Apple iCloud notches up more than 300 million users

Cloud with thumbs up
Cloud with thumbs up

Consumer electronics giant added 50 million more users over past quarter

iCloud, Apple’s cloud storage and syncing service, now has in excess of 300 million users, according to the firm's chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer.

During the company’s second quarter 2013 results, it was revealed that over 50 million users had joined the service in the past three months – an increase of over 20 per cent.

The service, which was launched in October 2011, allows the storage and syncing of data such as songs purchased through iTunes, calendars and email across handheld Apple devices such as iPhones and iPads, as well as desktop PCs.

According to a recent report, iCloud is the dominant force in cloud storage with 27 per cent of the American market, outstripping other services such as Dropbox (17 per cent), Amazon Cloud Drive (15 per cent) and Google Drive (10 per cent).

iCloud replaced Apple’s pre-existing MobileMe service in 2012, which had been running in various forms, including iTools and .Mac since 2012. These offerings have their roots in the company’s eWorld service, which ran from June 1994 to March 1996 and integrated web-based email and bulletin board services.

Like other consumer oriented storage services, iCloud has found its way into the business market, but its use here is controversial.

While Apple has introduced security measures such as two factor authentication to try and make its security more robust, it still suffers lapses.

The company’s iForgot service, which allows iCloud, iTunes and App Store users to reset forgotten passwords, was found to contain a loophole that allowed hackers to hijack accounts which had not implemented the two step sign in.

As such, concerns over security have led to it being banned in some large companies, such as IBM which disabled all public file transfer sites, including iCloud and Dropbox, as well as disabling Apple’s voice activated digital personal assistant, Siri.

iCloud was recently hit by an outage that also affected iTunes and left some users unable to access their accounts for several hours. Twitter was also reported to be down for some users at the same time.

While this issue was resolved, neither Apple nor Twitter has disclosed the root cause of the problem.