I want to talk about iCloud...(Long Post)

jadot

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Apr 6, 2010
481
445
UK
I've been migrating my cloud services away from iCloud. Here's why.

Music
I've been using AM since it's release and I like the subscription model. The problem is that iTunes is such a mess. Playlists all over the place, music disappearing, then re-appearing again. Artwork changing. iTunes Match was a good idea, but it's not exactly clear how much or how little of that works in AM. Sometimes I can get to a track, sometimes I can only listen to certain music if I'm at my main workstation computer.
home integration sucks right now, and HomeHub is going to be too expensive. Besides that Siri is way off the mark next to Amazon and Google.

I've found Amazon prime unlimited is a good alternative for me. It works across platforms - I've uploaded my music, so it works a lot like Match would but at least I know that what is there is there. It's cheaper in many ways. Firstly, the monthly subscription is £7.99 per month with my Prime membership. Yes, I know that the prime membership costs money, but I was using that anyway, so it's not an extra cost. Amazon also has the Echo - I can buy 6 Echo Dots (and plug them in to speakers I already own - in my case Harman Kardons all over the house) for roughly the same price as one Apple HomeHub. And Alexa beats Siri hands down. Apple can fix this in part if they announce an Echo Dot (or Google Home mini) equivalent at the same price as these two alternatives, but they'd have to really improve Siri to make it viable. I'm done with waiting for that.

Amazon music isn't perfect, but it just about beats Google Play for me for now. I'd like it if Amazon had an option for a local library instead of using the iTunes library location for example. I'd like to be able to add CDs if I want to, and have an integrated podcast solution. There are UI tweaks that should probably be in the mix somewhere. All of this is fixable no doubt, and none of it is a deal breaker.

Photos
iCloud storage is expensive - let's just start with that.
Photos and storage could be the reason that I stop using an iPhone altogether, so yeah, I think it's a big deal.
Family sharing with iCloud is a joke. You can't 'share' a file or folder in a way that is possible to collaborate. I can't share a photo library or even an album with my wife - we can't share the same storage plan. If she wants a photo library over 5GB (who doesn't) she has to pay for 50GB (actually 200GB) separately to my 200GB. The fact is that 200 GB shared between us would probably be enough.
Google have got this right, like they have with so many other things. I can automatically share albums with Google photos, because it's unlimited storage and it's just about access. My wife can and does add pictures she takes to one 'family' album that we can both see live, add to, delete from and get on with life. It just works, as used to be said somewhere else. Microsoft have a better system for sharing with Office 365. Each member gets 1TB of data and you can share and collaborate on folders easily.
What Apple needs to do here is consolidate their storage options and do what everyone else is doing better. One central family storage option. A personal cloud server, where you decide on who has access. What do they care who (however many people from one family you choose) can access the files? I should be able to decide which files I share with my wife's device and visa versa. Likewise I don't have to see the photos that she chooses not to share, and the same for the photos that are served to my logged in devices. It's fairly easy to understand.

And this is what might clinch the deal for me. Apple has tied me in to photos if I want to integrate apps like instagram. I can't access my google photos camera roll via instagram unless I have an android phone.... The Pixel 2, for example, and if the services are going to be better and the camera itself is going to be that good, then how are Apple keeping me interested? Calendar? Mail? Maps? Siri?

iOS
Siri - I've been switching Siri off for years. Alexa is better and seems more universal, and Google Assistant is reportedly better still, if not as ubiquitous as Amazon's home assistant.
So Siri has a job to do. A lot of what a machine learning assistant has to do is grounded in the amount of times it is being used so that it can learn. I think Amazon's probably got the jump on Siri, and Google has a deeper knowledge than either of them. I know the technology is improving, but that's equal across all three major platforms, so Siri will always be catching up. Or not.
iOS is slick, and extremely robust, and very well integrated into my Apple workflow, and I do love it. However, I'm aware that some of that love might be familiarity - I'm now more open than I might have been to looking at other devices & operating systems that might not have been my preference, and that choice is very enticing. It's actually the services under the shiny exterior of the phone and the OS that I need to work properly, and I'm fine to be more open minded when it comes to brands and function over form perhaps.

