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Old Apr 1, 2012, 12:05 AM   #1
spiderman0616
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iCloud better than I ever thought it would be

This is kind of an open love letter to iCloud. It's very easy to wax poetic about iPads, iPhones, Macs, iOS, OSX, etc., but of all the Apple stuff that's been released lately, my favorite has been iCloud. I know it's not a mass storage type of service where you can just drop all your files and have an online backup, but that's ok with me. More on that later.

When everyone started talking about "the cloud" a couple of years ago, I didn't like it one bit. I didn't see why anyone needed my stuff on their servers, other than to serve me ads and steal my personal info. A lot of companies were pushing cloud computing, but didn't present a clear strategy of how it would be used, and what it would mean for the end user. Google was probably the exception with Google Docs, Calendar, etc., but we all know what Google's end motives REALLY are. Their services are very useful, and very cheap (free), but I'm not sure how much they have the end user in mind other than to make money from ads.

When Apple announced iCloud last year, it seemed like it might be a "me too" product. I was once again skeptical. But it has become a part of my every day life much more so than Google's services ever did. Real world examples:

iPhoto
We just got back from Vegas. My wife took pictures on her camera. I took pictures on my iPhone. On the plane on the way home, I transferred her camera pics to my iPad using the camera connector. My iPhone pics were already there via Photo Stream. I made a Vegas album, and then made a journal in iPhoto out of that album. Published it to iCloud and shared out to our friends and family via e mail. That's not to mention the fact that on a day to day basis, all of our iPod Touch, iPhone, and iPad photos end up in the same place without us thinking about it.

iWork
My son wrote an adorable letter to Santa last Xmas. I wanted some people at work to see it. Logged into iCloud.com, downloaded the document, done. Didn't have to physically put it there. It was just there from when I typed it up on my iPad.

Find My iPhone
Just tonight--my wife drove to a friend's house about an hour away. Of course, she forgot to call and tell me she made it safely. Find My iPhone pinpointed her iPod Touch at her friend's house and I was worry free without having to call and bug her. Also used it the other day to confirm with her that she had indeed left her iPod at the house and not lost it like she thought she had.

Calendar
We both use the same one on all of our iOS devices. Simple as that. Saves a lot of arguing over schedule conflicts.

Mail
It was the only thing I was still using on Google. A few months ago, I switched everything to my @me account. So much more comfortable using Apple's mail than Google's mail. I feel less spied on.

Contacts
Kind of the same thing as Calendar. Saves a lot of time and confusion if we can both access/update the same contacts in the cloud.

iTunes Match
Use it every day. I've been getting all my music as MP3s from either Amazon or iTunes for years now, but I still have several 100 CDs laying around that I never ripped. That project is now done, and every piece of music I own is now in iTunes Match. Not only do I love streaming my stuff riding to and from work on the train, but I just love that my whole collection is in the cloud to access any time I want. I prefer my own music to a streaming subscription like Pandora or Spotify, so this was perfect for me.

The icing on the cake is the wireless updates, syncing, and restoring. I didn't think restoring my iPad 2 backup to my iPad 3 would be so seamless, but it really was. It was also kind of the last leg the haters had to stand on. Android people and Apple haters in general, if they feel they don't have a good argument for their Apple hate, usually use the "I hate iTunes" argument. I really love telling those people about how I haven't synced to the iTunes software on my PC since last year because of iCloud. They usually don't have much to say after that.

iCloud seems to take a lot of heat because it's not a Dropbox type of storage, but it's just so much more functional than that. Apple didn't want iCloud to be a hard drive on a server somewhere. They wanted it to be more usable than that. I think they have succeeded, because iCloud has made iOS a TRUE ecosystem now. If you're someone who has grown up using iOS to manage your digital life, iCloud is probably just about all you need anyway.
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Old Apr 1, 2012, 01:06 AM   #2
RedRallyeZ
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great to hear.

I too enjoy iCloud and see it as a big improvement on MobileMe. amidst the negativity that pops up from time to time on the board, good to see someone really enjoying their products.
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Old Apr 1, 2012, 01:22 AM   #3
Masterfox72
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I agree wholeheartedly. There is a lot to be loved about iCloud and I hope more people come to see that.

That being said though, there were a few annoying gripes that still need to be ironed out, although this is between Mac OS and iOS, and hopefully will be dealt with in Mountain Lion.
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Old Apr 1, 2012, 06:32 PM   #4
Arelunde
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+1 from me, too.

I came to the iPhone and iPad2 from Android with Gmail sync for mail, contacts and calendar, which I really appreciated after life in the Blackberry world. However, I shifted to iCloud once it was available after Gmail destroyed my calendar (no entries suddenly), and contacts became a jumble of duplicated, old, deleted data. Took a while to set it all up in iCloud, but I haven't been sorry.

