The “Apple doesn’t get the cloud” era is officially over

Dan Frommer:

Many of the most interesting and potentially useful features unveiled this week at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference rely on the company’s iCloud service or otherwise involve network-connected devices talking to each other. The masses will be able to take advantage of these additions on their Macs, iPads, and iPhones later this year.

For Apple customers and developers, this has been a long time coming. iCloud—the last product Steve Jobs announced before he died in 2011—is an incredibly important strategic piece of Apple’s future. Yet its usefulness has always seemed underwhelming, as if cloud services were Apple’s lowest priority.

But this year’s WWDC keynote carried a different tone, with a notable uptick in useful, cloud-centered announcements and more competitive pricing.

Unlike Frommer, I’m not jumping to the headline’s conclusion until I’ve seen it in action with average users.

  • Exactly. I’ll believe it when it ships and works.

    I told Frommer on G+ the same but also that Apple has been there for years. They simply haven’t fulfilled their promise.

    Here’s to them making it work this go’round.

  • dreyfus2

    Well, I agree with Frommer as far as their strategy is concerned. They seem to have addressed all common cloud-related complaints/issues (Photo Stream limitations, file accessibility, file sharing, ways to work around sandboxing, storage pricing) with only the 25k iTunes Match limit still being unaddressed. And with CloudKit they even created something that could allow developers to bypass costly services like Azure for many purposes.

    Of course though, we will have to wait for the execution of all that; MobileMe worked pretty well when Jobs presented it and crashed completely, and developer happiness with iCloud “1” wasn’t really through the roof either.

  • SockRolid

    In this decade, iCloud is to Apple what iTunes was to Apple in the ’00s. Best to take things slow, not make any false moves, get features right before release. This is exactly the opposite of Google’s mindless dump-it-out-ASAP-and-call-it-a-beta strategy.

    • Name the last cloud solution Google released with the “dump-it-out-ASAP-and-call-it-a-beta strategy”. I really can’t think of one in recent years.

      • Slurpy2k11

        I liked how you prefaced his statement with “cloud solution”. Google has dumped a shitload of products the last few years and it then decided either to drop or let stagnate. As examples:

        • Google Reader
        • iGoogle
        • Google Talk
        • Google Health
        • Knol
        • Google Buzz
        • Aadrdvark
        • Google Labs
        • Google Wave
        • Google Page Creator
        • Google Answers

        • a shitload more. I actually used all of these at one point or another. This doesnt even include hardware offerings, like the Nexus Q, Google TV (pretty much left to rot), Chromebook Pixel (not a single update since it launched), Google Glass (remember when all Google execs used to wear it at presentations?) which Google has decided to silently launch the dev versions, but seems to have scrapped a real mass market launched and moved it out of the spotlight because of negative feedback. Yes, Google throws alot of shit at the wall, and many products it doesnt even have the conviction to commit to after the “beta period” is over.

        • I’ll respond to the rest later but you’re 100% wrong about the Pixel. I get updates almost weekly on that.

        • Apologies on the delayed response Slurpy.

          Yes, we’re discussing Apple’s cloud solution so I limited the discussion to that vs going back and forth over the graveyards both companies have dug [don’t think Apple hasn’t threw crap against the wall either].

          But…I’ll give you the courtesy of discussing your list.

          • Google Reader – Yep
          • iGoogle – Yep [see Google+]
          • Google Talk – Upgrade to Hangouts
          • Google Health – [no clue why]
          • Knol – [no clue why]
          • Google Buzz – Yep [see Google+]
          • Aadrdvark – Yep, acquihire. [See Google+]
          • Google Labs – Yep [Aardvark lumps w/ this]
          • Google Wave – Yep [see Google+]
          • Google Page Creator – Yep
          • Google Answers – Yep

          [others from next paragraph]

          Pixel – Wrong. I get updates very often. Glass – Wrong. Strong team behind it and still churning Nexus Q – They were in the throwing motion but never even through it. The immediate response was so loud they stopped it before it got bad.

