iCloud: The Center of the Universe

on April 12, 2012

Over the past year Apple has given us a glimpse of what iCloud can do, but it’s the service’s potential that has me excited. Even with the small changes we’ve seen, there can be little doubt that the service will be at the center of future Apple products.

iCloud took over from MobileMe, doing the mundane but important task of syncing our calendars, contacts, bookmarks and other personal data between devices. This means that all changes will be synced between our Macs, iPhones and iPads, instantly and seamlessly.

It was with a release of a new version of iOS that we first saw how useful iCloud could be outside of a syncing service. The ability to see all of the apps that we already purchased and downloaded in one place and re-download them. I’ve used this quite often as I’ve switched devices, deleted apps and wanted to re-install. Easy and convenient — it’s what Apple is all about.

With the addition of iTunes in the Cloud allowing users to access songs in the cloud from any device, and an Apple TV update that stored purchased movies and TV shows in the cloud, we started to see how iCloud could be used in the home.

The home entertainment system is an area that companies have tried, and failed, to control for years. Like most things these days, it’s about the content. We fully expect devices like TVs to have a sleek, modern design, and look good in our entertainment center, but without the content they are just TVs.

Some TVs come with services like Netflix built-in, giving us easy access to that content. I love the Netflix service and use it all the time, however, it’s limited in a lot of ways. The most important being that it’s not the place where I get most of my digital content — that is iTunes.

In the future, if I’m going to pay for a device or television, I want to know that I have access to all of my content. That means movies, TV shows, music, podcasts, and anything else I’ve purchased. I also want the ability to seamlessly purchase new content and have that available on any other device that I want to consume it.

Apple is the only company in the industry that could provide this at the moment. Clearly we don’t have a television from them yet, but they do have the infrastructure to deliver the content. In that respect, Apple is a decade ahead of its competition.

With iCloud’s ability to deliver content to connected devices, it’s not unreasonable to envision a time when Apple could deliver all of your purchased content, as well as subscription-based content from television networks and other specialty media companies, to any or all of your devices.

iCloud is not just a syncing service — it’s a content delivery mechanism that will play an increasingly important role in future products.