Apple has announced that the long-awaited iCloud service will finally go live on October 12. The service will be free for Lion and iOS 5 users (the new mobile OS releases on the same day), and will enable cloud sharing of user contacts, pictures, and other pertinent user data across all of your Mac and iOS devices.
Apple also went over iTunes Match functionality again, which will work in tandem with iCloud to deliver music to you directly from the iTunes store. For an extra fee ($24.99 a year), you can "match" any music in your library up to the tracks on iTunes servers, and then re-download those tracks as if you really owned them to any of your Mac or iOS devices. iTunes Match is set to go live with iCloud in the US on October 12, and then show up in the rest of the world later on this year.
It's been a long wait, but Apple's full entry into the cloud is finally coming. Next week, we'll finally see for ourselves what iCloud has to offer.