Why I Love and Hate Apple’s iCloud

5 years ago by in Cool Stuff!, Featured Articles Tagged: , ,

Article first published as Why I Love and Hate Apple’s iCloud on Technorati.

I am as “early adopter” as they come. I always have been.

Since I was young, I always had a knack for jumping into and playing with new technology. Since I am on the tail (the older side) end of Generation X, I was just young enough to adopt new technologies quickly yet old enough to be able to buy such things; especially in the last several years.

For us Apple fans, the company’s World Wide Developers Conference has become sort of an unofficial holiday. Each year the venerable Steve Jobs strolls out on stage with all sorts of news we all digest with glee. It’s become the stage on which the world’s most loved/hated company rolls out all the new cool gadgets and software. We eat it up and yesterday’s event was no different.

Although last year at this time marked the rollout of the much-improved iPhone 4, there was no iPhone update but there was a much more important announcement.

Yesterday Jobs announced the world’s worst-kept secret: Apple’s iCloud.

With the announcement of their new online media hub, Apple dives deep into the world of cloud computing. It’s a world consumers have been hearing a lot about over the past three years with no real tangible way to use it. That changed yesterday with Jobs’ stunning demo of how iCloud will work. And, once again, he and Apple changed the face of technology. And it’s free for that matter.

As much as I love the concept of the cloud and being able to access my files (music, movies, documents) from any device I choose, I can’t help but have some doubts. While the convenience of such a service will be unparalleled, I can’t help but think the freedom of actual “ownership” is escaping us.

In the presentation Jobs talked a little about this in relation to photos. Although you can store (temporarily) photos in the iCloud, your photos still stay on your hard drive on your local Mac or laptop. That makes sense. With personal photos, people are much more sensitive and protective. You can replace that Foo Fighters album anytime if you lose it. Some photos – even digital ones – can be lost forever if you don’t properly back them up.

It’s the music and movies that concern me. Even apps will be kept in the sky in the iCloud. That means music files and other “tangible” items we’re used to purchasing will no longer actually be in our possession. I quickly got over the vinyl vs. digital predicament years ago but now the digital file is disappearing as well. You’re really renting the content and doing so out of the convenience attained from not having to physically store those files.

That is why I love the convenience to access my files in an increasingly connected world but also hate I’ll never actually own the music, application and movies I spend my hard earned money on. Maybe I am in the minority but it does give me pause.

Current Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris-Rodgers said eloquently of the association with freedom and the ownership of personal property:

“Private ownership of property is vital to both our freedom and prosperity.”

In most cases, when you see quotes from political figures like that, they’re railing against government ownership or control over private property or free market business. In this case, I think McMorris-Rodgers captures the crux of the issue for me. I want the convenience, the “cool” and the availability that iCloud will provide, but I also want the ability to physically back up my content should I wish to.

Millions of people will not share my concern. With that, I have no bone to pick. You’re free to choose how and with whom you spend your money. I’ve spent a lot of money with Apple over the years and I am sure I will continue to. Yet I can’t help but wonder if we’re giving up too much of our individual freedom for the sake of convenience.

Much like the geopolitical environment we live in today, I fear we’re doing just that.

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