I actually like Apple products and their constructed Eco system. I'm invested in it, and it's a ball ache to change all of this stuff, but ultimately I've got to go with what works. Cost is important - so far I've switched to Amazon for music, and google for photos, and I'm saving spending £5 per month on iCloud storage and £2 per month on Music Subscription. Or £84 per year for what is turning out to be a better service.

If I want an iPhone X - which I'm sure will be a great handset - I'll have to pay a lot of money for it. Sure - facial recognition looks incredible, and all the rest of it. I think the design is beautiful. But it's iCloud and services that are stopping me from buying one.

I don't mind the design of the Google Pixel 2. I could live with it. I could learn to live with Android - loads of people do. I could even switch my calendar to google! - That's really about as tough a switch as it needs to be.

I use Office 365, so I'm covered for Notes, email, whatever. I'll have the same Apps running more or less - instagram, social media stuff, messages - whatever. I won't be tied to expensive (but nice to look at) hardware.

I'll be better off financially every month, and have better services.

Caveat emptor:
Yes - I know there are things to be aware of here. Amazon want to sell me stuff through their store. Amazon are listening in, Google are spying on me, etc. I don't actually know too much about these things, and I don't really know if it bothers me or if it has any effect on me either. I haven't noticed myself buying a whole load of products that I never would have bought before, for example. I don't think my phones are being tapped. I don't think I'm particularly of too much interest to anyone, or what impact any such interest would have on my life anyway.


 

nrvna76

macrumors 6502a
Aug 4, 2010
979
917
This is a long post so I won’t comment on all of it..

Music - I’ve just switched to pandora honestly. It’s not worth actually selecting music for myself half the time. Although, I think many seem to be happy with Apple Music isn’t it the same cost as Spotify? Why not just use that?

Photos - this was a big one for me too and I did a lot of research as I considered the Note pretty heavily. You can now share an iCloud storage plan. You can also share photo albums but you have to upload photos to it manually as far as I know. This is not very intuitive though and still needs some work to catch up with google photos imo.

However, if you’re that unhappy why not try the pixel? Again, many folks seem happy with that phone as well. My reasons for sticking with Apple are simple. Apples stores, customer service, and an American company (I’m well aware they aren’t made here but still..).
 

jadot

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Apr 6, 2010
481
445
UK
This is a long post so I won’t comment on all of it..

Music - I’ve just switched to pandora honestly. It’s not worth actually selecting music for myself half the time. Although, I think many seem to be happy with Apple Music isn’t it the same cost as Spotify? Why not just use that?

Photos - this was a big one for me too and I did a lot of research as I considered the Note pretty heavily. You can now share an iCloud storage plan. You can also share photo albums but you have to upload photos to it manually as far as I know. This is not very intuitive though and still needs some work to catch up with google photos imo.

However, if you’re that unhappy why not try the pixel? Again, many folks seem happy with that phone as well. My reasons for sticking with Apple are simple. Apples stores, customer service, and an American company (I’m well aware they aren’t made here but still..).
Thanks,

I never really liked Spotify and Amazon Music is cheaper anyway, and also works with Alexa and Echo really well.

Yes, you can share iCloud storage, but it's still expensive for what it is and as you say - google photos is way ahead.

i probably will get a Pixel 2, but I wouldn't be thinking about it if Apple hadn't been turning the screw on iCloud for years now. The point is that paying a premium for Apple products should yield industry leading cloud services, but they are behind almost every other service provider out there, and the Nickel & Diming (Penny Pinching for me in the UK) is wearing me away. I'm sick of it.
 

cipher29

macrumors regular
Mar 6, 2009
207
142
As a whole, Apple services are far behind the competition and the future IMO is less about hardware and more about the services surrounding them..

Apple Mail - hasn't changed in like 5 years
Photos - Is getting small updates, but the whole sharing thing in Apple Photos is hilariously bad.
Music - It works, but still has some bugs. Family pricing isn't terrible.
iOS - so many bugs - really has me questioning Apple's ability to write software going forward.
iCloud Drive - LOL .. Just LOL...

iCloud Pricing - Yep, a bit crazy. I can get a 1TB plan with Microsoft included with my O365 subscription.

The future of Apple doesn't look amazing for me personally tbh.
 
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