Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

“iCloud in Its Current Implementation Is Chock Full of Stupid”

Rob Griffiths has some choice words for iCloud:

iCloud has potential—given the size of the iOS and Mac OS X user base, it’d be stupid to claim it didn’t. But to really succeed, especially if Apple wants it to eventually replace the filesystem, I think iCloud needs to address its capacity and pricing disparity; it needs some way to handle documents outside of applications (an iCloud folder with subfolders would work well), and it needs to be available to all developers, regardless of where they sell their apps.

As a sync service, iCloud spans the gamut of frustrating to sublime, depending on where you live and whether Mercury is in retrograde. As a cloud storage service, it’s woefully frustrating. Griffiths mentions three great reasons why.

For me, the single biggest frustration is the inability to edit a single document with multiple applications, because everything is siloed and segregated. This is great for security, but terrible for much real-world use, especially for so-called “power” users. When I write a longer-form article, for example, I like to make changes on my iPhone and iPad using Byword, but I prefer Markdrop or TextMate on my Mac, because I’m hardcore like that. TextMate doesn’t support iCloud (it isn’t sold in the Mac App Store), but even if it did, I wouldn’t be able to seamlessly edit that file using different apps on different platforms.

Even on the same platform, iCloud makes for a frustrating experience. Imagine a dream world where you’d be able to store your iPhoto library in iCloud, so it’s always backed up and safe. Now imagine editing photos in that dream world, and witness how it crumbles: you make a few basic edits in iPhoto, then you want to remove that distracting telephone pole using Photoshop. What do you do?

iCloud has the potential to be a great product, and it needs to be. It isn’t yet, though.