This is kind of an open love letter to iCloud. It's very easy to wax poetic about iPads, iPhones, Macs, iOS, OSX, etc., but of all the Apple stuff that's been released lately, my favorite has been iCloud. I know it's not a mass storage type of service where you can just drop all your files and have an online backup, but that's ok with me. More on that later. When everyone started talking about "the cloud" a couple of years ago, I didn't like it one bit. I didn't see why anyone needed my stuff on their servers, other than to serve me ads and steal my personal info. A lot of companies were pushing cloud computing, but didn't present a clear strategy of how it would be used, and what it would mean for the end user. Google was probably the exception with Google Docs, Calendar, etc., but we all know what Google's end motives REALLY are. Their services are very useful, and very cheap (free), but I'm not sure how much they have the end user in mind other than to make money from ads. When Apple announced iCloud last year, it seemed like it might be a "me too" product. I was once again skeptical. But it has become a part of my every day life much more so than Google's services ever did. Real world examples: iPhoto We just got back from Vegas. My wife took pictures on her camera. I took pictures on my iPhone. On the plane on the way home, I transferred her camera pics to my iPad using the camera connector. My iPhone pics were already there via Photo Stream. I made a Vegas album, and then made a journal in iPhoto out of that album. Published it to iCloud and shared out to our friends and family via e mail. That's not to mention the fact that on a day to day basis, all of our iPod Touch, iPhone, and iPad photos end up in the same place without us thinking about it. iWork My son wrote an adorable letter to Santa last Xmas. I wanted some people at work to see it. Logged into iCloud.com, downloaded the document, done. Didn't have to physically put it there. It was just there from when I typed it up on my iPad. Find My iPhone Just tonight--my wife drove to a friend's house about an hour away. Of course, she forgot to call and tell me she made it safely. Find My iPhone pinpointed her iPod Touch at her friend's house and I was worry free without having to call and bug her. Also used it the other day to confirm with her that she had indeed left her iPod at the house and not lost it like she thought she had. Calendar We both use the same one on all of our iOS devices. Simple as that. Saves a lot of arguing over schedule conflicts. Mail It was the only thing I was still using on Google. A few months ago, I switched everything to my @me account. So much more comfortable using Apple's mail than Google's mail. I feel less spied on. Contacts Kind of the same thing as Calendar. Saves a lot of time and confusion if we can both access/update the same contacts in the cloud. iTunes Match Use it every day. I've been getting all my music as MP3s from either Amazon or iTunes for years now, but I still have several 100 CDs laying around that I never ripped. That project is now done, and every piece of music I own is now in iTunes Match. Not only do I love streaming my stuff riding to and from work on the train, but I just love that my whole collection is in the cloud to access any time I want. I prefer my own music to a streaming subscription like Pandora or Spotify, so this was perfect for me. The icing on the cake is the wireless updates, syncing, and restoring. I didn't think restoring my iPad 2 backup to my iPad 3 would be so seamless, but it really was. It was also kind of the last leg the haters had to stand on. Android people and Apple haters in general, if they feel they don't have a good argument for their Apple hate, usually use the "I hate iTunes" argument. I really love telling those people about how I haven't synced to the iTunes software on my PC since last year because of iCloud. They usually don't have much to say after that. iCloud seems to take a lot of heat because it's not a Dropbox type of storage, but it's just so much more functional than that. Apple didn't want iCloud to be a hard drive on a server somewhere. They wanted it to be more usable than that. I think they have succeeded, because iCloud has made iOS a TRUE ecosystem now. If you're someone who has grown up using iOS to manage your digital life, iCloud is probably just about all you need anyway.