I've been impressed to find that my iPod touch has been synchronizing over WiFi when I start iTunes now, which is admittedly pretty neat. The more transparent the content loading process, the better -- and here, that's "Better as in magical" better.

Was looking to see where the magic was with my pictures, though, and things took a dive. I'd just gotten an extended battery for my Android phone that required a replacement phone back to cover the battery on steroids, and the back I received had much of its matte finish sluff off in the packaging. I took a picture to email the merchant with my iPod touch, and went to my Mac, ready to email it.

It's nowhere. I have Lion, but never upgraded iPhoto to match, so no Photo Stream there. Nor is Photo Stream automatically synchronizing with my Pictures folder.

But guess what? It is syncing with Windows Vista for free.

How To Get iCloud's Photo Stream Working On A PC:

I find it interesting that Windows users can get this utility for free. Whereas on the Mac, in order to get iCloud syncing you have to upgrade to OS X Lion, which costs $30. One of the few times PCs get the advantage over Macs with iDevices.

Yep, not just Lion, but also iPhoto for $15 more. So that's $45 to use Photo Stream on my Mac, $0 on Windows.

I recently defended Apple to someone who asked why they had to upgrade everything to the latest version to have it all work like this...

I think this way of doing business (having a very small set of supported devices and software) fairly obviously allows Apple to offer better integration and fancier features. And the market seems to respond to it.

But it still makes you wonder when Windows users come out ahead at times. (I believe the last time I posted about it was when a version of iTunes worked with a much older Windows computer than Mac.)