Apple this morning has opened up iCloud — its new syncing service for iOS, Mac OS X Lion, and Windows from beta.

One of the first things to be aware of before hopping on board is that accessing iCloud requires you to have iOS 5.0 and Mac OS Lion 10.7.2 both of which have not been made available to the public as of yet (due soon if not later today). If you’re interested in making the jump early you must have either iOS 5 or Mac OS 10.7.2 but it will not require both. Otherwise I’d hang tight until these updates are made publicly available.

The second thing to consider if you’re a current MobileMe user is that you will be migrating from MobileMe to iCloud. During the migration process iCloud informs you that you will still be able to access the features of MobileMe while the service is available up until June 2012, after which it will be discontinued and then several MobileMe syncing features will no longer be available such as the ability to sync Dock Items, Keychains, Mail accounts, and Mail rules. If any of these items are essential to your process, I’d wait to upgrade as it is always possible that between now and June 2012 Apple may restore some of these features.

When you make the transition, you will want to make sure that all of the data you currently sync between your devices is consistent. A word of caution: Before I started migrating, I discovered that my data was indeed out of sync — having some contacts on my primary Mac that should have been on my iPhone but were not. Take some time to double-check all your data just to be safe.

The process to migrate was completely painless. After pointing your browser at and attempting to log in with your MobileMe account, you’ll be greeted with a dialog box that looks like an iOS notification telling you: “To sign in, move this MobileMe account to iCloud.”

The process from there out is very straightforward. Just follow the on-screen migration assist, after which any devices that are logged into a MobileMe account are automatically migrated to iCloud and your data will now be available within iCloud.

Preview of iCloud

iCloud closely resembles MobileMe. You will see the familiar Mail, Contacts, Calendar, and Find My iPhone apps along with the new iWork area of iCloud. See the screenshots below:

Five features that are not immediately present within the web interface of iCloud are Reminders, Bookmarks, Notes, Photo Stream, and Backup — each of which will be accessible under Mail, Contacts, and Calendars of your iPhone Settings and from the System Preference of Lion after updating to 10.7.2.