Barclays Capital believes the iCloud is a major differentiating factor for Apple Inc. -- facilitating convenience, ease of use and compatibility across its entire ecosystem. The iCloud is nearing its official launch, which is still expected to be with iOS 5 this fall, as iCloud.com went live this week.

"Apple expanded its cloud service on Aug. 1, allowing users to store TV shows remotely and access them on demand as well across devices including Apple TV, just like music, apps and books, which we believe could catalyze downloads of TV shows, giving no need for local storage," said Ben Reitzes, an analyst at Barclays Capital.

On June 6 at its Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple introduced the iCloud -- which incorporates nine free cloud services that will work across the Apple platform of devices, including the iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac or PC, to automatically and wirelessly store content and push it to your devices (up to 10). iCloud frees customers from wires and constant syncing.

The free iCloud services include contacts, calendar and mail; App Store and iBookstore; Backup, initiated daily; Pages, Numbers and Keynote; Photo Stream; iTunes, which allows users to download previously purchased iTunes music to all iOS devices (free) and iTunes Match, which allows users to replace music (not purchased via iTunes) for a $24.99 annual fee.

In addition, with the iCloud.com launch for developers, Reitzes said he now can get a sense of the price points for extra iCloud storage (above the 5GB free).

Upgrade packages are priced at $20 for an additional 10GB (15GB total), $40 for an additional 20GB (25GB total) and $100 for an additional 50GB (55 GB total). Reitzes still expects the iCloud to be available with iOS 5 this fall.

In addition, Apple has posted on its site a new engineering vacancy to work on its iWork team to "build the front and/or back end of scalable Web applications," according to Apple Insider.

The job posting calls for a candidate who "will be part of the core engineering team responsible for the design and development of the software system," asking for strong programming skills and "commitment to delivering great user experience," suggesting that iWork will be expanding as a consumer facing Web app.

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