Way back on May 12 of this year I posted the first entry into the freshly installed and slightly customized MoveableType engine on this very website. It would be my first foray back into blogging in 4… no, wait… 5 years.
Then something happened. Five days later, I forgot to post… for a month and a half. Yet I am intent upon making this work, I will not let this attempt fail alongside the previous. And so, here is my breaking through the silence entry — wherein I’ve reached the point that it might be easier to just let the blog sit with the thought that "well, I haven’t posted in a month, so why bother now?", but instead I shall push through and pretend nothing is wrong.
I am so valiant.
In some defense, I was rather busy during that time. We had just launched Memorable Wines, the second in our Memorable Apps series, and had been highlighted by none other than the old-gray-lady of old-fashioned-journalism, The New York Times. A couple of weeks later I had to trudge north to Montana for a week for my day job’s annual meeting of the membership — which actually ended up being quite a relaxing trip (aside from the ongoing daytime technological hurdling that is inherent with any conference). I did manage to slip away for an afternoon into Glacier National Park, where I had the privilege to witness a Grizzly Bear fishing in the rapid runoff that feeds Lake McDonald, and only moments later was stalked by a Mule Deer the size of a large horse.
Meanwhile, in between, I moved into a new apartment in The Presidio of San Francisco’s latest adaptive reuse of historic military construction, The Presidio Landmark — a former merchant marine hospital, turned public health hospital, turned vacant dilapidated graffiti-laden 20 year eye sore, turned upscale condo-style apartment living. I love San Francisco…
And so, in the spirit of recaps — but also new habits — I made a big prediction back in May that I want to review. A new habit to set up along with regular posting on this site.
On May 12, I published an article "On MobileMe" in which I explained my reluctance and irritation with renewing my MobileMe subscription for $99. I also pointed out a few ways in which I thought MobileMe could be fixed. And while iCloud was not even a rumor at that time, I’m pleasantly surprised and fiercely optimistic for the service previewed several weeks later.
Overall, I’m going to claim a win for this set. Apple did exactly what I had hoped, and more.
To start, the new setup experience for iOS 5 is entirely on the device itself, the first thing you do is setup an iCloud account and configure it to backup your apps, etc. Imagine when you need to replace your device in the future, all you’ll have to do is login with your iCloud credentials and your music, apps (including their data and documents), contacts, e-mail, calendars, and iDevice settings will be synced without a cumbersome plug into iTunes. What’s more, you can sync your media from your computer wirelessly as well, if you need to. And, in spite of my prediction, this will extend to iOS updates too… iTunes as it exists now is done for. iCloud is the new iTunes.
iDisk is rendered useless as well, and so, I think, is the entire "dropbox" model. The user doesn’t need to know, or care, where that special folder is that syncs to a server somewhere. Since it’s built into the OS and the apps, it just happens. Currently, to sync something to iDisk (or Dropbox) and thus have it available on all of my devices, I need to make sure that that "something" is specifically saved into the "iDisk" drive. With iCloud, it doesn’t matter where it’s saved — Apple’s quest to destroy the file system just got an adrenaline boost.
Then there is the price. I envisioned some kind of tiered system, specifically:
"Tier 1: FREE!; Back to My Mac, Find My iPhone, calendar, contacts, gallery, e-mail and iDisk (now an over-the-air sync capable media locker) with 16GB of storage;
Tier 2: $29/year; all of Tier 1 with 32GB of storage;
Tier 3: $39/year; Tier 1 services with 64GB of storage;
Tier 4: $99/year; Tier 1 services with 200GB of storage and Time Machine backups (after all, Backup App used to be a .Mac only application)."
I was very wrong. There are tiers, but for storage space (you start off with a mere 5GB), which have yet to be disclosed. The baseline cost? Free.
A fantastic metaphor I read recently, is iCloud as a highway for your data. After you setup your account, it’s invisible. It doesn’t matter where the server is, or if your on iCloud.com, your Mac, your iPhone, your iPod (I suspect, even, iWork.com). All that matters is what app you are in, and your documents are just there. The app can even remember where your cursor was, and the information is instantaneously sent down to all of your devices, all of the time.
iCloud is clearly much more ambitious than just MobileMe 2.0, and that’s why MobileMe will cease to exist when iCloud is launched (well, about a year after its launch anyway). The metaphor of iCloud as a highway fits so well, but I suggest one should belabor the analogy a bit further… it’s much more like the interstate highway system.
Apple is opening it to developers.
Let that sink in for a moment. Apple have created a means for developers to store, and thus sync, documents seamlessly and instantly to all of a user’s other devices. You better believe this functionality will be inherent in thousands of apps, and yes, even some Memorable ones…
Apple is continuing to position its entire device line-up into a league of its own, with a strategy no one can beat. We’re not talking competition with Google here, or Microsoft, or RIM, or HP. There is no competition. Only Apple has the integration in place that is required for such a breath-taking seamless experience.
Exactly as Robert X. Cringely put it in an article I linked to a month.5 ago:
"Apple isn’t the next Microsoft, you see. Apple is not the next anything because the role it aspires to transcends anything imaginable by Microsoft, ever…"
2016 | Bluetooth Headphones Sales Surpass Wired | Apple Event Follow-up | PSA: Force Quitting Apps Hurts Battery Life | Is Trump Losing on Purpose? | Uber Launching Self Driving Car Fleet This Month | Subscribe to My Newsletter | Tim Cook Interview | Apple Stores Offering Exclusive Jaybird Freedom Earbuds | Apple's Fall 2016 Event
2011 | Steve | New York Times Offering In-App Subscriptions, Finally | Get Ready for OS X Lion | New Habits | Rationalizing Microsoft and Skype | So, the New York Times Called | On MobileMe | A Tale of Two Charts | Indie iOS Devs Under Legal Fire For Offering In-App Purchases | The Amazon Tablet | Blogger
2004 | Culture Shock | List of Things That Distract from Studying | Please Make Me Think... Revisited | Podcast II | Podcasting... Some Notes | Chronicles of a Mac User in a PC Major: Chapter Two | Re: Please Make Me Think! Potential Dangers in Usability Culture | Why, Word? Why? | Chronicles of a Mac User in a PC Major: Chapter One | A Manifesto, of Sorts | Let's Get It Started in Here | Designing with Web Standards | A New Direction | The Dashboard — and Other WWDC Goodies | Another Rant — Different Category | We Are a Zero Tolerance Community | Eye of the Tiger | Finishing Touches, and Microsoft: Do Not Pass Go! Do Not Collect $200! | Yay iPod! But What about the Mac? | w3c, Staticy Mini, Emacs | This Week in Review