You know what I miss? Removable storage. Or, expandable storage. My older MacBook and iMac had a microSD card slot which became a 21st century version of sneaker net; an inexpensive and convenient way to backup files and share files.
Apple has decided that everything that needs to be shared or stored or archived or backed up should be done locally or in the cloud, specifically iCloud. I understand the premise. It’s easier to backup files or send files with a click than to store them on removable media and then figure out where to keep them or what to do with them. But 128GB in the size of your thumb is compelling.
Just. In. Case.
Apple is all about simplicity these days. That’s another way of saying ‘Our way or the highway.’ Apple does not like removable media, removable batteries, or the ability to save an MP3 file downloaded to your iPhone and opened by Safari (but that’s another gripe to be aired later).
What’s compelling about removable media? Backups. Sharing files. Expanded storage. Remember, Apple is the same company that sells 16GB iPhones, a storage amount so anemic that the only real purpose of a 16GB iPhones in the line is to scare customers into buying a 64GB iPhone for a mere $100 more.
Why not make all iPhones 64GB but toss in a microSD card slot for expanded storage? Those little thumb-sized cards are far less expensive than storing files on iCloud. Oh, my bad. After a moment of thought, it’s obvious to me why Apple doesn’t want us to have removable media. They want us to move our media to iCloud so they can charge us a monthly subscription fee.
A microSD card slot brings a few problems the iPhone doesn’t have that previous versions of Samsung’s Galaxy smartphones had. Removable anything means more support costs. People get things stuck in holes and every smartphone I’ve ever seen or used, when dropped, had the removable battery remove itself from operation. So, there’s that.
Despite Apple’s obvious preferences for online storage and online backup and online restore from backup, and a few misgivings of my own about managing microSD cards, what I’m really after is more flexible storage solutions from the company that isn’t flexible about much (Think Different™ is merely a copyrighted euphemism for the uncopyrighted Our Way Or The Highway™.) iCloud is decent and more competitively priced, but it’s also not very reliable. Local storage may be more reliable and less expensive, but it’s also not very mobile.
Maybe removable storage isn’t the answer. Maybe it’s movable storage. Think about it for a moment. It’s one thing to have files stored locally, and something else to have files stored in the cloud, but it’s entirely different to have files stored– automatically– wherever I want them, and whenever I want them. Back to My Mac is not a solution to file access.
How about this, Apple?
Add a feature called movable storage to iCloud which allows our files and data to be synchronized between devices, but avoids storing files in iCloud’s storage itself. Instead, the feature would make iCloud become the gateway for files from iPhone to pass through to the Mac, but not be stored online after the process. Instead, once the files were securely saved to the Mac or other device, they would be deleted from iCloud.
That’s movable files. It’s my idea and I like it. What about you?