Apple lifted the lid on new instant messaging and music services yesterday, spelling huge problems for beleaguered business phone maker Research In Motion (RIM) and offering users a more convenient, thoroughly modern cloud-based music management system.
Dubbed iCloud, the music service enables users to stream music bought online via iTunes over 3G or Wi-Fi connections. Set to launch in the autumn, iCloud is free to use but a $25 per year premium applies if iAppliance owners also want to be able to access any music stored on their computer.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who unveiled iCloud at yesterday’s WWDC showcase, said the service will enable people to be “completely PC free” and marks a further move away from people’s PC’s acting as a “digital hub” for their mobile devices.
The event was also saw the debut of Apple’s iMessenger BlackBerry Messenger-style IM service. Like RIM’s industry-leading instant messaging app, iMessage allows iKit owners to send messages directly to other iPhone and iPad users.
Other features of iCloud include delivery receipts and secure end-to-end encryption of the sort that appeals to BlackBerry’s one-time core market of business users.
The application is likely to have sent chill winds around RIM, whose handsets sales in recent years have been buoyed by BlackBerry Messenger despite the fact that for the most part the company has failed to keep up with rivals’ smartphone software innovations.
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