Apple’s iCloud Could Be Steve Jobs’ Last Hurrah

As Apple’s chief executive, Steve Jobs introduced many revolutionary products to the world at industry and media events. Those products included the Macintosh, iMac, iPod, iPhone and iPad.

In what would be his last major product debut as CEO, Jobs unveiled Apple’s iCloud at the company’s Worldwide Developer Conference in San Francisco on June 6. True to fashion, the charismatic tech icon explained how the new service would change people’s lives.

Available this fall, iCloud will store and manage consumers’ music, photos, documents and other files on remote servers accessed over the Internet.

Jobs introduces iCloud in San Francisco on June 6, 2011.

Jobs introduces iCloud in San Francisco on June 6, 2011.

“Today it is a real hassle and very frustrating to keep all your information and content up to date across all your devices,” Jobs said. “ICloud keeps your important information and content up to date across all your devices. All of this happens automatically and wirelessly, and because it’s integrated into our apps you don’t even need to think about it — it all just works.”

Attention Grabber

One of the things that Apple will miss most about Jobs not leading the company anymore is his rare ability to capture the public’s imagination and to grab media attention for product launches.

It is not known whether Jobs, who resigned late Wednesday as CEO of Apple because of health problems, will appear at future Apple events to tout the company’s products. Jobs has taken the role of chairman and Tim Cook was elevated to CEO from chief operating officer.

Analysts say iCloud represents the next step for Apple in becoming a company consumers can’t live without.

“Managing your content becomes so cumbersome across multiple devices. And iCloud does it all for you seamlessly and automatically,” said Brian Marshall, an analyst with Gleacher & Co. “That’s really cool.”

Apple’s iCloud will add “tremendous functionality” across the company’s product line, Marshall says. Consumers won’t have to worry about which device has which content, if it’s all backed up in the Internet cloud, he says.

Expected to roll out in September, iCloud will add incremental sales and profit to Apple’s coffers through premium services for heavy users. It also is likely to help hardware sales by keeping customers using Apple products, while attracting new users, says Shaw Wu, an analyst with Sterne Agee.

“We see iCloud as a way to increase the stickiness of the whole Apple ecosystem,” Wu said. “Once a user adopts iCloud, it’s going to be tougher to switch.”

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