SAN FRANCISCO, June 6 (Xinhua) -- Apple's chief executive officer Steve Jobs on Monday took a break from his medical leave to introduce the company's new cloud-based service iCloud.
Jobs, in his trademark black turtleneck and jeans, got a standing ovation in San Francisco's Moscone Center when he appeared on stage. Someone screamed "I love you," and Jobs said " it always helps and I appreciated it."
"ICloud stores your content in the cloud and wirelessly pushes it to all your devices," said Jobs, calling it Apple's "next big insight."
According to Apple, iCloud Backup will automatically back up users' iOS devices to iCloud daily over Wi-Fi when they charge their iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. Backup content includes purchased music, apps, camera roll, device settings and app data. It will also automatically upload documents from iWork in the cloud and pushes them to users' all relevant devices.
The service will currently be free and replaces the former MobileMe which Apple once charged 99 U.S. dollars per year.
Users will get five gigabytes of memory which is not counting purchased apps, music or books. A beta version is available on Monday and the final version will be shipping with iOS 5 this fall, with paid plans for more storage to be announced at that time.
For a 24.99-dollar paid music plan named iTunes Match, a user's iTunes library will be scanned and they will gain instant access to those tracks or albums from compatible devices, rather than uploading them. Song files, including those converted from CDs, will also be uploaded to iCloud if they are not matched in iTunes stores but recognized by music labels.
Jobs pointed out that iTunes Match paid plan is cheaper than Amazon's offering and Google has not announced a price yet, saying "it's an industry leading effort."
The Apple CEO finally showed a photo of the company's new, massive data center in North Carolina to emphasize Apple is ready for iCloud service.
Before Jobs, Apple executives introduced Lion, the eighth major release of Mac OS X and iOS 5, the next version of Apple's mobile operating system.
Phil Schiller, Apple's marketing chief and Craig Federighi, the OS X software vice president, introduced ten key new features among the 250 ones of the new Mac operating system, including multi-touch features that bring the users experience on iPhone to their computers.
Lion will be available to customers in July in Mac App Store. The price is adjusted to 29.99 dollars from 129 dollars Apple used to charge for upgrades.
Scott Forstall, head of Apple's iOS software, demoed Apple's new mobile operating system, noting that iOS already has 44 percent of the mobile operating system market.
The new version iOS 5 will have more than 200 new features, including a Notification Center that catches missed calls, mail messages and phone messages; and a feature called Reminder that provides virtual Post-it notes using geolocation technology.
The new mobile operating system also integrates Twitter with many other iPhone apps and has a Newsstand on which the newspaper and magazines icons will be the actual covers of the publications.
Apple said that iOS 5 is coming to the public this fall, which probably means the new iPhone is coming in the fall as well.
Apple's new services are unveiled at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). Jobs kicked off the keynote event by saying that Apple had sold out 5,200 tickets to attendees just in two hours.