iCloud for Windows Beta 4 was released alongside iOS 5 Beta 5 and iTunes 10.5 Beta 5 last week. Here’s a quick look at some of the features.

The installation process is pretty straight forward and standard for Apple. I installed iCloud on two of my PCs running Windows 7. One thing I found awkward about this process was that one of my computers needed restarting before using iCloud, while the other was set to go right away…

Once it’s up and running, you will have to login to your iCloud account. When you do this, you will be brought to the main screen.

At the bottom of the page you have the standard features to sign out of your iCloud account, show your iCloud status in your taskbar, and manage your iCloud storage.

Showing your iCloud status in the status bar isn’t as helpful as you’d think. It simply places an iCloud icon in your taskbar with the option to right click and open the control panel. Basically, it’s just a shortcut.

Managing your iCloud storage isn’t much different to the iOS feature. Selecting “Manage” allows you to view what services are being used and how much storage space each service uses. You also have the option to buy extra storage.

The only major bug I’ve encountered with iCloud so far is the Photo Stream feature. I have my iPhone, my desktop PC, and my laptop PC all using the same iCloud account, yet each device has a different set of pictures. At first I thought it was just slow in syncing, but after testing for two days there hasn’t been any difference at all. This is acceptable, though, as iCloud and iCloud for Windows are both still in beta stages.

Photo Stream adds a folder to your “My Pictures” folder. Inside the Photo Stream folder are two more folders: “My Photo Stream” and “Uploads.” I didn’t have much luck trying either, but it’s a good guess that “My Photo Stream” is for your Photo Stream and “Uploads” is for uploading and viewing pictures. You can also change the folder names and where they are located on your system.

“Bookmarks” pretty much does what it implies: the syncing of your Internet Explorer bookmarks to the iCloud. I was pretty shocked when I saw that there was no Safari support, or other browser support for that matter.

Providing you have Microsoft Outlook installed, iCloud does an excellent job of syncing your Mail, Contacts, Calendars & Tasks. This is by far the best feature of iCloud and I have had no problem with it whatsoever. iCloud does it all for you; you simply press a button and your Outlook is fully synced.

iCloud has a great set of features, but the biggest downfall so far is there is no manual file management. Hopefully this is something Apple will implement.

Do you think iCloud is a market destroyer for cloud storage? Or do you think it’ll take a lot more to dethrone competitors?

  • HUTCH

    Thanks for the info… particularly interesting was your testing of iCloud using a PC instead of a Mac.

    • Shezi

      Haha I only have a Windows PC that’s why! No Mac yet…

  • Tobi.

    No support for windows xp. No interest. Absolutely digraceful by Aplple. Leaving Millons of users in the cold.

    • Justin

      Not even Microsoft wants you using XP anymore, they said it themselves. They are trying to move on, pushing you towards 7 and pretty soon 8. Not that big of a failure, Windows 7 is the best Windows OS anyway, why not use it.

      • Craig

        Exactly !! It’s like the tools who still want to use the earliest version of iOS, quit being cheap and upgrade.

    • Bradley Kelly

      windows xp is crap anyway. but u proberly could download it for windows xp soon as this is a beta version so Apple may still be working on a windows xp version

  • Justin

    Apple will figure out a way to make it the simplest cloud storage out there, so because of that, I’ll use it.

  • habib

    Is bookmark sync only with IE?

    • habib

      well… I guess you answered that. nvm

    • Bradley Kelly

      Sadly he did say it is but remember that its the beta version so there (hopefully) could be support for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari soon.

  • John

    Yeah always thought it was strange no bookmark synch with Safari/chrome/firefox? The last two I understand but Safari?

  • Nobody

    So where is the support for linux?

    • Craig

      Who cares.

  • zYx

    No Opera bookmarks sync. No iCloud for me. All other browsers suck big time! Don’t you know that already people?

    • MrChris

      To each there own!

    • Craig

      All other browsers suck except Opera, what planet do you live on !

    • I don’t personally use Opera but I agree this option should be available for those who do.

    • Bradley Kelly

      OMG!!! You can’t beat Google Chrome!

    • danparedes

      Althoug I like Opera, It’s naive to think that Apple will have support a browser with less than a 3% share,

  • Nikolas

    Why does everyone care so much about bookmark syncing? This is easily available on any computer using Google Chrome (and firefox I think?) and the iOS application “iChromy” completes the process.

  • How about syncing IE bookmarks with Chrome, FF, etc, and IE syncs with iCloud, problem solved?

  • itrax

    Does it work with Outlook 2010 64 bit? MobileMe only worked with Outlook 2010 32 bit! http://support.apple.com/kb/DL769

  • daron

    Should check out http://www.lifesort.com. Independent solution that offers complete next gen file manager accross patforms. Windows is out in beta, iphonentoo, Mac expected dec ’11