The iCloud Rolls In

June 6th, 2011 by · 3 Comments

Rumored for months, Apple today unveiled the iCloud, which is designed to serve as the central hub for data and content downloaded from Apple for various devices.  The intent is to replace the PC as the place you go to synchronize everything, which has been annoying for quite a long time IMHO.  The iCloud is free, and updates will supposedly be daily over WiFi in order to not clog all those 3G pipes out there.

And so the cloud has come to the consumer, albeit in a very limited form.  The iCloud is actually quite a minimal concept at the moment, little more than an online storage account that apps on your devices will talk to automatically.  As Dan Rayburn notes, there's no streaming whatsoever involved here.  It's not a revolutionary idea or technology, it's just a new incarnation of an old idea but possibly with the combination of technology, muscle and style to make it happen. But I think Apple is being smart here by focusing on the basics and leaving the flashy stuff until later, because getting the latter right the first time would have been difficult.  They can add functionality over time and keep the buzz going that way rather than using all their ammunition at once.

From a bandwidth angle, there's really not that much going on here yet.  As one sees with the rise of Netflix, video is everything and the bits from downloading MP3's in batch mode just won't compare.  Akamai has been Apple's CDN of choice, and is likely to be powering this launch as well.  But what is most important about the iCloud is not what they're doing with it now, but whether or not will stand up to real world usage and thus position itself to serve as a consumer cloud platform for the real bits to come later.

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Categories: Cloud Computing · Wireless

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3 Comments So Far


  • CarlK says:

    Is Akamai the preferred CDN provider for Apple as they once were for Netflix?

    (3) cites both Netflix video and Apple music as being delivered over their network.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Level_3_Communications

    I do notice in Apple’s PR’s today that storage capacity will accrue charges based upon certain customer use limits.

    Music may not be a bandwidth hog(460 megabits per hour of bandwidth capacity used; twice the bandwidth of a phone call and 64 times that of an email ), but it’s a lot better than emails or voice going forward!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SIwpEoM0YcY

  • AlB says:

    the “cloud” has been around for quite a while – how does AAPL propose to make gobs of money with this “new” method of delivery unless they have a subscription charge on a periodic basis (ie: yearly”) – which goes to the question; how many customers does AAPL have that would be subscribers to such a service??

    • fluids_only says:

      I guess the initial business cased is based on Apple’s ability to win and retain customers for its end-user devices. Google storage is free and that doubtless supports, in some way, its search-based advertising revenues. Premium “cloud services” can come later.

      What will also be interesting to see is whether Apple opens up its cloud to third party providers (or whether Apple users can access other private clouds from their devices). On the face of it, neither looks likely for the time being as Apple seems quite happy with dominating its own world, but if the former happens that could also open up additional source of interconnect and licensing revenues for Apple.

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