Apple's iCloud.com goes live ahead of iCloud launch

Apple's iCloud.com quietly goes live for developers, putting e-mail, calendaring, and more features of Apple's iCloud on the Web. So far the site appears to be open only to Apple developers.

Apple's iCloud.com, in the flesh.
Apple's iCloud.com, in the flesh. CNET

Ahead of a full release this fall, Apple has pushed the Web front end to iCloud live for developers to kick the tires on.

The new site, which resides at iCloud.com, features a similar front-end to Me.com, which will be shuttered next year with Apple's MobileMe service. Visitors can view Web e-mail, manage contacts, view and edit calendar events, and access the Find My iPhone tool. A new entrant to the bunch is a Web app for iWork, which outlines iCloud's file storage for documents created in Apple's Keynote, Pages and Numbers iOS applications.

One surprise to come out of the quiet launch is that the log-in screen matches one that leaked out ahead of Apple's official iCloud unveiling at WWDC in June. At the time, Apple made no mention of iCloud having a Web front-end, something the company committed to a few weeks later .

9to5mac appears to be the finder of the freshly-launched site. Apple's made no mention of the service on its developer site.

Apple's iCloud Web app lineup.
Apple's iCloud Web app lineup. CNET

iCloud is Apple's upcoming cloud sync service. It succeeds MobileMe, the $99-a-year service Apple introduced three years ago. iCloud ferries files, apps, app data, and media across iOS devices, Macs, and PCs. It also syncs music across devices, though it won't do that for video content.

The official end of life for MobileMe and its accompanying Web site is June 30, 2012. Between now and then, Apple has said that MobileMe features that are being shelved will continue to work, even after users transition their accounts to iCloud. That gives users of iWeb, iDisk, and the Apple Gallery service time to transfer their files to other hosting providers before MobileMe permanently goes dark.

Apple is rumored to have paid some $4.5 million for the iCloud.com domain back in late-April, well ahead of when it revealed the product name in a press release announcing Apple CEO Steve Jobs as WWDC's keynote speaker.

Update at 4:38 p.m. PT: Macrumors spotted Apple now offering up a pre-release version of its iWork software for iOS. The company's also posted a second beta version of iPhoto 9.2, which includes iCloud's Photo Stream feature.

 

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