So I have a quick confession. I haven’t synced my iPad since the beginning of the year. In fact, I’ve synced neither my iPad nor my iPhone to iTunes in nearly two months. This should come as a shock to most veteran iOS users who, even a year ago, found it crucial to sync daily for any number of reasons – device backup, music and photo transfer, app updates or whatever. I know there are plenty of folks out there who has never synced their devices with iTunes…ever [MacRumors], but I feel like I’m a special case. A chronic syncer who has lost their way. How did I ever end up in this deplorable state? How could I have strayed from the path of data righteousness?
Well, the answer is simple (and isn’t really all that new). It’s all Apple’s fault. (Ok…I know they’re not to blame, but hear me out.)
Like I mentioned previously, I was a chronic syncer. I synced my iPad pretty much daily for all the reasons I’ve listed. My downward spiral into untethered oblivion was slow, not painful in the slightest, and unnoticeable until nearly the very end. It all started with the iPad Camera Connector Kit.
As some of you may know, I’m an avid photographer, albeit a very lazy one. I try to keep a light camera kit with me at all times, and that usually means cutting out the MacBook (and even the MacBook Air) from my bag. Bringing the iPad was the logical choice, and the Camera Kit ($35, Apple Store) was pretty much a no-brainer for me in this case. Being able to import my photos directly onto the iPad and to make edits on-the-fly quickly cut out the need for desktop middle-man in the equation in this case. Still, syncing with iTunes was a necessity even in those olden days.
Then a little more than 6 months ago, Steve Jobs took the stage and announced the iCloud and iTunes Match.While the announcement was coldly received (even by myself), there was promise in it. When iOS 5 was released, I gave iCloud a shot and found that it did more or less what it promised to do. My contacts, email settings and even my documents were now stored online in Apple’s servers somewhere in the deep dark net. The process was so easy and simple that I nary gave it a thought before signing up for a 25Gb subscription [$40 per year, Apple.com] and backed everything on the device up to the cloud. Little did I know that this would be a critical part of my ultimate decline.
Syncing was still needed though, if only to transfer the latest music and videos to my iPad. Then lo and behold, iTunes Match [$27.99 per year, Apple.com]was available here in Canada. I was initially skeptical of the service and its sustainability, but since I was already relying so heavily on the Apple cloud, I grudgingly signed up. Now my music is more or less accessible wherever I am, even if I’m simply sitting on my couch or in the office with iTunes merely feets from me. That was the final death knell, I had no need to sync my iPad to a computer. I download all my podcasts directly on the device (yes, Apple still has a ways to go to make that feature useful), and the user experience in buying apps and music is solid on the iPad. Hell, with its battery life, I rarely have it plugged into a wall either.
Sure, there were many many other apps and services that helped me cut the cord along the way (Rdio, Netflix, Amazon Kindle, iWorks and GoodReader just to name a few), but without each of those pieces Apple supplied along the way, I wouldn’t be where I am today – a man freed from device tethering paranoia. Myself from a year ago would look at my life today and would shame me for my carelessness.
On the other hand, I look back at myself from a year ago and say what a sad state of affairs iOS users had to deal with. Boy, did we ever live in the dark ages. Thanks, Apple, for helping us finally cut away from dependence on a poorly coded and oft-times unstable bloatware called iTunes.
Let us know if you’ve also cut the cord to the desktop and how it’s working out for you. I’m sure our other readers would love to hear your thoughts too.
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