A few ill-formed thoughts on Apple’s iCloudThere’s a lot to process on Apple’s iCloud Super Fun Happy Jamboree kEyNoT_E™ from yesterday. It all happened with Apple’s usual boasts that they’re doing something totally new (they so aren’t) and with the excitement that only Apple can generate in not doing something new: they almost always seem to do it better.
Here’s a bunch of poorly thought-out thoughts on it all:
A pretty good chunk of iCloud seems just like Mobile Me with a different name and a little cleaned up and optimized. But with the weird restrictions (photos are stored for 30 days?) and the 5 GB of space, I’m not really sure this is the service that’s going to move the average user to device independence and “change the way we use computers”.
The part I’m most interested in is the iTunes in the cloud, and their “one more thing” of iTunes Match. Basically, this service is what Lala did: recreates your library in the cloud. iTunes Match promises that if it will only have to upload your songs to the cloud if it can’t find it in the library of what they sell. But the iTunes cover finder tells me it can’t find album covers that I can see that they have in the store. Why should I think that they’ll be able to match music any better?
In other words, where Apple promises that your iCloud music will be synced in “minutes”, don’t believe it. It’s still going to take a pretty good long while, and those of us with 100 GB+ music libraries will still be waiting a long time.
We still haven’t seen much. Do playlists sync? Can you download some songs for offline access? I also wonder how this is going to work with ISPs and phone companies beginning to charge for larger uses of bandwidth. We’re constantly told that it’s only a select few people that go past the monthly limit, but when average people start streaming all their music at all times, won’t that start putting a whole lot more people past the limits? There may be a fight brewing here.
And this bugs me: “Users get 5 GB of storage for free”. As long as we’re still talking about 5 GB here and 2 GB there and “pay for 20 GB”, we won’t be living our lives fully in the cloud. iCloud is taking a step forward, but it’s a small one. This is an improvement in convenience for Apple users, but it’s really more of a necessary move rather than something that will get anyone getting anxious to switch to a Mac.