When I had my iPhone 3GS, there was one feature I always craved. The ability to sync my phone via WiFi. Owning an iHome, I loved being able to drop my phone onto the top of my alarm clock and let it charge over night. But what if I wanted top update my podcasts? Or sync new albums? Or maintain a daily backup? Since these processes, especially the backup, could take a while, many nights I’d be plugging my phone into my computer. It left me wondering why I bought this fancy alarm clock.

Fast forward to iOS 5, and we finally have WiFi sync! It’s just like I always wanted. I put my iPhone 4S on my iHome or dock my iPad, and the sync starts automatically.

What’s that? iOS 5 sends my backup to the cloud automatically once a day? Well that’s good. Frees up some space on my MacBook. Now I’m syncing songs and apps like a pro. Then iTunes Match arrived.

I love iTunes Match. Once my library was in the cloud, I moved all the music off my MacBook and to an external drive. It gave me almost 30 GB back on my hard drive. Even if I wanted to sync music from my MacBook to my iPhone, the option doesn’t exist. Apple just wants me to download everything from their servers. Fine by me.

Then I got to wondering why I have all these apps just sitting on my hard drive. It’s not like I can run them on my MacBook. They just take up space. I can easily redownload any apps I may delete thanks to iCloud. Save goes for TV shows. As for movies, it’s not something I do too often on my iDevices. After deleting all those apps, I got another 60 GB back on my MacBook.

Then it hit me. What exactly am I syncing anymore? Podcasts, photos, and the occasional movie file. Music, apps, and backups are now all done independently of my MacBook. Suddenly, WiFi sync seems less important.

Sure it’s nice to be able to sync up the podcasts automatically each night. But other than that, movies and pictures aren’t something I need to constantly sync. Nice to have, but not the must have feature that I thought WiFi sync would be a month ago.

But I’m not upset. I think the iCloud stuff works fantastically. Plus I got 90 GB back on my MacBook. Hard to be upset about that. In the biography Steve Jobs, Jobs spoke of originally seeing the computer as your media hub, the center of your digital life. With iCloud, Jobs and Apple are now betting that the cloud becomes that center. All they need to do now is let me subscribe to podcasts within the iTunes store on my iPhone and I’m all set.

Well played, Apple.

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5 responses »

  1. feenwager says:

    You don’t know how happy it makes me to see someone using the service (and the devices) as it’s intended. Well played, AJ.

    • A.J. says:

      I think Apple still has a little way to go before the cloud completely replaces the PC as your hub, both from a functionality and ease of use standpoint.

      iCloud’s whole mantra of “It just works,” is mostly true, but it did take a lot of finagling on my part to get it going. In order to stop syncing my apps without deleting everything on the devices (which also would have meant data loss from what iTunes was telling me), I had to uncheck app syncing, click sync, and then immediately unplug the device from the MacBook. Worked fine, but I can’t see average users doing that.

      Plus, I really want to be able to subscribe to podcasts. It should, in theory, work just like Newstand does. I pick my podcasts, and they automatically update.

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