Apple Challenges Google, Microsoft In The Cloud

Apple will bring its native iWork suite of apps to the cloud, allowing users to create, access and edit documents from a Web browser on a Mac or a Windows OS PC in Pages, Numbers, and Keynote from any device. The company's long-awaited browser-based office suite, iCloud, will compete with Google Docs and Microsoft Office.

Along with the office suite, Apple introduced iCloud Keychain, which works to secure across devices a variety of passwords, Web site logins, credit card numbers and WiFi networks. Apple supports more than 300 million iCloud accounts. The system will store credit card information, but users will need to input their own security code each time. Apple encrypts the information in 256-bit AES.

Users connect to content via iCloud millions of times from a variety of devices. With cloud services, some wonder whether Apple will heavily market the iPad mini to compete with Google Chromebook, an inexpensive option to the laptop. Google worked for years to move its docs to the cloud.

The cloud gives Apple new opportunities for its hardware, software and streaming music service, iRadio, announced Monday. The iWork for iCloud beta version becomes available immediately to registered developers, and will expand to all users in the near future.

Expect that Apple's entrance into the cloud will drive growth in iPad sales and Internet services. Apple counts more than 600 million iOS devices.

Adoption rates have been swift to rise for the latest OS, with about 93% running the most recent version of Apple's mobile OS, according to the company.

"Red Apple" photo from Shutterstock.

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