Now the iCloud 1.0 is just a pretty basic sync, and as predicted, it does provide a premium service that includes the ability to sync your whole library. It doesn't appear to do the interface suggestion I made of integrating it directly into the iPod player but instead requiring you to go via the iTunes application, but that really is a minor improvement (and not a difficult one to do either). So we can see that now they've added in the cloud backup for iOS it surely can't be long before its extended to include OS X, especially as its effectively including it for photos already.
What next for Apple and the cloud?
Well one thing they haven't done yet is automate some of this sync, so when I say in iTunes "last 5 un-played" it doesn't automatically do the update on your device but this is a minor piece really.
The bigger thing that isn't in there yet though is the idea of using processing on the cloud rather than simply storage. So doing things like fancy video effects rendered on the cloud would be a good way to extend the experience on both the desktop and the mobile world to include a whole new generation of Apps.
CloudAppsSo you don't just have the back-up/sync and all of those other elements but once you have your information being exchanged in this way you open the world to more consumer focused applications, or cloud extensions to existing applications.
Microsoft already have a limited part of this with their cloud services, but they don't appear to have either the co-ordination, brand or vision to make it really happen. Google might have an opportunity with their services and Android but the control of the handset manufacturers and operators might stop them.
The other people who should be worried are Facebook. The point of CloudApps is going to be towards collaboration and multiple users, sharing and the like. So while Ping hasn't been a success this application centric cloud approach could give Apple just what it wants - control within the social media space.