iCloud and its Future


In the summer of 2014 when Apple introduced its new version of iCloud I was both curious and excited. Being a self-admitted tech-geek I jumped into the new iCloud without looking back. I’m one of those people who likes to try the newest and latest in technological advances. Sometimes for better. And sometimes for worse.

I moved all my folders and files from Dropbox and Google Drive and imported them into the new so-called iCloud Drive … it took forever. Too long. I learned the hard way that iCloud wasn’t really ready. iCloud was still not built for the kind of cloud support services which Google Drive and Dropbox offer. So, I reluctantly move all my files back to Google Drive (though, now they’re all hanging out in Dropbox due to Google’s decision to no longer update Google Drive for Macbook and iMac) and downgraded my iCloud subscription back to the free 5 GB.

What this means is that iCloud is not designed to be your hard drive in the sky. It is designed to sync your apps with the same apps used on other devices. In other words, if you use Pages, Apple’s version of Microsoft Word, on say a Macbook, that same document you were editing on the Macbook can be immediately edited in the same spot on your iPhone, should you decide to finish the edition on your iPhone or on your iPad. This kind of sync support is, in my humble opinion, far superior than what Google and, for the time being, Microsoft, offers.

This particular kind of syncing also encourages absolute adoption to the Apple echo system. Which is exactly what Apple wants. But before you sharpen your pitchforks and start marching to Apple in protest, please note that Google and Microsoft are trying to do the same thing. Google did it first, but in a different way. Google wants you to use all their services but, they are not as concerned with what device you might use with a Google app. Google wants to control you in the cloud. Whereas Apple wants to encourage you to use Apple devices.

With Apple, the focus is on the devices and content you purchase through them more so than the services. Their primary source of income is on the devices they sell that comes with the ecosystem and software which they provide. This is where Apple makes its money. As a result Apple is not as focused on the cloud the way Google is. Google’s main source of income is selling your information to the highest bidder. Your metadata.

Metadata

If you use Gmail as most of do now, Google is scanning your individual emails in order to find key words to help sellers know what they can advertise to you. Google is all about the meta data. So, what is meta data?

According to Wikipedia: “Metadata is ‘data about data’. There are two ”metadata types;“ structural metadata, about the design and specification of data structures or ”data about the containers of data“; and descriptive metadata about individual instances of application data or the data content.”

The kind of dessert you prefer, your age and your demographics, your favorite pizza joint, where you tend to spend most of your time and where you work. A little frightening to know that Google wants to know all this personal information. Which is why they don’t care as much how you use their “free” services, just that you are using them.

From what I read, Apple is still having a hard time upgrading iCloud into the kind of support Dropbox, OneDrive, or Google Drive offer. One of the reasons is security. Apple prides itself not only on its security but also on the privacy it claims to offer its users. Since Apple’s income source is not based on the potential metadata of its users, it therefore see’s no need to gain access to this metadata information. Apple wants to make the user’s experience the best experience possible and the most secure service possible. In this kind of service your privacy is paramount as long as is the need to protect you from any potential threats. And it seems Apple has not found a solution to a full and open cloud-like hard drive while also maintaining its claimed priorities.

The future of iCloud is in the hands of Apple. As someone who is fully invested in the Apple echo system I can only wait. Patiently wait until Apple finds a solution to provide the kind of iCloud Drive I want. But for now, I will use Dropbox. Dropbox is not the most secure, but its by far the best of the cloud-like hard drive service … in my humble opinion.


Originally published at www.jordanaubryrobison.com.

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