Since becoming mainstream, personal computers have been at the centre of consumers’ digital lives. Concretely, this meant that files, photos, music and videos were stored on personal computers and gathered from other devices. This was a good paradigm because each external device had one main purpose: mp3 players for music, cameras for taking photos etc. More importantly, these devices either created content or served to consume it, never both. The computer was the only logical place for getting and pushing files between devices.
But then something changed. Smartphones and tablets came along. Users started to consume, create and even edit multiple types of content on their mobile devices. Not only did this slow down synchronization, it rendered it very difficult. Nothing was every truly ubiquitous. Users weren’t able to start editing a document on one device and continue on another without having to think about transferring the document.
A few weeks ago, Apple unveiled iCloud to modernize synching on their devices. From now on, the PC has been demoted to just a device with the cloud replacing it as the digital hub.
What makes this solution very unique, and even groundbreaking, is the way it’s integrated with the users’ applications. As explained by Steve Jobs during his address, the hardest part of learning how to use a computer is the file system. On iOS devices, apps have always managed their own files and presented them in a way that made sense for the user. The problem was that, if users had to manage their own syncing, they had to manage their files at some point anyway. Luckily for users, Apple’s new cloud solution does it all automatically.
So iCloud is undoubtedly an improvement for Apple users, but will people be willing to trust the cloud with all of their content? Will they take the risk of being imprisoned in Apple’s ecosystem? Is Apple’s answer that “it just works” enough to convince users?
What is clear is that Apple has laid the last piece of the foundation needed to fully embrace the upcoming post-PC era.…