Cloud services aren’t really that new to the iPad. In fact, many of what we call cloud services have been on the iPad from its launch date including Evernote and DropBox, not to mention web-based mail services like GMail, MobileMe and MS Exchange. Even productivity suites such as Office, Google Docs and iWorks have an online and iPad presence (albeit on a crippled and much less used basis).
So why is the Apple iCloud service such a big deal? Especially on the iPad?
Is it because of iTunes Match?
Well…Possibly. But when you think about it, there are already plenty of cloud based music services out there. Naturally, Music Beta by Google and Amazon’s Music Locker come to mind, but neither of those are available in Canada (and most likely won’t be for some time). But even before either of those came online, Rdio (which I use and love), Mog, Slacker Radio, not to mention Pandora have all successfully launched streaming music services at a very reasonable price. One question remains though – would I want to have music streamed to my iPad rather than through my smartphone? I’m sure some of you will disagree, but the phone is a much better device for this service.
But what about streaming video?
Sure, streaming video would fit much better on the iPad than streamed music, and Apple could stand to do very well if video were part of their iCloud offering. But until that becomes a reality, I still have my Netflix.
Bandwidth and Data Caps
I’ve written to no end over the restrictive data caps and bandwidth that our wireless carrier overlords continue to imposed on us, and I honestly don’t see this changing. A cloud based service will only force us to use even more of our precious data – tethered or otherwise. As someone who enjoys being away from home as much as possible, cloud services actually become a hindrance rather than a liberator.
Can the iPad and the iCloud get along?
Absolutely! Though it will take some time for the two to play nicely. Neither the iPad nor existing cloud services is powerful enough to become my go-to machine for my day-to-day data analysis nor number crunching platforms, nor are they robust enough (yet) for what I need it to be – a portable terminal that allows me to tap into the limitless power of some other computer somewhere else in the world. In it’s current iteration, iCloud (and most cloud services) still aren’t ready for what the iPad is capable of outside of being an online data storage solution. Until services such as Amazon’s S3 become more user friendly on tablets, these cloud services will remain primarily in the consumer smartphone domain. Not that this this is necessarily a bad thing, nor is it particularly unprofitable.
Nor will I not test it out and prove myself wrong in time.
[Update: I wrote most of the article before the Steve-note on Monday, and after seeing what the service has to offer, I'm still very much standing by what I've written. Thinking about it more though, the biggest missing feature for me was if iOS would sync my notifications across my devices. There really isn't anything worse than picking up my iPhone or my iPad and have to go through all my pushed notifications from all of my services.]
Any lofty thoughts about iCloud? Let us know in the comments!
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Posted under: iTunes