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iCloud is a bigger deal than the new iPhone

Michael deAgonia | Oct. 5, 2011
Apple's big iPhone event later today has naturally generated a retinue of rumors, almost all them focused on hardware.

Apple is making computing easier, reaching out to those who couldn't be bothered with manual document management. As blasphemous as this sounds to many geeks, most people don't care how or why computers behave as they do; they just care about their data. With iCloud, automatic sync and backup will provide a safety net that users won't even realize is there.

Reliability is key

This should improve a device's reliability. Accidents happen. Devices break. The first time someone drops a phone and has to get a replacement the importance of iCloud will be obvious. You'll get a replacement, put in your iCloud user name and password and as soon as your data is pulled onto the device, you'll be back up and running.

While these features may not be entirely unique, they augment Apple's already successful product vision. iTunes is the most popular store for digital media; the Mac App Store has the best quality apps. The iPhone is already a standards-setting device. And now iCloud arrives to help tie the various parts together.

One cautionary note, and it's something almost everyone familiar with Apple's plans will be watching: iCloud needs to be as reliable as electricity. You don't plug something into a power outlet and hope for electricity; you plug something in and expect power. With iCloud now responsible for shifting around all of our data, Apple's technology has to work right, right from the start.

Data everywhere

Keep that in mind as Apple CEO Tim Cook parades across the stage in Cupertino. The new hardware will be nice, software improvements are always welcome, but the big deal is iCloud. Designers say it's difficult to make anything look easy; iCloud is not only easy, it's invisible. Most users will never notice it on a day-to-day basis, but they'll appreciate it when they no longer have to ask: Which device did I take that picture on? Where did I save that document? How do I get all my digital stuff onto my new iPhone?

With iCloud, it won't matter. Your data will be there when you need it, where you need it. And from Apple's perspective, that's the ball game.


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