Apple’s brand new plans for the cloud – creatively named iCloud – are a big boost for cloud services. So far, most of the adoption of these services has been by the ”digerati,” not by mainstream consumers. A big reason for this is because using the cloud always felt like you were using something that was remote and hard to reach, outside of your comfort zone. It can be like calling your mother long distance on your cell phone – you can talk to her, but the tinny voice quality doesn’t make you feel like she is near you and there is always the chance your call will get dropped.
What Apple is proposing would change this. Steve Jobs’ relentless quest for perfection has made Apple the master of making everything work seamlessly. That feeling that you are dropping a file miles away somewhere in the Internet void will vanish from the mind of the user. All the devices in the Apple ecosystem will integrate with it and will be kept in synch at all times. Is your photo library on your iPad stored in the cloud or locally? The average consumer won’t ever know, because Apple knows that the experience needs to be exactly the same.
Apple’s strategy also benefits from being a more app-centric approach, which allows each application to handle constraints about using the cloud in the best possible manner. Is the device disconnected from the network when you are using iPhoto? Save a local copy of all the thumbnails so some of the browsing functionality is still available. Is your sync scheduled to run when the cloud is down? Run it as soon as possible when a new connection is sensed again. Try doing that with Google Docs. If your Internet is down, you’re dead in the water – unless you use Gears, but for most people that is a bridge too far – and you have to keep trying until it comes back up.
You may also be thinking that it appears Apple is late to the game. However, it seems Apple actually has timed its entry at the most opportune moment. Apple’s proposal, if they can pull it off, will put the icing on the cake of cloud services, making iCloud and its array of cloud-friendly apps an enjoyable experience for all. This is good news for consumers who will be offered seamless and ubiquitous access to their most precious content. It is also good news for the industry, since it will nudge all services to take the next step in making their cloud offering as transparent as possible to their customers.
Photo by iMaffo