          So, yeah…they streamlined their available options; which is better for us. The new Google doesn’t throw nearly as much as they once did.

          Either way, I’ll take a company that moves fast to closing a failing project than one that holds on too long. Most importantly I’ll take a focused company than one with too many irons in the fire.

          [none of these remarks relate anything to Apple, purely Google]

          Kyron, these are my opinions.

  • Nate

    I’ll believe it when I see it. So far today I have dealt with iCloud Photos not syncing on my Apple TV, the perennial failure of iTunes playlists to sync to my iPhone, and flaky iTunes Match behavior. As far as I’m concerned, if it says “iCloud” on the tin, it may as well say “Doesn’t Work”.

  • Bryan Pietrzak

    One thing that bodes well is that apple is dogfooding icloud kit. Something that wasn’t true before.

  • Dave Brandt

    I’m with Shawn the Skeptic. I really, really hope it is true, but I want to see it. With Dropbox, I don’t even need to think about the device that receives the files. I have, for example, an old Mac tower (10.6) that works great with Dropbox. Are PowerPCs supported by Apple’s cloud? With Dropbox, I can post files to peeps who have PCs. I even sent some podcasts to an Australian podcaster who is running Ubuntu on his laptop. Dropbox just works. That’s a great criterion. Macs are proprietary – a walled garden – but the cloud is truly universal. If Apple’s new cloud is that universal, then I’m on board.

  • Moeskido

    I can wait.

  • Hear hear. iCloud Drive might sound brilliant to the young optimists out there, but those of us old enough to remember iDisk also remember swearing, desperately posting on discussion forums, and even, for some of us, descending into near-tears while an Apple engineer tries (and fails) to get file syncing between two Macs working.

    Luckily, this reliability problem was solved for most of us—but it was solved by DropBox, not by Apple. Personally, I’m going to wait for a whole bunch of other people to give the new Apple cloud services a thorough try before I trust my data—and my mental health—to them.

    • franksspam

      Man, talk about not being able to move on 😉

      iDisk rode off into the sunset 6 years ago.

      • And MobileMe rode off into the sunset a couple of years ago, after it was a bit of a disaster, and “not up to Apple’s standards” (said Steve Jobs). Third time’s a charm, you think? Developers haven’t been that impressed with iCloud sync so far, widely disparaging it and rolling their own sync solutions…

        • franksspam

          The only problem I had with MobileMe was that it was an odd collection of features.

          You’re absolutely right that Apple did not have their CoreData for iCloud working right. However, CoreData was not the sum of iCloud services. The problem is that people like yourself have taken that one iCloud problem and tried to blanket the entirety of iCloud under it.

  • franksspam

    I’m not discounting if other people have had issues but I’ve been a satisfied customer of many of Apple’s sync services for a bunch of years now. I’ll never forget how extremely happy I was in 2008 when I bought my first iPhone and the sync of my Address Book and Calendar just worked. I had switched from a Palm Treo and that thing was a bag of hurt. It had so many sync bugs that I can’t even list them here but one of the funnier ones was that any entry in your address book that had a middle name or middle initial would see a duplicate entry added EVERY TIME you synced. It got to the point where it was hysterical. And the nightmare of upgrading the OS. It almost bricked my device. It took my 8 hours to get my device back to working order and it was such a nightmare that I simply never upgraded my wife’s Treo. Apple updates are the best in the industry.

    Both of these items use Apple’s cloud. Let’s see what else I use that works great:

    iTunes playlist sync App purchases Photo Stream iCloud iOS restore iCloud mail Safari bookmarks and open pages iTunes music and movie purchases Tweetbot sync

    Which items give me occasional problems (but only temporary):


    I always wonder why I have such good service and others complain like they’ve been struck by the seven plagues when it comes to iCloud. Am I being served from a different server farm? Are others exaggerating about the issues? Because I’ve had Gmail go down on my for an entire morning on multiple occasions over the years but I don’t see people throwing Google under the bus. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.