A thin-looking Jobs took a break from his medical leave to deliver the keynote address at the Apple developers' conference in San Francisco. Jobs wants all of us to re-think how we use all our mobile devices to store music, photos, mail and documents. And if he's right, it will make our digital lives a lot simpler.
Digital devices are everywhere these days, but you have to sync them with a cable to move music, video or photos from one device to another.
Not anymore. Apple's iCloud will do it seamlessly on its own.
"And now, everything's in sync with not even having to think about it; I don't even have to take the devices out of my pocket. I don't have to be near my Mac or PC," Jobs said.
iCloud shifts storage of content onto Apple's servers, such as a new one in North Carolina, instead of storing it on an individual iPod or iPhone.
"That is a very powerful, new method for keeping things in sync and for keeping your content across all of your devices always up to date," Bare Bones Software CEO Tim Bajarin said.
It also launches a whole new way of thinking about your mobile devices. As long as the devices are connected by Wi-Fi to the Internet, the process is basically invisible.
"The heart of your computing experience is not on a computer sitting on your desk... that it's about the material that you've stored in the cloud. If you replace those devices, boom, you download from the cloud, and everything is updated," Forbes Bureau Chief Eric Savitz said.
The iCloud service is free. Apple will make its money by selling music and applications on its iTunes store.
Amazon and Google have launched competing services, but users have to upload their music library. Apple will scan your library and match it against 18 million songs on its servers.
"Apple sees an opportunity there; they're going to generate revenue for themselves, they're going to generate a service for their customers and if that happens to run into competition with Amazon or Google, I don't think Apple's afraid of that," analyst Richard Siegel said.
iTunes in the cloud is available now, but iCloud will expand to include documents and even more uses in the fall with new versions of Apple's operating systems for the Mac and for mobile devices.