Storm Cloud “We’re going to demote the PC and the Mac to just be a device; we’re going to move your hub, the center of your digital life, into the cloud.” ~Steve Jobs, Apple WWDC conference

It seems that “cloud” is the big buzz phrase lately…Apple iCloud, Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud, Microsoft’s Cloud Conversations, XBox Live Cloud Storage, Valve’s SteamCloud, Google Cloud Music Service. We’ve been using the cloud in the form of the internet for years, and there are lots of pluses to the cloud (backing up data off of our computers, using online apps to save computing power, file syncing, online services such as virus scanning to free up IT department resources, etc), but most people I know haven’t been too excited about it all. Apple’s intro to iCloud, though, should make people sit up and take notice, because Apple is planning to make the cloud the future. And Apple has a habit of setting precedents.

Apple’s approach to the Cloud is a bit different than most other companies, as it is primarily a way to synchronize data across devices. It is like MobileMe on steroids. I for one am ready (and waiting!) for a few of the features:

    • Photos taken on the iphone automatically copied to computers
    • Music available on all devices – iphone, ipod, PC, ipad
    • Calendars, contacts & email auto-synced between work, home, and iphone

Of course, a common connection here is buying in to Apple devices/Apple software, though Apple promises to sync up with the PC (and MobileMe already does a good job of that). Apple is smart to look at the cloud as an opportunity to help people master their many devices, because the fact is that mobile devices are becoming more and more pervasive. More than 1 billion people in the world use smartphones, and it is predicted that mobile internet usage will overtake desktop internet usage by 2014. I leave you to ponder these interesting predictions about the state of the internet in 2015, which show that those who ignore the cloud will risk being rained on.

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