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iCloud

Posted: Sat Jun 04, 2011 3:23 pm
by Stephen Hart
Just to start off discussion about iCloud, here's a piece from NPR:
http://www.npr.org/2011/06/04/136949130 ... for-icloud
Of course, no one can write about Apple without a dig. Here's NPR's: "
Because Apple has had such success with so many of its music products there is a lot of anticipation about iCloud. But, as McGuire and others point out, Apple has had its failures. It already has a cloud service for photos and other content called Mobile Me that's been a flop."
In what sense is MobileMe a cloud service for photos and other content? It's far more than that. I mean, I've used MobileMe for years and just recently used it as a cloud service for the first time, placing a text file there that I might need to access from elsewhere. And in what sense is it a flop?
[redacted swear words]
MobileMe's been going for years and has some two million people paying yearly. And, if you actually use several of its features regularly, is an excellent deal for consumers. And, by the way, the name is "MobileMe," not "Mobile Me." This may not be a big deal to some, but it's a trademark, and journalists are trained to be sure to spell trademarks correctly.

Re: iCloud

Posted: Sat Jun 04, 2011 3:36 pm
by Jay Cline
Apple's past ventures into trying to get everyone to use its cloud-like services has not met with widespread popularity. I think iCloud could pave the way for a new way of using your Mac similar to the way Google is doing with its soon to be released Chromebooks. All apps, files and syncing of email, music, photos, video for all your computers reside on the cloud. Right now you might have an iPhone, Mac desktop, iPad, iPod. Syncing all those devices can be done but sometimes it's a pain. iCloud could be the service that does that for you. Will Apple come out with a new idevice specifically for that service? is the iPad already that device? How about a device that can use a home-based service coming from your AppleTV acting as a cloudlike proxy server?

Re: iCloud

Posted: Sat Jun 04, 2011 4:23 pm
by Richard Serkes
I've been using MobileMe since it was called .Mac. It's an invaluable package of services for me and at only $99/year it's a steal.

Re: iCloud

Posted: Sun Jun 05, 2011 3:25 pm
by JerryFreilich
As I've posted here earlier, I signed up (recently) for MobileMe using their offer of a trial subscription. After a few weeks of it, I cancelled the service and when the "sorry you're leaving" window came up asking "why?" I clicked the "Too Complicated" button. I could not understand what was being synchronized with what! Which files were going where? Which devices had the most current files? And how do you know that? I thought the interface was confusing and as with so many other Apple products, all the "complicated stuff" is hidden from the user, so that you have very little idea what's under the hood. Good for some folks maybe. Bad for me. I have no doubt that MobileMe is a valuable service. But I was forced to nod in agreement with the NPS commentator who said it was "a flop." I didn't say that. But apparently there is that feeling. And the service has certainly not been a runaway success in the sense of becoming universal. I think Apple recognizes this. Finally, I don't think it's the price for what you get. Or the yearly dollar figure that makes me unsatisfied with MobileMe. For me and perhaps for thousands of others.... the issue is simply the user interface.

I think that the people who use it and like it simply turn it on and it works using all default settings and little user interaction. My situation was not terribly complicated -- an iPhone, a MacBook Pro, and an iMac. How complicated could it be? And if your trusty Straitmac president can't figure it out, what would ordinary every day users do?

Re: iCloud

Posted: Sun Jun 05, 2011 3:55 pm
by Richard Serkes
For me it just works. All I did was check off the folders and/or files I wanted synced and MobileMe has done the rest. It also has a truly nifty app called Backup which does just that to either an external hard drive or to the Apple server (or both). Customizing the settings was a breeze. I also get my IMAP mailbox and calendar synced with Mail and iCal and for just an additional $10/year so does my wife. These are just a few of the MobileMe services that work seamlessly on all my Apple devices.

I find the UI quite intuitive. Different strokes for different folks. I bet you fasten your shoes with Velcro.

I think what's hurt MobileMe in terms of subscriber numbers is the fact that you can get most all the MobileMe services from other companies for free or for a small price. The advantage of not having to go from place to place to get the MobileMe services is well worth the yearly fee.

Re: iCloud

Posted: Mon Jun 06, 2011 10:51 am
by Jay Cline
They had to make iCloud free. Say bye bye to MobileMe.

Re: iCloud

Posted: Mon Jun 06, 2011 3:56 pm
by Stephen Hart
Jay Cline wrote:They had to make iCloud free. Say bye bye to MobileMe.
To continue the poem:
But you get it free...
[for another year]

Now, for the downside. I suspect the whole point of this effort on the part of many big hitters is the cell-phone-data time charges. Think about this: I get an iPhone. I download whatever music I want. I can even set up a smart playlist so that my music changes every time I recharge my iPhone. I can make phone calls and access the internet when I'm out of range of wifi. And I can listen to music for hours.
Now, what I'm being presented with is a service that makes sure that when I listen to music (or, presumably, iTunes U lectures, etc.) I'm paying for download time from AT&T or Verizon. Remember that streaming means that you're downloading constantly.

I'm not saying that cloud services aren't convenient. I'm just saying keep your eye on the ball--of winged ten-dollar bills.

Re: iCloud

Posted: Mon Jun 06, 2011 4:15 pm
by Ray Bentsen
Stephen Hart wrote: Now, what I'm being presented with is a service that makes sure that when I listen to music (or, presumably, iTunes U lectures, etc.) I'm paying for download time from AT&T or Verizon. Remember that streaming means that you're downloading constantly.
As far as I understand the iCloud service, you will not be paying for download time every time you listen to a song or podcast ... those audio files will still be stored on your device and then used whenever you tap the Play button.

Rather, iCloud will just provide a mechanism to keep all your devices in sync (as MobileMe does), and based on the screenshot below automatic downloads can be turned off whenever you want.
;)

Re: iCloud

Posted: Mon Jun 06, 2011 4:34 pm
by Jay Cline
You pay for internet service just as you pay for your phone data plan. Not too far off you'll be using your "phone" data plan for your internet service. Say bye bye to DSL and cable. It's all about who owns the most likely infrastructure to succeed.

Re: iCloud

Posted: Mon Jun 06, 2011 8:24 pm
by Stephen Hart
I think the whole point of streaming "cloud" services is that you don't keep everything you own on your device--it's just not big enough. You keep everything in the cloud and just stream it when you need it.
But unless you're "connected" to wifi, you pay for that streaming. I don't mean you pay Apple or Google or Amazon to stream it, I mean you pay AT&T or Verizon, whether that means paying for data access above and beyond your limited data allowance or paying for unlimited data. It's $30/month for unlimited data. Compare that to $100/year for MobileMe, or $100 more for 16 GB extra storage on your iPhone. (Chances are that'll be $100 to go from 32 GB to 64 GB some time this summer.)

And some cloud visionaries would like us to pay each time we use an application.