Another aspect of iCloud is automatic data backup. According to Apple, once a day--but only when your iOS device is connected to both a power source and a Wi-Fi network--iCloud will back up many types of user data to the cloud. It won't back up everything, but it will handle purchased music, apps, and books; your Camera Roll (photos and videos); device settings; app data; Home-screen and app organization; text and MMS messages; and ringtones. If you ever get a new iOS device or need to restore from a backup, Apple said, you can just enter your Apple ID and password and everything will be automatically loaded onto that device.
Will I be able to use iCloud to sync settings and other data between my Macs?
Other than the types of data already mentioned--photos, media, and data in iCloud-enabled applications--Apple hasn't said much. But we think it's only a matter of time before you'll be able to sync, say, your application and system settings, and perhaps even your login sessions, between your Macs.
I've got lots of Apple IDs. I've got an iTunes account with all my apps and music on it, we have family MobileMe accounts for e-mail... what does the advent of iCloud mean for me?
We're not sure how Apple is going to handle multiple accounts. However, the iOS 5 beta features an iCloud settings item as well as a separate Store settings item. The iCloud item handles the syncing of mail, contacts, calendars, reminders, bookmarks, notes, Photo Stream, and Find My iPad, as well as storage and backup. The Store setting seems to cover music and apps. So it's possible you'll be able to use one Apple ID for media purchases and syncing, and a separate ID for all the other data. In this way, if you have a single family account for media purchases, you can keep everyone on that while using a separate account for other data.
Will I be able to merge my iTunes and MobileMe accounts into a single account? Or change my Apple ID and retain my old apps and media?
Apple hasn't said anything about how management of Apple IDs will be handled. Given their increasing importance, it would certainly be nice if Apple allowed users to change, merge, and even split accounts.
If I have an expired me.com e-mail address from a MobileMe trial, or a mac.com AIM account, will I be able to claim them when iCloud is released?
It seems likely that if you signed up at some point for a me.com or mac.com address, you may be able to re-activate that user name once iCloud launches. We won't know for sure until that day gets closer.
Can I play music directly from iCloud, or do I have to first download them to a device?