SAN FRANCISCO ― Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs has unveiled services for people to store more of their photos, music and other data online, giving the iPad and iPhone maker the lead in a fast-expanding new consumer market.
Jobs entered to a standing ovation from more than 5,000 Apple faithful at its Worldwide Developers’ Conference Monday and showed off Apple products meant to help customers keep their iPhones, iPads and computers in sync.
The Silicon Valley icon and pancreatic cancer survivor ― animated but again looking very thin ― unveiled remote computing services that for now at least push Apple ahead of rivals Google and Amazon.com, which recently launched their own moves into music storage and streaming.
Jobs, whose decision to headline the event assuaged some concerns on Wall Street about his health, didn’t say a word about his condition but strode briskly onstage after James Brown’s soul classic “I Got You (I Feel Good)” blasted over the sound system.
“We’re going to move the digital hub, the center of your digital life, into the cloud,” Jobs said. “Everything happens automatically and there’s nothing new to learn. It just all works.”
In cloud computing, data and software are stored on servers, and devices like smartphones or PCs access them through the Internet.
With its knack for designing easy-to-use gadgets, Apple hopes to make cloud computing ― right now a term tossed about mostly by corporate IT departments and Silicon Valley geeks ― an everyday convenience for many people.
As more and more people use smartphones and tablets with limited storage, demand for cloud-based services is growing, and technology companies from Amazon to Zynga are rushing to stake out their turf.
Beyond storing music online, Apple’s revamped operating systems for its Macs, iPhones and iPads integrate cloud storage in everything from word processing to calendars and to-do lists, going beyond what other companies have done.
Apple’s new iTunes Match service will also scan users’ hard drives and automatically make the songs it finds available on the iCloud. In contrast, users of Google and Amazon cloud-based storage have to upload every song themselves.
Monday was only Jobs’ second public appearance since he went on medical leave in January. He shared the spotlight, letting his executive team showcase new features in Apple’s mobile and computer operating software.