Apple’s iCloud – my hopes and thoughts

It’s the Saturday before WWDC 2011. Apple’s released a bunch of iWork apps for iOS, and there is some understanding that given Apple is pre-releasing stuff that is Keynote-worthy, there must be much more on their plate to announce at the Keynote.

iCloud is the much rumored “star” of next week. Given what I have heard, and my experiences developing iOS and Mac apps, I thought I would list what I would like to see in iOS:

  • For iOS and Mac developers:
    • A back-end storage and processing system
    • Push notification support – Currently developers have to put too much work into providing this and the above via their own servers or through third party providers
    • social networking hooks
    • A web front-end to some of the above
  • For users:
    • Storage for Music, Movies, and other licensed media, without users being charged for the size of the collection (presumably files are stored once, and shared by all licensees, rather than stored once per licensee)
    • I mentioned movies. I’d like to be able to insert a DVD or Blu-ray, have my MacBook Pro send proof to iCloud that I was in possession of that disc and then allow me to download iPhone or iPad versions to the respective devices, for offline viewing later.  Not streaming, but offline viewing. As in, on an airplane.  (You know the problem with this? NetFlix and other rental discs would have to be encoded so as to differentiate themselves and not show as being “owned” by me).
    • A Dropbox-like Documents folder. It is available locally, offline, or online, and synced automatically, and made available to other systems, such as second or third computers, iOS devices with the possibility of sharing portions of that data securely or openly with others.
    • An integration with a hardware device, such as a TimeCapsule, that would then provide:
      • A home server for iTunes, iPhoto, … which can serve files to AppleTV, AirPlay compatible devices and be backed-up to iCloud
      • A wireless platform that keeps iOS devices synced and updated, without resorting to plugging into any PCs
      • A possible relay point between future smart technology in your car and your data and the cloud. For example, a car sitting in a garage would automatically update its songs and playlists and replace songs with new ones. It would also be possible to push a Google-map type of direction list from your laptop, before you get into the car and have it automatically set its destination for when you are ready to go.
      • A possible central control system for home automation and home monitoring. This one is probably further out as Apple hasn’t yet discussed this area, but Google has already announced technology for Android to control lights and appliances.
    • Integration with an unlimited back-up service similar to Crash Plan, Mozy, Carbonite, for all computers in the household. I don’t consider this to be a necessary part of iCloud as backups and archiving aren’t really the same thing as real-time file and data access stored in the cloud, but this would be a welcome service – especially as people put more and more of their valuable memories on their computers and don’t realize how important back-ups can be.
    • Allow for the dissemination of a new class of iOS devices throughout the house from alarm clocks that play your music and provide you with morning weather and news reports, to large, wall hung, beautifully framed, screens that are configured to display artwork, media, news, or any combination.
I’ll be updating the list over the next two days and will then contrast it with what Apple announces on Monday. Stay tuned.
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~ by mz on June 4, 2011.

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