Getting on the iCloud…but Not Just Yet…

Having recently “i-ified” my life, I am still smarting from the frustrations of duplicate photos/movies (yes, I copied them twice…sometimes thrice), multiple iTunes accounts / Apple Ids and utter confusion around what content I purchased and where it has gone off to. Worse yet, having once wiped-out my device (and um…with the help of Apple Support…overwrote my back-up with factory settings!), I live in constant fear of data loss. It can sometimes be quite a burden to be so ‘smart’… Apple to the rescue with iCloud, a (obviously!) cloud-based content service that will store and stream all of your music and media content, not just your iTunes purchases to up to 10 devices automatically, and best of all wirelessly! No more tangles of USB 2.0 cables! Your content will automatically be available on all your Apple portable devices and computers, both Mac and Windows. Before you get too giddy, iCloud and the Apple iOS 5 operating system for the iPhone / iPod Touch are months away from my hungering hands and won’t be available until the fall. In the meanwhile, Apple has provided a “purchases” tab under the store which shows all of your purchases on all devices synced with your current iTunes. Apple support tells me that it will actually show all content purchased on my current computer and any devices I sync to it using iTunes but I have not tested the multiple iTunes account content just yet. So, we can at least install anything we purchased on our iPad onto our iPhone or iPod with ease.

iOS 5 will offer a lot of new features, photo editing in the camera app, tabbed Web browsing, managing my To-Do lists with reminders, unlimited Wi-Fi texting for iPad and iPod Touch, Twitter integration and a host of others. We will be able to seamlessly upload photos when taken, tunes when purchased or documents as created without running for cables to sync, or texting/e-mailing to share to another device. Your calendar entries will be up-to-date and your contacts will be current on all of your devices…Nirvana!

iCloud and iOS 5 will make iOS devices provide a more seamless and personalized media experience for the individual but it may create complexities and possibly additional cost for families that associate multiple member’s devices with one master iTunes account. All content on associated with an Apple ID  (pictures, documents, pdfs as well as music and videos) is game for automatic synchronization. This isn’t so much of a problem for laptops that have profiles but iPads do not and they are often shared among family members so security and content-appropriateness is a concern. It will be great for iPhones and iPods which tend to be single person user but I am concerned about what content and apps may suddenly become available on my iPad, and to my children when I intended it for myself. I am going to believe, for now until I can test-drive the iCloud myself, that Apple has already thought out family-sharing on the iCloud and the ability to manage and secure device-specific content. In fact, I bet they are filming the on-line tutorials even as I type…