October 17, 2011, 7:28 PM — Today I wanted to experiment a little bit with how iCloud wisps my data from device to device. There are a couple of interesting things you can do to illustrate the way in which the canonical versions of a lot of things suddenly exist out in the cloud, and not on your devices themselves. The first involves revisiting iMessage across multiple devices; the second, syncing up addresses across your gadgets.
Messages coming at you from all directions
Last week I spent a lot of time futzing with my iPhone, but I do have another iOS device: my iPad, which I finally got around to updating today. My iPad is Wi-Fi only, so I got to experiment with using iMessage on a device with no 3G access. You might recall that I've already explored what happens when your iMessage sees the same person as having two communications channels, one iOS-based and the other not. How does iMessage deal with multiple iOS devices synced up to the same Apple ID?
To find out, I decided to harass my poor friend Matt once again, sending him an iMessage to his Apple ID email via the iPad to see what would happen when he replied. I wasn't particularly surprised to find the answer: both devices popped up alerts more or less simultaneously, letting me know that he had gotten back to me.
You probably aren't going to be surrounded at all times by your iOS devices, which means that if someone sends you an iMessage that you answer on your iPhone, you'll end up having to dismiss the message again on your iPad -- not exactly a huge burden. The iPad version of Notification Center sensibly takes up only a portion the screen's real estate, unlike its iPhone equivalent.
One thing you might not expect at first is that your iMessage chats also live in the cloud. Send a few messages back and forth on your iPad, for instance, then look at the iMessage entry for that same contact on your iPhone and you'll see those same messages. As you can see in these screenshots, the iPad makes use of its more expansive screen real estate by adding little user pics -- a nice touch.