I am sitting in the local Fuddruckers setting up for the monthly Boise Mac User Group meeting when the waitress delivers my chocolate shake.She asks if we were the “Apple” people.I respond yes.She presents me with her iPhone asking why a photo she tried to upload to Facebook keeps presenting her with an error message.
Being “Apple” people I begin to troubleshoot.My first thought is to close down the Facebook App and start over.It is here I discovered running on this iPhone were close to 50 applications.I ask if she had ever closed out of an Application.The response, “you can do that?”
This is a common response to this question.So when Apple made all of the new announcements this past WWDC 2011, I wondered for whom the announcements were attended.Better yet, how many end users will understand 1/10th of the changes heading their way this fall with the release of iCloud and iOS 5?
On June 6, 2011 Apple presented iCloud to the world, declaring it a replacement for MobileMe, admitting it was “not our finest hour”.Apple developers were treated to a list of new features amongst them were iTunes in the Cloud and Photo Stream.
With iTunes in the Cloud users can access each and every song purchased from iTunes for free.For an extra $24.99 annually, users were provided Music Match.Using an iOS 5 on iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPod touch (3rd and 4th generation), iPad, or iPad 2, or a Mac computer with OS X Lion or a PC with Windows Vista or Windows 7 Apple will provide a Music Match subscriber access to songs not purchased via iTunes in 256k quality. The service itself limits a subscriber to 25,000 songs, but iTunes purchases do not count against the limit.
Missing from the service was an iCloud player to compete with Amazon Cloud player and Google Music Beta, both providing Android Apps to play music.However, with the release of iCloud coming in the fall Apple has plenty of time to make changes.In the meantime Apple updated both iOS and OS iTunes applications to allow the push of purchases to all devices.It should be pointed out this does require the user to activate the feature within iTunes, something maybe my Fuddruckers waitress won’t know she can do.
Photo stream is another new/change feature. Photo Stream holds your last 1000 photos, with the option to create albums.All the photos coming through Photo Stream are kept on your PC or Mac.This makes a ton of sense considering my recent purchase of a new iMac with 2TB of storage along with an external hard drive making me very happy.
Essentially Photo Stream replaces MobileMe Gallery, well sort of.I am not sure how Apple will provide users to share their photo with family and friends as they do currently.One thought I have is with the use of Facebook and Flickr, Apple may have simply given up on this service.The keynote addressed the number of photos taken by an iOS device currently Flickr’s service, which is an admission that Galleries is not that popular.
Remains of the Day
iCloud will continue to store your contacts, bookmarks, email, calendar and documents.It will just do it in a different way.It will cost the user nothing.Additionally, iCloud will backup items and iTunes will allow you to download your purchased apps and music a not additional charge.The user will also receive 5GB of storage.
Are these iCloud features going to better than the current free services offered by the likes of Google, Yahoo or Microsoft?With Gmail I get 10GB of storage. I can set up Google Drive for my documents and of course can set up contacts and calendars.Nothing to big hear but it is enough of change MobileMe subscribers will notice, but is it enough to bring new customers? With no ads, please sign me up for some new accounts.
Lost in the announcement regarding moving from MobileMe to iCloud was what will happen to iDisk, iWeb and the price for extra (if any) storage.Currently for my $99 I am given 20GB of online storage for my email, bookmarks, iCal, file uploads and web space.
As mentioned before iCloud will be free with 5GB of storage.There was no mention of some useful features such as iWeb website hosting.This past Monday came word from Steve Job’s iPhone that indeed iWeb was going away based on the emailed question.I would point out that Steve said “Yep” to the number of questions.Users of iWeb can upload their site via FTP to a web host, but it comes with a cost of another service, however considering the cost of hosting to a MobileMe yearly subscription one could save.
The other useful information not mentioned was the possibility of additional storage.I would be surprised if come this fall that Apple isn’t selling additional iCloud storage.How could they sell stockholders on the idea that “we stopped selling MobileMe for $99 a year to offer its main features and then some for free?”I suspect that Apple will find a way to continue collecting the $99, while also collecting even more from iCloud.
Add iOS 5 to the Mix
Getting back to my waitress from Fuddruckers.Adding iCloud to the mix with iOS 5 may on the outside appear very simple to those in attendance and us Apple Fan Boys and Girls.I do wonder what this means to the typical “I only have an iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad” user.
Listening to my list of Podcasts this week leads me to get excited about the announcements, but at the same time think wow did Apple complicate things?There are enough changes in iOS 5 that will cause a lot of users eyes to become glazed over.There is an interesting article from MacRumor that over 50% of iPhone users visiting the Genius Bar have never connected their device to a computer. There is the PC free idea for iOS 5 combined with iCloud connecting to a PC isn’t needed, but if you think about the fact that people weren’t smart enough to connect to a PC to begin with, what else will the not do? It is clear to me the new features are aimed at the Fuddruckers’ waitress to make things easier.However, I am sure you will continue to hear “you can do that?”