Wait. Isn’t Dropbox just like iCloud? How about Box? GoogleDrive? Amazon Cloud Drive? Microsoft OneDrive? Box? They all function much the same way and iCloud functions differently. Why? There’s actually a good reason.
Business vs. Feature
Amazon may be the big dawg in cloud computing services but remember one thing. Amazon doesn’t make any money. In fact, you’ll be hard pressed to find a profitable cloud service on planet earth.
Money. Is that why Apple refuses to put many traditional features into iCloud? Think for a moment how iCloud works.
It’s there. It syncs decently between devices. It doesn’t cost much. But there’s also little manual control of which files can use iCloud.
That contrasts sharply with other cloud services. Use Dropbox as an example. You control which files go into the Dropbox folder to be synchronized with other devices and backed up online. That’s not easily done in iCloud and Apple likes it that way.
Former CEO and co-founder Steve Jobs once said Dropbox was a feature, not a business. So, Apple’s iCloud functions more like a feature, an add-on service, and certainly not as a standalone, full-fledged business.
Hidden Bloat In A Closet
Kirk McElhearn thinks iCloud is bloated because it does so much (though mostly behind the scenes, and not in your face). He’s right.
Apple’s iCloud consists of music, movies, TV shows, books, and apps– all downloadable from iCloud to your iDevices. There’s also photo sharing, Find My iPhone and Mac, iWork, iCloud keychain and bookmarks and much more.
Where is it all? Hidden, tucked away in various app closets, and not easily accessible; more part of the overall experience than a single source for file management.
That’s the problem.
iCloud needs to come out of the closet and face the sunlight of user interaction. iCloud needs a makeover. I want to manage the whole of iCloud various and sundry services– from a single app. Let’s call it, for lack of anything better, iCloud. Apple should give me access to all of what iCloud does instead of hiding each usage behind various apps, or tucked away in System Preferences or Settings.
Free iCloud, Apple.
Oh, and while you’re at it, please work on your synchronization services. It’s just not very good, certainly not reliable, and definitely not trustworthy. If iCloud had a coming out party and became a full-fledged member of the Apple cast of apps, maybe both the publicity and awareness would force Apple to make it work better than it does and price it more competitively than it does now.
As it is, Apple isn’t very good at online services, especially when compared to today’s competitors (iTools?, .Mac?, MobileMe? Remember?). As it is and as far as it goes, Dropbox works better. It’s time for an iCloud makeover, Apple.