Apple’s iCloud could help make digital instruction easier

The new synching service that Jobs announced June 6 could be a boon for consumers, because more than 18 billion songs already have been bought through iTunes. It also could help make digital instruction with resources bought through Apple’s online stores easier. Apple said June 6 that more than 130 million digital copies of books have been downloaded from its store so far.

The new feature, allowing additional copies of previously purchased songs and books to be sent automatically to more devices, is available now.

It means that a teacher could buy one digital copy of a book or movie from Apple’s online store and have that resource appear on his or her computer, as well as up to nine other student devices at the same time.

Jobs also unveiled a way for most people to keep their entire music collections on the company’s computers without going through the time-consuming hassle of uploading each song over the internet.

The $25-per-year service, called iTunes Match, will allow people to play their personal jukeboxes on any device with iTunes software, instead of keeping them tethered to a personal computer that must be synced with other devices.

It’s aimed at people who have transferred their CD collections to the iTunes library on their own computers, but it also gives music labels a chance to be paid for pirated music. Apple is paying most of the iTunes Match revenue to the labels.

The music streaming is part of broader service, called iCloud, that represents Apple’s attempt to persuade the tens of millions of people who own iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touches to store documents, video, and photos in three data centers, including a recently completed one in rural North Carolina that cost more than $500 million.

The allure for consumers is to have all their digital content available on any device running Apple’s mobile software, called iOS.

For Apple, the iCloud service represents a response to similar storage services offered by Google Inc. and Inc.