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Apple acquires big data company to help improve iCloud

What is happening with iCloud within Apple? Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Apple is trying to improve its iCloud services. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Rightly or wrongly, iCloud is one of Apple’s most regularly criticized products (speaking personally, I’ve never had any major problems with it, but I use Google’s rival service far more.) It seems that Apple is more than aware of the negative feedback, however, because it’s in the process of improving the back-end infrastructure needed to support its cloud-based services.

Firstly, the company bought FoundationDB, a Virginia-based startup, which specializes in handling large chunks of data very quickly. Now a separate report claims that Apple acquired U.K.-based big data analytics firm Acunu sometime in late 2013, with the likely effort of using its database technology for providing analytics related to iCloud services.

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Apple launches web-only iCloud apps for everyone

iCloud apps are now open to everyone. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

iCloud web-apps are now open to everyone. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

You no longer need a Mac or iOS device to access Apple’s web-only version of iCloud apps.

Apple announced that starting today, anyone — even PC-users — can access its suite of iCloud web-based productivity apps, Pages, Numbers, and Keynote, for free.

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iWork for all! Apple opens up iCloud website to everyone

iWork for everyone! Photo: Cult of Mac

iWork for everyone! Photo: Cult of Mac

If you’ve been interested in trying out Apple’s iWork suite of productivity apps for yourself, but don’t have an Apple device to try them on, you’re in luck: Anyone can now create an Apple ID and sign into the iCloud Beta website to use Pages, Numbers and Keynote for free.

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Patent troll threatens Apple with legal action over iCloud violation

The lesser-spotted patent troll. Photo: Andrew Becraft/Flickr CC

The lesser-spotted patent troll. Photo: Andrew Becraft/Flickr CC

Imagine a lifetime job with Apple, that doesn’t require you going into the office every day, from which you can never be fired, but which still gives you a sizeable guaranteed paycheck at the end of each month.

If that sounds like a dream come true, apparently you share the same utopian vision as a little company called Hall Data Sync Technologies: a non-practicing patent troll company which just filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Apple.

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Apple forces GoodReader to pull some iCloud Drive functionality from app

Photo: GoodReader

Photo: GoodReader

GoodReader is a popular document reader app that can view or read pretty much every type of document under the sun. The latest update to the app makes it more powerful than ever, introducing a new Speak feature that can basically turn any PDF or TXT file into an audiobook.

But it also just got a little worse: the latest update to GoodReader has dropped certain iCloud Drive functionality to prevent being pulled from the App Store. And, as usual, the issue has to do with Apple’s complete opacity when it comes to what is and isn’t allowed with iCloud Drive.

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With iCloud switch, Apple completes purge of Google Maps

iCloud.com is free of Google Maps. Photo: Cult of Mac

iCloud.com is free of Google Maps. Photo: Cult of Mac

Apple Maps has been out for over two years, but it’s just finally completing its original mission to completely replace Google Maps in all of Apple’s products.

Starting today, iCloud.com users will see an online version of Apple Maps when using Find My iPhone instead of Google Maps.

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Apple’s weird iCloud Drive rule could cripple apps

Apple announced the ability for third-party apps to share files at WWDC in June. Photo: Roberto Baldwin/ The Next Web

Apple announced the ability for third-party apps to share files at WWDC in June. Photo: Roberto Baldwin/ The Next Web

Apple’s new interpretation of a particular iOS 8 feature could severely cripple countless third-party apps like Dropbox and Evernote.

The new interpretation came to light after Panic, a very respected indie developer, was told to remove the ability to send files to iCloud Drive in its file transfer app Transmit. And because of the way iOS 8 is designed, the app can no longer send files to any other storage provider.

What’s worse is that Apple provided little to no explanation for why it was implementing the policy change, and there’s no telling which app will forced to comply next.

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Why iCloud is Apple’s worst product

What is happening with iCloud within Apple? Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

What is happening with iCloud within Apple? Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

iCloud was hailed by Tim Cook back in 2012 as “not just a product. It’s a strategy for the next decade.” Yet these days, iCloud is something of a mess: Not only has it not gained significant features since launch, but a slate of very public hacks have made it a rare black mark on Apple’s security record.

What the heck happened? According to a new report, iCloud isn’t living up to its potential because, organizationally, it’s an orphan within Apple.

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iCloud.com beta adds ability to upload photos from browser

Photo: Apple

Photo: Apple

Today Apple quietly added a new feature to the developer beta version of iCloud.com. Photos can now be uploaded directly from the browser to a user’s iCloud Photo Library, which was introduced with iOS 8.1.

Since Apple isn’t releasing its new Photos app for OS X until next year, this could very well be the only way to upload photos to iCloud from a desktop for months.

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Your Final Fantasy V saves follow you wherever you go with iCloud syncing

ff5

Photo: Square Enix

First arriving on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) way back in 1992, Final Fantasy V is one of the greatest RPGs ever made — and thanks to a new update by Square Enix, its iOS port is now more playable than ever.

Following on from Apple’s Handoff feature for iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite, the update similarly encourages you to pick up play on whichever iOS device is closest to you with a new iCloud save syncing feature. What this means is that game data saved using iCloud can now be shared across devices, so you can enjoy working through Final Fantasy V on an iPad at home and an iPhone while on the move.

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