Amazon courts iPad users with cloud service updates

An update to Cloud Player works with the iPad, ahead of Apple's iCloud launch later this year

Amazon has updated its Cloud Player service to work with the iPad, hoping to reel in users of the Apple device before Apple launches its competing iCloud service later this year.

Users can now play music stored in the Amazon Cloud Drive service from their iPad, using the Safari browser and the Amazon Cloud Player for Web, Amazon announced Wednesday. The player already worked with Android devices, Macs and PCs.

Amazon also said that, for a limited time, anyone who subscribes to a Cloud Drive storage plan for US$20 or more per year will get "unlimited" storage space for MP3 and AAC music files. Cloud Drive is free for up to 5GB of space but additional storage requires payment.

It also said that all customers, including those with a free Cloud Drive account, can store all their MP3s purchased from Amazon for free. The offer covers MP3s purchased before the launch of Cloud Drive as well as future purchases, Amazon said. Storage of Amazon MP3s does not count against a user's storage quota.

Amazon launched Cloud Player and Cloud Drive in March. Cloud Drive lets users store content including documents, pictures, videos and music, and Cloud Player lets them stream music to devices.

Soon after Amazon launched the services, Apple announced iCloud, an upgrade to its MobileMe service that lets users store photos, documents, e-mail and music online. That service, for iPad, iPhone and Macintosh users, is due to launch later this year.

Nancy Gohring covers mobile phones and cloud computing for The IDG News Service. Follow Nancy on Twitter at @idgnancy. Nancy's e-mail address is Nancy_Gohring@idg.com

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