s as-yet-unreleased new online service. The release notes indicate “OTA CalDAV support for iCloud” noting that the existing in-app purchase for MobileMe support will also work with iCloud when iOS 5.0 is released later this year. Announced in June at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference, iCloud promises to be a free replacement for Apple’s MobileMe service and has been in closed beta for iOS and Mac Developers over the past few months. The full iCloud service is expected to be released to the general public this fall along with the release of iOS 5.

MobileMe to iCloud migration goes live for developers

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Apple has taken its MobileMe to iCloud migration tool online for registered developers, and has also revealed more information pertaining to how the transition will be handled. 9 to 5 Mac reports that the tool, found at mobileme.com/move, lets developers migrate their mail, contact, bookmark, and calendar data from MobileMe to iCloud, leaving behind data relating to the sync of Mac Dashboard widgets, dock items, keychains, mail accounts, rules, signatures, smart mailboxes, and preferences. In a separate report, Mac Rumors states that current MobileMe users will be automatically signed up for the 20GB + 5GB free tier plan in iCloud—normally a $40/year plan—at no extra charge, and are automatically signed up for recurring billing with the next payment date shown as June 30, 2012—the same day MobileMe shuts down. Apple is expected to officially launch iCloud alongside iOS 5 this fall.

Apple launches iCloud.com beta, announces pricing

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Apple has launched a beta version of its online tools for iCloud at iCloud.com, and has also announced pricing for the service. The online tools include revised versions of Mail, Calendar, and Contacts, with a “Find My iPhone” button that currently sends users back to me.com, and an iWork button that sends users to an Apple developer site where, if registered as a paid developer, they can download pre-release versions of Pages, Keynote, and Numbers that work with iCloud’s “Documents in the Cloud” service. In regards to pricing, Apple’s website states that all users get 5GB of free storage, but should they need more, 10GB of extra storage will be available for $20 per year, 20GB will run $40 per year, and 50GB of additional storage will cost $100 a year. Notably, purchase music, apps, books, and the user’s Photo Stream do not count against the 5GB total. Apple is expected to launch iCloud for all users this fall. [via Ars Technica]

Apple posts MobileMe to iCloud FAQ

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Apple has posted a new frequently asked questions (FAQ) article regarding the transition from MobileMe to iCloud. The document confirms that users will be able to access iCloud Mail, Contacts, Calendars, and Find My iPhone via the web at icloud.com after the service launches this fall. It also states that users will be able to keep their current .me or .mac email addresses, and move their MobileMe mail, contacts, calendars, and bookmarks to the new service, with further details to come once the iCloud service comes online. iWeb publishing, MobileMe Gallery, and iDisk services will not be available in iCloud, according to the FAQ; those services will be available until the June 30, 2012 MobileMe shutdown date.

Apple iOS exec leaves for youth health organization

John Herbold, former Senior Product Manager for the iCloud team at Apple, has left the company to join the youth health organization HealthTeacher. In a press release from HealthTeacher, Herbold is credited with playing a key role in the creation, development, and launch of iCloud, and for leading the development of the service’s Photo Stream feature. Herbold will serve as Vice President of Product at HealthTeacher.

“To dramatically bend the curve on youth health, we must create engaging and innovative experiences that make good health cool and aspirational—all while encouraging kids to move beyond the screen and be more active,” said John Herbold. “HealthTeacher is already playing a significant role in improving youth health through its work with teachers and schools. I look forward to leading the effort to enhance digital engagement that will equip our youth for a more successful future.” He added on his LinkedIn profile, “I’ve been fortunate enough to define, ship and market a variety of products for one of the world’s most admired product companies. That opportunity was a great privilege. Now I get to take that experience and apply it to the enormous challenge of materially improving youth health.” [via 9 to 5 Mac]

Apple sued over ‘iCloud’ moniker

A company named iCloud Communications has filed suit against Apple, alleging infringement over the name of the company’s new iCloud service. The Next Web reports that iCloud Communications is claiming Apple’s heavy promotion of the new service is damaging to its business, which it contends are closely related to the services that Apple’s iCloud will offer. As noted by Mac Rumors, iCloud Communications does not appear to hold any registered trademarks associated with the iCloud name. The suit is seeking an injunction barring Apple from using the iCloud name, destruction of all marketing materials and other items referencing to the service, and monetary damages.

