The iCloud release was just a matter of time, but not unexpected. C’mon, you had to see this coming with App Store for PC joining the iOS family of products. Considering the success of Apple’s stronghold in mobile computing and outsmarting their competitors, iCloud is another reason why Apple will continue to lead this market for the time being. It’s amazing if you think about it that while competitors were doing their best to be the cloud, Apple started with the hardware first, perfecting the experience with each new release of iPod, iPhone and recent iPad. When that entrenched, competitors took their eye off their business and worked on their hardware to catch up in mobile computing for tablet and smartphone. Thus, allowing Apple to create their cloud service under the radar. And when the rumors escalated that Apple was building their own mega data centers, their competitors are again caught spinning their heads back to the cloud. Only, Google has shown they can meet the challenge with the success of Android’s growing market share in smartphones. Time will tell to see how RIMM and Microsoft will do in the next year. [Source: Apple data center http://bit.ly/l8sItd]
Anytime Steve Job returns to stage from medical leave, it has to be jaw-kicking news that something big is going to happen. Wall Street was on pins and needles speculating what Apple could announce. Reviewing the Worldwide Developer Conference web cast over the weekend, speaker Phil Schiller, SVP Worldwide Product Marketing, pointed out that while other PC sales shrank a negative 1 percent, Mac PC sales grew 28 percent. I would remind this is not an apples and oranges comparison because unit sales for Windows are a lot of PCs at 1 percent. However, these numbers do show the truth in a changing trend. Mac PC’s are back, and strong. A day later, Gartner followed changing their 2011 forecast for PC shipments, now down to 9.3 percent from 10.5 percent. Mobile PCs growth is slowing on adoption of tablets with Apple’s iPad. [Source: http://tcrn.ch/oy4X3O ]
Regardless of what you hear about Windows and Android market share, more and more Digital Wanderers are voting with their dollars on Apple in leading the next generation of software and hardware for easier mobile computing. Apple shared news with attendees they sold more than 25 million iPad’s and over 90,000 Apps. US tablet sales are projected to increase 147 percent from last year according to eMarketer. [Source: http://slidesha.re/jDuGPh]
In the smartphone segment, the Millennial Media Mobile Device Index April report showed first quarter worldwide shipment of smartphones grew 83 percent year-over-year and global smartphones users are expected to climb to close to 600 million by end of year. Thirty-two percent of those manufactured devices are Apple iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. The iOS impressions command a whopping 47 percent increase since the beginning of the year. [Source: http://bit.ly/iADuUQ]
Apple opened with updates to OS 10 Lion and iOS 5, but what a lot of people were anticipating was the third topic, the silver icon with an outline of a cloud— iCloud. Steve Jobs returned to stage and discussed how the PC was no longer the central device or digital hub mentioned ten years ago. Is the post-PC generation here? Most Digital Wanderers would agree. As more and more users download and play content on one device, there isn’t a great experience to share that on other devices, easily. How many of you today are working on a document, and when you save, know it is updated to all other devices? If there is a cloud service leading in this synchronized cloud storage capability, please comment how you see it competing with iCloud.
The success of iCloud was described in the beginning and end of the presentation. iCloud stores the user’s content, and wirelessly pushes and synchronizes any changes to all your mobile computing devices. iCloud will also automatically perform daily backups of your devices over the air with Wi-Fi for music, apps and books, photos, videos, settings and App data. Moreover, iCloud takes it up a notch with something that enterprises, large and small will benefit; iCloud integrates with your Apple Apps. The iCloud storage service for Documents in the Cloud provides automatic synchronization across your devices. The iCloud Storage API for App developers provides enterprises the same experience to synchronize any document and data across all iOS devices. This capability will light a fire into every developer who has ever thought of writing an iOS enterprise app and running it on Apple’s ecosystem. MGI Research connected the dots in response, “iCloud fires a shot across the bow directed squarely at Microsoft’s Office365 and Google’s Small Business Apps cloud productivity offerings because iCloud provides a near frictionless adoption path for Apple iOS device customers.” [Source: http://bit.ly/kKXS9K]
If you learn anything from Apple’s announcement is that the cloud should be invisible. I don’t care how you sync my calendar, mail, music or documents. All I want when I open a document on my smartphone is it should have the updated version I created on my PC moments ago. I didn’t have to go to some folder in a browser, copy and reload with another browser on my smartphone. It’s right there on the screen ready for me. It just works.
So the question to ask now is what Wall Street and cloud competitors will be watching for next. It is likely how many existing cloud storage subscribers on other platforms make a move to iCloud? And how the trend in adoption and change in cloud storage bytes happen over the next 12 to 24 months? I say it only takes one successful experience for a Digital Wanderer on the iCloud with their music, books, mail or documents to convince one to consider the change in adding a new iOS device to their digital lifestyle. When that happens, it only takes a blink and those same users are pushing it into their digital workplace, the enterprise. Some pundits will disagree on the uptake on enterprise because of security but I believe it’s going to happen much faster than most expect. The “it is secure” is just a matter of time.
Apple has over 225 million accounts for the App stores. The ecosystem for iTunes and Apps is mind boggling if you consider the short time it took Apple to get this many customers. The addition of iCloud makes it more of a reality to give more and more Digital Wanderers the freedom they seek as they continue in their mobile computing habits.