This June 8th 2011, Apple Corporation announced a swag of exciting innovations in a widely distributed filmed presentation at the World Wide Developers Conference. The last of these was facilitation of a change in user storage strategies to keeping files, especially media, online in massive server complexes. This is will be, at least initially until we are all hooked, at very reasonable cost. It would enable seamless automatic synchronization of files with multiple devices – even selectively with one’s partner’s devices!
However the business models of so many mega-enterprises in the communications domain is that of kick-backs from telecommunication companies or telcos; and it easy for the average consumer to be significantly stung by this – particularly when traveling internationally or even outside the domain of your local telco and particularly if your country’s internet and communications infrastructure has limited capacity.
Now to be fair, Apple intends to rationalize/avoid upload transfers if it already has an identical or superior commercial media file on hand. However that is only one part of the traffic. Furthermore, these massive server farms are an obvious target for cyber-criminal activity – although Apple admittedly has a great record to date in being superbly resistant to malware. Still, many will have reservations about allowing their sensitive information to reside in The iCloud.
It seems that Settings on any Apple device will have a simple on/off soft-switch for interaction with The iCloud. What, however, is needed is ability to fine tune this at a file or folder/directory based level and to continue to support localized self-managed synchronization.
To address telco-based financial risk with internet traffic, an ability to set budgets and times for categories of interaction, particularly with apps like Google Maps, and with back-up & synchronization services is sorely needed if this is to take off. When traveling, the user might want to exercise strategies like waiting until at an internet cafe or at a hotel with free wi-fi to download and cache local maps and to backup and synchronize their devices. As it stands, this will not just work for the average user as Apple purports to want. Average users may well desert in droves if they get burnt.