Tech wrap: Steve Jobs pitches Apple’s iCloud

June 6, 2011

Apple CEO Steve Jobs emerged from medical leave to launch an Internet-based service for consumers called the iCloud, which lets users play their music and get access to their data from any Apple device. Jobs walked briskly onstage after James Brown’s “I Got You (I Feel Good)” blasted over the sound system, but shared the spotlight with other Apple execs who showcased Apple’s enhancements to its PC operating system and mobile platform.

Jobs laid out his vision for the iCloud with the elminiation of MobileMe, a subscription-based collection of online services and software. Jobs said the iCloud will allow people to share book purchases, music and data in general, such as calendar items, across different devices, while backing up and updating information regularly.

Among the new features for Apple’s OS X Lion operating software were an improved email infrastructure and multi-touch features. Early impressions by experts watching the presentations were favorable.

For the iPhone and iPad, executives described how the fifth version of the iOS software will feature drop-down notifications for everything from Twitter feeds to Facebook alerts, and new applications such as tabbed surfing for Apple’s Safari Web browser.

Hackers calling themselves Lulz Security said that they had broken into Sony computer systems again, and posted the results on the Internet.

Microsoft is looking to put its popular Kinect motion-sensing device at the heart of its Xbox game console, unveiling plans to allow users to control live television feeds, search YouTube and play action games with voice commands. Microsoft said it will give users access to live television programing through the Xbox in the U.S. sometime next year, following live TV services it already offers in Britain, France and Australia.

Google has become a “political tool” vilifying the Chinese government, an official Beijing newspaper said, warning that Google’s statements about hacking attacks traced to China could hurt its business. By saying that Chinese human rights activists were among the targets of the hacking, Google was “deliberately pandering to negative Western perceptions of China, and strongly hinting that the hacking attacks were the work of the Chinese government,” the People’s Daily overseas edition, a small offshoot of the main domestic paper, said in a front-page commentary.

The frothy market for Internet IPOs is raising the specter of a bubble, underscoring how little has changed despite lawsuits and investigations in the wake of the 1990s dot-com craze, writes Jonathan Stempel. Much about the IPO market remains the same as it was a decade ago, with controversial practices still in place, and despite concerns about the IPO process, alternatives have struggled to take hold, Stempel argues.

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