Report: iTunes in the Cloud not coming to UK this year

Apple won’t be launching its iTunes in the Cloud service in the UK until 2012, according to a new report. Citing a spokesman for the Performing Right Society, a group that ensures composers, songwriters, and publishers are paid for their work, the Telegraph reports that talks between Apple and UK-based labels are in their early stages. “The licensing team at the PRS have started talks with Apple, but are a long way off from any deals being signed,” the spokesman said. “It is very much the early stages of the negotiations and is similar to the launch of iTunes – which began in the US and took a while to roll out to other countries.” An executive from one of the major record labels echoed the sentiment, saying, “Tentative talks have begun between the major labels and Apple in the UK. However, all talks are at the really early stages and no one expects to see the cloud music service live on this side of the pond until 2012.” Apple has yet to announce any expected rollout dates for its iTunes in the Cloud service, or any other part of its iCloud service, outside the U.S. [via MDN]

Apple to MobileMe users: free* service to June 2012, then lights out

In an e-mail just sent to MobileMe members, Apple confirmed what many users have expected since rumors of a follow-up service began to spread: MobileMe as it’s currently known will cease to exist after June 30, 2012. As a goodwill gesture to current users, the company will automatically extend MobileMe subscriptions through June 30, 2012 “at no additional charge,” after which “MobileMe will no longer be available.” Attempts to purchase additional MobileMe service are being rejected and refunded by the company as of today.

Apple urges users to sign up for the just-announced iCloud in order to keep their MobileMe e-mail addresses, mail, contacts, calendars, and bookmarks, and re-confirms that iCloud will be free for iOS 5 and OS X Lion users. While the company does not specifically address what will happen to MobileMe’s iDisk, Gallery, and iWeb services, it states that “more details and instructions on how to make the move” will be shared when iCloud opens for business this fall.

iTunes in the Cloud services now live on iOS 4 devices

If you’ve purchased music or music videos from the iTunes Store in the past, now would be a good time to check out the iOS 4 version of the iTunes Store application. A new “Purchased” tab has just been added dynamically to the iPod touch, iPhone, and iPad versions of iTunes, enabling you to see and retrieve the entire collection of music that you’ve previously purchased from the iTunes Store—including music videos. This is the live implementation of the iTunes in the Cloud.

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Several options are available from the Purchased tab. A list of “All” songs shows you everything you’ve purchased, with 50 Recent Purchases as a secondary list, above a scrollable alphabetical collection of individual artists with a number of downloaded files off to the side. You can Download All [Artist’s Name] Songs by clicking a cloud download icon, or do the same with the Recent Purchases list—but not the “All Songs” collection. You’re also able to use a tab to sort the list by Not On This iPad/iPhone/iPod files, seeing only the ones you don’t currently have on the device.

 

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Songs are downloaded individually to the device, and cannot be streamed; this is solely a locker to retrieve tracks as needed for your device. For users who thought they’d lost their only backups of iTunes-purchased music, this is a great new feature, and provides high-quality 256kbps AAC versions of tracks, assuming that you purchased the “iTunes Plus” versions from Apple. We’ve discovered that tracks that were purchased at 128kbps and not upgraded to iTunes Plus will still redownload via iTunes in the Cloud at 128kbps.

Note: The feature appears to be working only for U.S. iTunes Store accounts for the time being, notes our Canada-based editor Jesse Hollington.

Apple intros iCloud service, coming with iOS 5

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Apple today introduced its new iCloud service suite. As a replacement for the company’s previous MobileMe service, iCloud is completely free, and works to store content in the cloud and automatically and wirelessly push it to all a user’s devices. Features of iCloud include rewritten push Contacts, Calendar, and Mail services, automatic synchronization of purchases and downloads from the App Store, iBookstore, and iTunes Store, a Backup features that automatically and securely backs up iOS devices on a daily basis over Wi-Fi, a Photo Stream service that automatically uploads photos taken or imported on any iOS device and pushes them to all a user’s devices—including Apple TV. iCloud also includes 5GB of free storage for mail, documents, and backup, which also serves to seamlessly store all a user’s documents that are created using iCloud Storage APIs, and automatically push them to all that user’s devices. iCloud will be available this fall concurrent with iOS 5 and will be free for all users.

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