The battle to store and deliver all of your digital stuff’ got a little hotter with Apple’s iCloud announcement. Now the purveyor of perfect interfaces has launched a cloud-based service that will store all (well, most) of your digital stuff – music, pictures, applications (as long as they’re Mac) and even documents – in a single location that is available and synchronized with you and your devices wherever you go.
They join the other big players including Microsoft (SkyDrive, Office 365, etc.), Google (Google Docs, Picasa, etc.) and Amazon (Elastic Compute Cloud, aka EC2) in the fight to make our lives simpler. Buy it, create it, store it, access it – anywhere. They promise to do this for low or even no cost. Sounds great!
Trouble is, this is still the Beta vs. VHS situation, HD vs. DVD vs Blu-ray, Mac vs PC vs Open Source… The iCloud is ideal if you’ve been drinking the Apple Kool-Aid (graphic designers). If you have an Apple sticker on your car window (or stuck to your PC-laptops for wannabes), this means you. If you have all Apple devices – iPhone, iPad, iTV, Mac laptop – the iCloud will allow you to buy, store and synchronize across all devices. Simple.
However, if you’re like many others, you may love your iPhone but work on a PC and watch TV via Satellite. You don’t subscribe to a single platform or tool. In this case, iCloud will not be for you, and perhaps neither will Google or Amazon.
Regardless, the increasing connection between tools and environments is good for those of us in the content transformation business. These devices and cloud services share a common trait – they love PDF! Regardless of the service you choose, there is significant value in having your documents in a format that can be shared and viewed across your devices as PDF, whether they started life as Microsoft Office, Google Docs or Mac Pages files.
Even though many of these cloud services are aimed at making our personal lives easier, all of these vendors have their eye on our work lives as well. Our expectations at work are already melding with our expectations at home in terms of ease of use, access to information and intuitive interfaces.
Just wait till the next generation hits the workforce…. I have no doubt they’ll be viewing and collaborating on content that has been touched by a Content Transformation Platform and shared via the cloud (Apple’s or someone else’s).