Apple’s new iCloud service – due to release this Fall – will offer a number of exciting new features for iOS and Mac users. One of its cool features is already live and working well on the iPad and iOS 4.3: you can now see your purchase history in all iOS store apps, review your purchased items, and re-download any of those that are not currently installed.
This new feature is visible in the App Store, iTunes, and iBooks apps. It shows up as a new tab in the main navigation bar in each of these apps. It shows all your past purchases and shows an iCloud icon with a downward arrow on any of them that are not currently on the device. You just tap once on that icon to download them to the device. Apps that have new updates available will also show the iCloud download icon.
In the App Store, you can toggle with one tap to see purchases made on iPad or iPhone – and for each of these there are tabs for viewing All or ‘Not On This iPad’ to show those not currently installed.
Another iCloud feature that appears to be working already on my iPad is iTunes in the Cloud Push. The way this works is that when you download new music from iTunes on any device it is stored in iCloud and then automatically pushed out to all your Mac and iOS devices. I tried this out this morning. I purchased about a dozen new songs on my MacBook Pro and almost instantly those songs showed up on my iPad 2 in the Purchased section, ready to download. The downloads are relatively quick with a low volume of tracks selected to download so far.
For some reason, I imagined these downloads of newly purchased songs would occur automatically in the background, mostly due to the ‘push’ term I guess. It would be great if that was at least an option, maybe one where you receive an alert asking if you wish to download new purchased music now.
These first bits of iCloud are looking good and working well for me. When iCloud is full rolled out in the Fall it’s going to offer a lot of strong features for a free service. Between iCloud and iOS 5 it’s going to be an exciting last quarter of the year.