Demoted? But in which context?
you have to understand the context to when he said that Macs/PCs are being demoted. Unlike what a lot of commentators think, this icloud isn't there to replace your filesystem. Its not going to be the source for all your data. How can it be? They are only offering 5GB per account for misc data.
No. What the icloud is, is that its a conduit to keep all your devices (iphone, ipod touch, ipad AND Mac/PCs) in sync. It does a lot that Google already does with its services and which may I add, works perfectly on iOS devices as well as Android devices. For now, its my calender and email that GOOG takes care off. Hate the way they handle my contacts so I sync my Address Book via iTunes/USB.
With this iCloud, my address book, recent photos (upto the last 1000), calenders, my IWork files and any apps, music I purchase through iTunes is kept in sync across all my devices (upto 10 I believe).Through wifi/3G and this service is free.
This does not keep my picture folder syncd. I have about 30 gigs of photos and about 28 gigs of music. To keep this syncd, I'll still need dropbox or sugarsync. iCloud will not help.
What it can do for the pics is to have the last 1000 pics available on all the devices for instant gratification. But still useless if you ask me. As the new pics are not uploaded through 3G. So for example, I cant take a picture and ask the wife to show it to the in-laws using the AppleTV. I would have to be within WiFi. Which means either office (eh? whats in office I want to show my wife!!??) or home where I might as well connect through their fantastic AirPlay feature instead.
Another negative point is the 1000 pics are limited to the "photo stream" album. So what happens when I move a picture to a folder say "kids". Is this reflected on all the devices? From the keynote/demo, it was not clear and I don't think it does so thats a big fail. I'm not going to move individual pics to appropriate albums on different devices. Thats where having dropbox/sugarsync helps.
When it comes to music, they're offering a service called itunes Match for 24 bucks a year. What this does is scan your harddisk for all music (legit bought / ripped from CDs / piratebay(??)) and matches the songs with their online database. Once matched, its considered as in the cloud and is propagated to all your devices as high quality 256kb AAC files. Music in kept in sync depending on device capacity and for the price of 25 bucks a year. Any new music bought with iTunes is automatically added to all devices (including Macs/PCs) and upto 10 devices. Any songs that they can't match when first scanning, they will upload (probably convert and push to other devices). This matching service is extremely efficient and kudos to them. We've all heard how Google Music and Amazon has failed there by forcing actual uploads of all your music taking sometimes upto a week or more.
The Match service for 25 bucks if it works as I understand, seems good value as in the slide, Jobs mentioned that it'll be the same 25$ for 20,000 songs (about 75-100 GB) also. Thats a lot of songs.... I have about 6,000 now and all the new music is shit so I don't expect that to grow very fast. If I compared this to dropbox/sugarsync, this 100 GB will cost me between 150-250$ a year. So their Match service is cheap.
But if you have to have a dropbox to keep the pictures in sync, maybe this will not be so useful as is the case for me.