Fear of an iCloud planet

There’s something I’ve come to realize in the last few days.
That is the fact that I have become unhappy with the path Apple seems hellbent
on taking. They’re trying to hide the file system on the Mac to become more
like that of the iOS world. No place is this more apparent than with their
iCloud efforts. I’m afraid of saving files from Pages and other apps on my Mac
to iCloud because there’s no transparency whatsoever. I can’t see where the
file went, whether or not it went there successfully.

I don’t like it one bit. Before with .Mac and MobileMe, they
at least had accessible cloud storage. There’s no elegant way of obscuring all
this stuff from the user without completely reinventing the way the user
interacts with basically everything. At least not at present. 

Sidebar: I’d also like to posit that the way Apple has
forced apps on iOS to silo their files and limit interaction between programs
is ultimately the most limiting artificial constraint placed on iOS. The only
other major feature missing is, in my opinion, the fake multitasking. Switching
from modal app to modal app isn’t multitasking. True, side-by-side interaction
of content is impossible on the iPad for instance, making writing a reaction
blog post or school paper a most strange dance back and forth between apps
which then have to quickly wake themselves up in order to be operable.

I think the endgame isn’t the elimination of the file system
but, instead, the supplanting of worry about backup with the confidence of a
solid cloud solution. Users won’t have to care about their files or where they
are if they’re accessible from anywhere reliably. There’s no reason to drop a
working paradigm when conceptually, its replacement is vastly more complex.

Perhaps I’m being reluctant towards this new direction in
computing because it’s different. While I try to remain open to the constantly
changing technology landscape, I can’t accept the iCloud method because of that
lack of any transparency. Right now, I’m greatly appreciating the hybrid system
that Microsoft has developed in SkyDrive. Unlike iCloud, SkyDrive is a bit of a
hybrid between a passive iCloud-like system (“magical” file transfer done
without you thinking so your files are everywhere, tight integration with
applications) and an active Dropbox-type system (files and folders are
accessible through a number of different outlets and devices). In true
Microsoft manner, they’ve made a tool that’s useful to novice and power users
alike depending on the amount of control said user demands.

Photo from the inimitable John Siracusa’s Mac OS X Mountain Lion review for Ars Technica.


Note: Since my last blog post, I’ve been given employ at a Microsoft Store. Just a head’s up to anyone looking for any kind of journalistic integrity here on a personal blog about technology. Additionally, this was written entirely on a Microsoft Surface with a Touch Cover. It’s a really interesting device that I’ve come to love and I’m seriously reconsidering my computing platform of choice as the Windows world gets better and better. But, that’s a posting for another time…