I agree with the OP's concern about the Google approach - mining their customers for profit, targeted advertising, questionable security and an incredibly complex privacy policy designed to get customers to allow all this. I found it amazing that, in the Google privacy policy, there is an option to have general advertising or targeted advertising based on a person's web browsing and personal information, etc, but there is NOT an option for no ads.

Reading the OPs comments has opened my eyes to even more benefits from iCloud that I hadn't realized. Good thread!
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Old Apr 2, 2012, 04:39 AM   #5
zmbchclt
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iCloud is simply brilliant. I don't think that it's given enough credit, and it's most likely put down to the fact that it just works.

It's a ton better when you have multiple devices for Photostream etc which I know that everyone won't have experienced.
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Old Apr 2, 2012, 05:25 AM   #6
The Phazer
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It's an awful, ill-thought out mess.

Certainly, us Snow Leopard users just look and shake our head at how bad it is compared to even Mobile Me, and Mobile Me was hopeless.

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Old Apr 2, 2012, 07:08 AM   #7
zmbchclt
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Originally Posted by The Phazer View Post
It's an awful, ill-thought out mess.

Certainly, us Snow Leopard users just look and shake our head at how bad it is compared to even Mobile Me, and Mobile Me was hopeless.

Phazer
What don't you exactly like about it? To me, it seems somewhat more geared to iOS devices which I think benefit from it more.

This could be what shows the difference in opinions perhaps?
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Old Apr 2, 2012, 07:46 AM   #8
SBlue1
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the last bit would be a personal "home" icloud.
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Old Apr 2, 2012, 08:06 AM   #9
foiden
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I have to admit that as iCloud continues to improve to its true potential, I'm liking it more and more. At first, I didn't like it much, though I liked the premise. However, they've been continually improving it and improving its reliability and function, behind the scenes, consistently. There are now a number of things, particularly in the last month or so, which feels like they really turned around my impression of the system. Even iCloud save support in applications have gotten so much better than before.

There are still some kinks to work out in the system. (Even for stuff like iWork iOS programs and how they work with iCloud) But at this rate, I can definitely believe that improvements there are not far behind. I can see positive progression on iCloud, and the engineers are busy at work on it. You can tell they must have coders on it, daily. That's the most promising thing for me.

Sometimes they have things that work incredibly well, as almost by magic. Most notably the performance and handling of Photo Journals in the cloud. Far easier to use and manage than the Gallery of the past. Can't wait to see them work that support better on the Mac side of things as I want to convert my entire mobile me Gallery to Photo Journals now. I'd do it in a heartbeat. You can even just jump into a journal you have, make updates to it, and that's it, it is updated on the server without you thinking about it or creating a new link you have to resend.

However, I do have some suggestions for iCloud, which I'll make a mention on their page. One, for them to open iCloud storage as something a computer could use sort of like iDisk. Another that they would add a simple Web Page creation program (maybe with some built in cool HTML-5 widgets) so a person can quickly build a nice web page that they can spruce up as an introductory page and cut-n-paste their links to their other iCloud pages (like their Photo Journal gallery pages)). That would also allow people to quickly create nice educational pages right from iOS, with a background server updating interface like Photo Journals do now.

iWork is the one that can use the most help. Problem with iCloud in those applications is that when you make a document iCloud connected, you forfeit the freedom of being able to edit the document offline, anywhere. So it makes continuing to work on a document, while on vacation away from a signal, impossible. Your documents are currently held hostage until you can get your device on the Internet. This is especially troublesome on wifi-only iPads when you expect your local documents should at least be readable.

Thing is, it half-works offline. If you connect that day and open those programs, it'll refresh those documents. Then yes, it'll allow you to edit them offline for the rest of the day. No guarantee that offline tomorrow, you can even touch those documents, though.

Last edited by foiden; Apr 2, 2012 at 08:17 AM.
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Old Apr 2, 2012, 11:03 PM   #10
Tmelon
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iCloud would be perfect if they fixed a few bugs, added normal file storage like in MobileMe and added iCloud support to iLife/iWork and 3rd party apps.

With OS X Mountain Lion I think this will become closer to reality.
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Old Apr 8, 2012, 09:29 AM   #11
King Antonidas
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Well, I also agree with this.

Jailbroken iPhone 4, iOS 5.0.1. One day, my iPhone stuck at Boot loop. Just two days before this incident, I created my iCloud account. The next day, it backed up my files (ALL of my files, as I preferred). I didn't realize this as it was so hidden and seamless. And when my iPhone broke and I finished reinstalling, I see my reminders, calendar events, notes, and photos seamlessly downloaded (as soon as I got Internet connection). Firstly I surprised. "WTH???". But then I remember that I has settled an iCloud account. So it must be it, I think.

