Apple to Launch New iCloud Photo-Sharing Service

Apple Inc. is preparing an upgrade of its online service iCloud that includes new photo-sharing features, according to people familiar with the matter.

The new features, expected to be announced at Apple's worldwide developer conference beginning June 11, will allow iCloud users to share sets of photos with other iCloud users and to comment on them, these people said.

Currently, users can only store one set of photos in iCloud through a feature called Photo Stream, which is designed to sync those photos to other Apple devices not share them.

Apple is also working on a new feature that will allow iCloud users to sync their personal videos via iCloud, these people said, as well as allow users to access "Notes" and "Reminders" -- two of its apps for jotting down quick thoughts -- through Currently, those items have to be access via apps for those features.

These features are also expected in Apple's next mobile phone operating system iOS 6, which Apple is planning to preview to developers in June, the people said.

An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment.

The moves will amount to the latest big refresh of iCloud since its launch last October. The service is highly strategic for Apple as it tries to satisfy customers who want to access their data across different Apple devices. As of April, 125 million Apple device owners had signed up for iCloud.