iCloud has plenty to recommend it. Automatic back-ups for iOS devices and syncing across iPhones and iPads is ingenious and will doubtless go a long way to making Apple’s blower and tablet even more popular.
Similarly, iTunes Match’s relatively affordable £20.99 annual price tag means accessing all your tracks from the cloud is going to be a doddle.
But the whole package once again raises serious questions about the wider Apple ecosystem, and whether users should really entrust all the data from their phone and tablet with the Cupertino company.
Apple has played a blinder by offering the majority of iCloud services, from apps and books back up to mail and calendar storage, without charge. In admitting that MobileMe, “wasn’t our finest hour,” Steve Jobs realised that Apple could no longer compete with Google’s cloud services by charging a flat fee.
The fact iCloud lacks ads is an even bigger bonus. But there are obvious worries, as with all cloud storage solutions, that the new offering cedes too much power to the creator, in this case Apple.
Not content with tying people into a closely guarded mobile operating system, it seems that to get the very best out of your iOS 5 device, you’ll have to get an @me.com email address and become part of the ‘Apple family’.
Increasingly, it seems, that Apple wants users to buy all of their music, do all of their mail and read all of their books on their devices. This is, of course, where it can make money from users, but it does give ammunition to those who say that the closed shop of Apple is becoming far too powerful. Of course, Apple will refute this charge, saying it’s simply making things easier for consumers. And there’s no denying that Steve Jobs is right when he says iCloud “just works”.
His demonstrations showed the breezy syncing skills of the service, and it’s hard to see Apple users not enjoying using it. After all, it makes the previously awkward world of cloud computing particularly easy to get to grips with.
This might seem like the logical conclusion of Apple’s plans to own everything that its consumers do and use. But with a new iPhone rumoured to have an in-built SIM, it’s hard to see a time when Jobs and co don’t want to insinuate themselves further into their users’ lives. iCloud is exciting, just be sure to handle with care.