updated 01:52 am EDT, Fri September 14, 2012
Reminders, Notes available, new 'lost mode' for iPhones
One day after announcing a revamped "Find My Phone" app that now features a "lost mode" to streamline security and recovery options if the iPhone is lost or stolen, Apple has taken the last items on iCloud.com out of beta and the full site is now available to members and new signups. Features on the site now reflect changes that are part of iOS 6 (to be released on September 19) such as VIP lists for Mail.
The VIP feature allows users to designate certain senders as most important and places their emails in its own category for high-priority treatment. The VIP list is synced across devices, including the web site and OS X Mountain Lion. In addition to the new Notes and Reminders, the iCloud.com site also features a visual representation of documents users have stored using iWork and other third-party apps that support iCloud uploading.
The iCloud service comes with 5GB of storage space and other features provided free, though additional storage is available for an annual fee based on how much the user feels they need. While many services provided by iCloud, including iTunes content, sync data and Photo Stream, do not count against the 5GB total, some things do -- including email, documents, iOS device backups and saved app data.
The web portal attempts to replicate as closely as possible both the look and the functionality of the desktop or iOS apps, with only minor differences. Animation features in HTML5 make it possible to smoothly replicate user interactions, right down to the check-off dismissal of completed reminders. The site also replicates the skeuomorphic look of Calendars, Contacts and Notes.
The new "Lost Mode" just expands on the previous abilities of "Find My iPhone" (which also works with other iOS devices as well as Macs). Interestingly, the service still uses Google Maps for the time being, but will undoubtedly switch over to Apple's own Maps service in due course. In addition to tracking a device or playing a sound to help find it, users will be able to have emails or iMessages sent to the owner every time the device changes location when iOS 6 is released. Currently, users can still lock or even wipe the device remotely.