If you use Gmail, Hotmail or Yahoo, you know your email is accessible from any computer or smartphone. That’s because your messages are stored “in the cloud.”

What is iCloud? Apple puts it like this: “iCloud stores your music, photos, apps, calendars, documents, and more. And wirelessly pushes them to all your devices — automatically. It’s the easiest way to manage your content. Because now you don’t have to.”

If you take a picture on your iPhone, it appears on your Mac. If you write a document on your iPad, it appears on your iPhone. If you buy a song on iTunes, it becomes available on all your devices.

The cloud isn’t new, but when Apple pushes out a product, they often find a new and improved way to utilize existing technology.

iCloud was designed with three things in mind: convenience, portability, and consolidation. It allows you to keep your devices in sync, to access your data from anywhere, and do it all within a single, central hub. That last design feature gives Apple a certain degree of control over the user base.

Apple’s iCloud and its consumerization of centralized, cloud-based data and services will undoubtedly result in even more consumers connecting to even more devices.

Better yet, iCloud will spur even more innovation among Apple’s partners and competitors. Soon, we will see more products and services consolidated in “the sky,” which other cloud services will connect to. Consumers will also have more options for creating their own personal clouds, in the form of smarter home-based servers, making it easier to manage all of their devices and keep them secure.

And for all you PC lovers, there will surely be many more offerings to keep your digital life in sync, because, well, not everybody likes apples.

Robert Siciliano, personal security expert contributor to Just Ask Gemalto. Disclosures

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