The next step for iCloud
So, we are about a year into iCloud. While it has had a better launch than MobileMe it's not been without problems. But overall, it's been fairly successful for them.
But this is obviously just the first part of many for iCloud and I wanted to share my hopes for what might come to iCloud.
At the end of July, Apple shut down its iWork.com service, promoting iCloud instead. While the storing all your documents in the Cloud is a neat feature, it's not without problems, with the lack of sharing options the biggest one in my opinion.
It's almost silly, that when storing all your documents in a centralized server, you have the least options for sharing. If you store your documents in your Dropbox or even locally in a shared folder, you can easily let others take part of your work. But in iCloud, there are no such alternatives, only emailing, which is really a crude way for sharing. I'm quite sure Apple have something planned, but it's strange to shut down iWork.com first, before any form of replacement is done.
Another major drawback is really the iOS versions of iWork. Right now, you can't open your documents on your iPad or iPhone in a non-destructive manner. Yes, you can save a copy, but for all Apples talk about fragmentation, the iWork apps are really the worst sinners. I think most people can understand that the IOS versions don't have as many features as the desktop versions, but you really should be able to open a document without destroying it. As it is now, iWork of IOS remains good in theory, but not really viable in practice.
Apple really wants us to share things over different devices and gladly go PC-free if we fancy. But while they have the Photostream service, they haven't really let iLife into the cloud yet.
Today we can have our music, movies, tv-shows, documents and all stuff in the cloud, but iPhoto and iMovie doesn't really have support yet. Photostream is an ok service for quickly getting your newly taken photos from say your iPhone to your iPad, but it doesn't keep them in sync. You can create an event with the pictures on your iPad, but isn't synced with your Mac or iPhone.
Overall, syncing and working with iLife on multiple devices is a recipe for fragmentation. Your events or albums won't be in sync and you might end up with a lot of unwanted copies of the same picture.
Ideally, Apple would allow us to store our iLife stuff in the cloud and let us work with it from there. Obviously, this would require alot of storage and I'm sure people would be willing to pay extra for a good online hosting with backup and keeping their photos in sync between devices. I payed $100 a year extra for the MobileMe gallery, and I know I wasn't alone.
iCloud is a really promising product, but Apple is still a bit from reaching it's maximum potential. I'm sure there are a lot of nice and cool stuff you can do with the cloud that I haven't imagined here, but the things I do list here aren't really rocket science - document sharing and letting your iPhoto stuff onto the cloud for syncing. Maybe I'm completely alone in missing this, but I do think these would be great additions to iCloud.