John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Apple’s Invisible iCloud: The Promise of Simple, Seamless Sync

Apple’s new iCloud service has a number of compelling features–personal content syncing across Apple’s range of connected devices, music streaming. But its most important feature is likely the one we’re most apt to overlook as we jaw away about storage caps and acceptable iTunes Match file formats: Simplicity.

If it works the way Apple intends, iCloud will be so easy to use, you won’t know you’re using it at all.

And if you don’t think that’s important, think again. Ease of use was a talking point Apple CEO Steve Jobs came back to again and again Monday morning as he described Apple’s vision of the post-PC era, one in which the cloud, not the desktop, is the center of our digital lives.

“Keeping our devices in sync is driving us crazy,” he said Monday. “ICloud keeps your important information and content up to date across all your devices–automatically and wirelessly. And because it’s integrated into our apps you don’t even need to think about it. It just works.”

And then later, “Everything happens automatically and there is nothing new to learn.”

You don’t even need to think about it….It just works….There is nothing new to learn.

In other words, Apple is bringing cloud computing to the masses, and the masses don’t even need to know how to use it to take advantage of it. No new operating systems, no “Cloud Connect” add-ons to mess around with. Your Mac and iOS devices will just work better.

For Apple, “the cloud” isn’t a vague cliché, it’s not utility-style infrastructure and computing. For Apple, it’s something we never see. Which is a very different proposition from its rivals.

That document you began editing on your Mac will be ready for you to tweak on your iPhone when you’re in line at the grocery store, and later you can finalize it and send it off from your iPad.

Your personal and work information, seamlessly accessible across all of your devices. All without any real intervention on your part. For free.

That’s a very compelling proposition.

It remains to be seen whether Apple will live up to those promises, but that’s a brilliant way of bringing what is clearly a massive shift in computing to consumers who may not be aware it’s headed their way or even care that it’s coming. And it’s another massive selling point for Apple’s hardware: A platform that gives us exactly the content we need, when we need it, and on the device we’d most like to use at any given moment.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work