iCloud Gets An Upgrade

Yesterday, Apple introduced a major update to its iCloud service. Up until now, iCloud’s storage offering was fairly limited when compared to competitors such as Dropbox, Google Drive and Microsoft’s OneDrive. Now you can use it to store files of your choosing, and sync with not only other Mac devices, but also your Windows computers as well.

Apple also introduced a related service called Mail Drop, which allows for large-size file attachments in email, leveraging the cloud drive.

More importantly, Apple is dramatically lowering its pricing for iCloud Drive. In addition to the 5GB you get for free, Apple will provide an additional 20GB for 99 cents per month, and 200GB for 3.99 per month. This finally puts Apple iCloud more in line with Google, which charges $1.99 per month for 100GB.

We can expect more important announcements this week as Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference kicks off in San Francisco. Among the rumored announcements may be new offerings from health care to indoor location tracking. Watch for what may be a new application called Healthbook, designed to track and monitor fitness and health information.

It may be a few months before we get a new iPhone, but WWDC should bring announcements on ways to extend the iPhone’s functionality. One interesting turn could be using your iPhone as a remote control for a connected home.

There’s more anticipation than usual in 2014 because Chief Executive Tim Cook has promised that Apple will enter new product categories this year. Apple’s Internet services chief Eddy Cue heightened expectations last week, saying the company’s product pipeline is the best he’s seen in 25 years.

Apple has been riding a wave of momentum in recent weeks from a combination of strong quarterly earnings, a 7-for-1 stock split that took effect yesterday, and plans to repurchase additional billions in shares. Apple shares are trading at its highest levels in more than a year.

In recent years, the WWDC keynote has been a showcase for updates to Apple’s two software platforms – iOS for the iPhone and iPad and OS X for Macs. The conference’s focus tends to be on software rather than new hardware products.

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