I am already disappointed with apple’s latest change to it’s web service. Apple has never known what it was doing with it’s web services, but people were actually paying for it. Now they switched to a free service that does only half of what many were already relying on.
When i originally signed up for my @mac.com email address it was upon installing a brand new Mac OS 9 on my Performa 6400. Then free service was branded with the tagline “Free eMail for Life!” Just two years later, apple rebranded it dotmac (.Mac), a pay service with all newly designed web hosting and design services so that anyone could create a polished site in minutes. I was cynical of this new pay service, there were cheaper hosting services and seemly nothing more valuable then the continued use of my email. i vowed never to use it. That only lasted about a year or so before apple gifted it to me for free with my APP certificate. If memory serves, i just got one free year and another half price, but by then i was hooked. i was hooked on iSync/iDisk. it kept all my devices and computers in sync. it allowed me to work on my desktop, laptop, or work machine with all the latest and most current data and documents. it was amazing. I used it, loved it, and sold the hell out of it. I setup so many different installs configurations. From the Granny with a bridge club to a Travel Photographer with his portfolio. it was a great system. (this was years before drop box).
iTools -> .mac -> MobileMe -> iCloud
A few years ago with introduction of the iPhone, Apple rebranded the service MobileMe! This time forcing users to migrate their websites and design tools away from the older web based system to the newer iweb. Forcing the people who needed template sites and automated publishing tools to manually move their websites to the new system and to abandon any hope of future updates. Basically saying “Adopt or Cancel.” They were discontinuing the very publishing tools that they had sold these customers on only a few years ago. Outages, lost or duplicated data was a Sword of Damocles looming over any user for over a month. The migration was so bad that apple ended up giving everyone who remained a few months of free service.
Now it comes full circle and returns to being a free service with iOS 5 or Lion. No more syncing keychains, mail settings, smart folders. No more iDisk, so no more Document syncing in ANY application. Its’s as if Apple wants to do away with any user control over the location if their files. Some of us like to be able to browse their files if they want to. It’s great if the application knows where the file is stored. It can be updated to utilize iCloud, but what if i want to save whatever the hell i want in there. What if (heaven forbid) the internet is down!?? Can i copy it to a thumb drive? At least contact and calendar sync reamins uninterrupted. Location services and tracking have been expanded to include computers. iMessages to allow rapid decimation of location data (some privacy issues remain). With any luck, many of these concerns may very will be solved in future updates or by the developers that make this platform so great.
Well, at least we can all quit ponying up $99 to apple each year. We’ll have to wait and see where we go from here. See how it evolves. Photo Stream is pretty cool. gets my pictures from my iPhone to my iPad , and all my computers without any syncing, though i am still unsure if i need all my vacation picts on my office machine. I am generally disappointed with iWork for iPad (but of course mine is still the original iPad). All my custom templates must be updated to look good. Many of my apps are still waiting for iCloud integration before i can take advantage of the new document syncing. Wish they could integrate keychain syncing. What are they if not documents? Lucky for me i have already migrated much of my file sync services away from Apple to cheaper storage with Dreamhost, Dropbox, Box.net, etc. For many of my friends, colleagues, and customers this task lies ahead. Apple certainly didn’t make it easy.