Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Apple Introduces iCloud, Sues Whole World for Rights to the Word "Cloud"

Okay, I'm writing this one as a favor to my Apple enthusiast friend who is a borderline Chrome OS convert.

First of all, let's disclose the obvious that I have adopted Steve Ballmer's "All in for the cloud" mantra and am virtually a paid Google employee.  Phew.  With that off my chest, I will continue.

Is that the Soundcloud logo in silver!!  Someone file suit, quick!
Mr. Jobs (to avoid contention, I'll refrain from using my favorite nick name for him) and company have released a new way to cut the USB/Firewire cords and still sync data across different devices.  What's new?  Rather than manually storing all my data on all my Apple branded products, I can now entrust all my data to Apple's online iCloud service, which will sync the data to my different devices for me.  Pretty cool.  What's the same?  Yes, you guessed I would say it: "walled garden."  If I want to sync my data across different devices, I'd better be wearing a turtleneck and jeans (sorry, I gave in to the temptation!).  In other words, I have to own an automagical Apple product, or I'm hosed.

As I commented on Chrome OS Site, I see this move as Apple essentially doing what Microsoft does best:  Tying users to its own products and services, except for Apple takes the magic one step further, decreeing that users must use its infallible products, or die (okay, just lose access to their data).

I'm glad to see things moving more and more toward the cloud -- wait, am I allowed to use that word, now? -- and my preference is for users to take their data where they want, when they want it (which many will argue Google fails at because ubiquitous internet has yet to arrive).

For those who chafe at using Chrome OS because, GASP, it stores everything in the cloud! how is iCloud any different?  In a lot of ways, I welcome Apple's pretended venture into the clouds (I say pretended because where do I access my data?  I presume on locally-installed programs, er, apps) because more and more people will realize that trusting our data to third parties (again, GASP) is inevitable.

iCloud is free
0 visible dollars (the cost is built into the products/services) does seem a lot better than MobileMe's $99 price tag.
Yes, iCloud may be free to those willing to don a turtleneck and jeans, day in and day out.  For those who want to slip into something else (use a non-Apple product), iCloud is, as I understand it, the antithesis of free.

I have a dream that one day my children and grandchildren will be able to access their data and apps wherever they go and on any machine, not because of the products they own, but because they will have universal access to it across any device.

I will hand it to Apple and assume this service will appease many fans, while allowing it to somewhat dip a toe into cloud computing.  On the other hand, I feel like Apple and Microsoft will eventually lose substantial ground to companies like Google, Facebook, and Amazon, because the former two insist on maintaining their tired (did you like that snark?) and true business models.

In the early 2000s, Apple broke out of its customary PC/laptop shell and opened up to all things iPortable.  Is iCloud the beginning of Apple's transition to cloud computing?  I doubt it, but time will tell.

For more, Google iCloud.  ;)  Or, you could simply read what I consider an even-handed article from CNET.

You may now shower me with boos, hisses, weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth.  I have only one request: Do it in the comments section, for all to see. }:-)

6 comments:

Fletch said...

I'm not crazy about the cloud as it requires an internet connection all the time and yes, I don't trust big brother and that includes corporations.

I have an iphone and absolutely DETEST getting things on and off of it for use on my PC, etc. I practically swear every time. But as long as Steve Job's minions keep buying his products (including me) nothing will change and he'll be able to make me dance like a puppet dangling from string on an ipad.

Cougar Abogado said...

As a road warrior, I can certainly imagine your displeasure with cloud computing, 3G speeds, 4G caps and availability. I hope that as smartphones smother the earth, 4G and next generation networks will get faster, more ubiquitious, and cheaper. I assume this is a matter of time.

I also feel your pain on the big brother aspect. Let me know when you discontinue your blog and webmail services. :P (I seriously do see where you're coming from.)

Wait, so do you have an iPad, or are you feeling drawn to it?

Absent any doubt, I definitely applaud Steve's business acumen and dare I say it -- salesmanship -- for building a tied-in empire, which consistently generates inward cash flow, just like Office or Windows.

For more on the salesmanship bit, I strongly recommend this article from Rob Enderle, even if I do disagree with most of his takes on Google: http://www.itbusinessedge.com/cm/blogs/enderle/the-lesson-to-be-learned-from-apple/?cs=46826.

Fletch said...

sassy article. Good stuff.

Cougar Abogado said...

Glad you enjoyed it.

So what's your answer to the iPad question?

Christy said...

hiss

Cougar Abogado said...

Nice.