Apple is set to change the technology world again. And this time it is entering the cloud computing realm. With the recent announcement of the iCloud service, it has embarked in a crusade to change the way customers store and access their files and applications.
iCloud is an Internet-based service which stores and automatically synchronizes content, in order for it to become available on all Apple devices: iMacs, iPods, iPads, etc. The supported content ranges from music, photos, books and documents, to email, contacts, calendar and bookmarks.
Below I take a look at the major benefits and what I consider to be disadvantages of the new service:
- The synchronizing of documents is the obvious advantage of the iCloud. Since no one is using just one digital device, this step is quite necessary, in order to allow people to have access to files easily and conveniently. Having to remember what files you stored on what device is not very practical.
- Another advantage is that Apple offers 5 GB of free storage space, which does not include music, apps, books and photos. Personally, I’m curious how fast people will use up those 5GB.
- Furthermore, it syncs documents created with third-party apps. Will this have any impact on developing apps for iCloud? Or is this all handled at the IOS level?
- On the other side of the coin, being able to store singles not bought from the iTunes in exchange for an annual fee, through the iTunes Match services (with a 25000 song limit) has brought up the subject of piracy. Here is an interesting point of view: http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2011/06/07/apple-offers-music-pirates-permanent-amnesty-for-24-99/?section=magazines_fortune However, I would expect they have probably worked this out.
- Moreover, there is no iCloud support for XP users. The service requires either Vista or Windows 7. So in the end, Apple I actually pushing Windows users to upgrade to Microsoft’s latest OS.
All in all, iCloud provides easy access to the entire content one might need, while taking advantage of the mobility, reliability, and scalability characteristic to cloud computing. Also, if you lose one device, you can take advantage of the backup capabilities offered by the cloud – no files are lost.
People are quite skeptic regarding whether the iCloud will prove to be a popular product, since this is not the first time Apple has tried to achieve success in this area (MobileMe was quite disappointing). I believe that this service will boost the popularity of cloud computing even more and will prove to bring a major impact in the life of the average Internet user. Cloud computing becomes more and more a part of everyday life.
Photo source: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1259077.