Gaunt Jobs unveils iCloud music system

STEVE Jobs yesterday broke his medical leave to announce a new cloud-based music service that threatens to sink rivals such as Spotify.

The gaunt-looking Apple boss unveiled iCloud, a music-streaming and online data storage service that can be accessed on devices such as the iPad and the iPhone.

The service will allow users to instantly access any song purchased on iTunes on any device. Using a function known as iTunes Match, the system scans users’ hard drives and automatically makes the songs it finds available on the iCloud. In contrast, users of Google and Amazon cloud-based storage have to upload every song themselves.

“iCloud is integrated with your apps, so everything happens automatically,” said Jobs, whose decision to headline the event assuaged some concerns about his health, although Apple’s shares slid 1.6 per cent after the press conference.

Jobs went on to unveil a new version of the company’s iOS mobile operating system. He hit back at reports claiming Apple is losing ground to Google’s Android platform, saying iOS has sold over 200m devices. This would give it 44 per cent of the mobile platform market. Android trails on 28 per cent, Blackberry maker RIM on 19 per cent and others on nine per cent.

In a wide-ranging press event, the company also unveiled a revamped version of Apple’s Mac operating system, OS X Lion, which it branded the world’s “most advanced operating system”.