Isn't that amazing? Creating iCloud account, it backed up my files (and I didn't realize that), and when I need the backup, it downloaded seamlessly. Amazing, Apple!
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Old Apr 11, 2012, 02:56 AM   #12
noshjewman
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Originally Posted by foiden View Post
However, I do have some suggestions for iCloud, which I'll make a mention on their page. One, for them to open iCloud storage as something a computer could use sort of like iDisk. Another that they would add a simple Web Page creation program (maybe with some built in cool HTML-5 widgets) so a person can quickly build a nice web page that they can spruce up as an introductory page and cut-n-paste their links to their other iCloud pages (like their Photo Journal gallery pages)). That would also allow people to quickly create nice educational pages right from iOS, with a background server updating interface like Photo Journals do now.
what, you mean like mobileme?

I'm in the camp that is devastated to see MobileMe disappear. I'm not ready to update to Lion (don't want to have to repurchase all of my legacy software right away, and I was planning on waiting for Mountain Lion) and the end of MobileMe will come before ML's release.

I like the fact that iCloud saves documents in the cloud, and I look forward to that bein implemented in 3rd party software too, but I loved MobileMe despite its poor reputation. iDisk may not be as robust as Dropbox, but 10gb of storage was far more generous than the free Dropbox account allows.
I created lots of private websites to show clients cuts of films rather than having to use Vimeo or YouTube - I liked the simplicity and customizability.

But mostly I'm just annoyed that Apple is forcing me to update to their latest OS to use such a core service. Have they ever done this before?
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Old Apr 20, 2012, 09:21 AM   #13
ipxtorm
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I totally agree with you all, icloud makes our life easier than ever
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Old Apr 22, 2012, 11:39 AM   #14
heydrew
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I still don't truly understand iCloud. Maybe I'm just using it wrong, maybe my expectations are wrong, but whatever.

I love Photostream. That's cool and all. But what I *really* want is to be able to start a Pages document on my Macbook Air at home, continue writing it on my iPad on the subway, make edits on my iPhone in a taxi, then return home to my original machine and resume from there. I don't want to use DropBox or any other app. I don't want to have to mess with import/export settings or copy/paste. I want one document on every iDevice with all changes made on the local copy pushed to every other device.

I can't seem to even figure out if this is a feature of iCloud, which boggles me because I've been using Apple products for over a decade. So it seems either:

a) this is not a feature, in which case it's not the streamlined future *I* had envisioned for cloud computing, or

b) iCloud is having trouble conveying what it *is* and how it's better or more useful than (a)

In either case I'm guess I'm happy with Photostream.
I guess.
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Old Apr 22, 2012, 07:43 PM   #15
d21mike
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I still don't truly understand iCloud. Maybe I'm just using it wrong, maybe my expectations are wrong, but whatever.
If you really want to understand iCloud, maybe you should read the following. Explains it's features pretty well.

http://www.apple.com/icloud/
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Old Apr 23, 2012, 12:47 PM   #16
heydrew
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If you really want to understand iCloud, maybe you should read the following. Explains it's features pretty well.

http://www.apple.com/icloud/
Oh I understand what the page says it does, I understand the features, I just think it's not as seamless as most Apple products usually are, at least as far as its document sharing and sync goes.

I'm really surprised it takes so many clicks, downloads, and uploads to share a Pages document via iCloud. Maybe in the 2012 version they'll actually make it seamless. Unless I'm doing something dreadfully wrong, I find the document syncing on par with DropBox.
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Old Apr 23, 2012, 02:10 PM   #17
d21mike
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Oh I understand what the page says it does, I understand the features, I just think it's not as seamless as most Apple products usually are, at least as far as its document sharing and sync goes.

I'm really surprised it takes so many clicks, downloads, and uploads to share a Pages document via iCloud. Maybe in the 2012 version they'll actually make it seamless. Unless I'm doing something dreadfully wrong, I find the document syncing on par with DropBox.
OKAY, you are pretty much talking about the "documents sync" part of iCloud. On this I could not agree with your more. The statement below is simply not true or a major exaggeration. While reading below I had assume a new iWorks would have been released months ago. Maybe ML will solve this. Anyway, the other parts of iCloud for me work great.

Apps made for iCloud.
iCloud is already seamlessly integrated with the Apple iWork apps for your iOS devices — Pages, Keynote, and Numbers. And we’ve given developers the tools to make their apps work with iCloud, too. So you can do things like paint a masterpiece, edit stock lists, and more — and have it all with you on all your devices, including your Mac or PC.
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