The iCloud Is Here: Beta Ready To Go

Apple announced their iCloud at the Worldwide Developers Conference a few months back and since then the anticipation to its launch has been high. You may now be pleased to hear that the Beta version of Apple’s cloud is now up in the sky and ready for trial. The iCloud launches exclusively in the US first with an expansion to other parts of the world expected in the future.

To use the iCloud you will need to use your Apple ID to sign in, however Mashable has reported that some users running Mac OS X Lion are having problems. The beta will allow you to try out features such as: Find my iPhone, iWork, Contacts, Calendar and a web-based version of Mail. Those services are reportedly available to those who visit and are running either Lion or iOS 5 which is currently only on offer to Apple developers, so it seems that the iCloud is restricted to some in various areas.

The general response to the iCloud so far has been that it is an enhanced version of MobileMe, which it superseded. The user interface for the iCloud seems very simple and spaced out, keeping similar features from that of its predecessor. It is not clear when all users will be able to access the full version of iCloud beta, only developers can use the syncing features that import Contacts, Calendars and email settings.

Apple has also announced the pricing details for their cloud based service, and they appear to be more pricey than that of their rivals. The good news is that the first 5GB of storage is free, with 10GB then costing $20. If you want to store 20GB of data then it will cost you $40 and 50GB will cost you a chunky $100. Amazon only charge $20 to store 20GB of data on their cloud, with the added feature of free unlimited music storage.

According to International Business Times, Apple has defended the prices by stating that the 5GB of free storage would likely suffice for the average user. The tech giant posted on their iCloud website: “Your purchased music, apps, and books, as well as your Photo Stream, don’t count against your free storage. Since your mail, documents, Camera Roll, account information, settings, and other app data don’t use as much space, you’ll find that 5GB goes a long way.”

The additional features such as iTunes in the Cloud and iTunes Match are not currently available on the beta version but will most likely be added in an update in the near future. Have you given the iCloud Beta a try yet? Let us know your initial thoughts on it by leaving a comment.