October 15, 2011

First impressions of iCloud

I set up my iCloud account a few days ago using my AppleID, which is my gmail address. I updated my mac and iPad, and then put in my credentials on both. Online, I created an @me.com address, which a) seems totally redundant if you signed in with another, already existing email address, and b) has yet to work whatsoever.

iCloud doesn’t sync at all to Windows Phone, and, I’m assuming, Android or anything other than the iPhone 3Gs, 4, and 4S.

It’s impressive how fast a contact or calendar change is reflected from a portable device to the desktop. It’s noticeably faster and feels more secure than Google calendar and contacts, which often feel a little janky.

I wrote a document on the subway using Pages. I opened it three times, continually adding more content. It was up to about 700 words. I checked on iCloud.com to see if the document was there yesterday, and it was. That was cool. Today, however, the document simply doesn’t exist. It just disappeared. That’s not ever cool. There’s no backup of multiple versions, and no way to access the files themselves on iCloud. It’s not only worse than dropbox in every respect for document management, it’s currently worse than any backup service I can think of.

I can understand a few blips during the beginning of a service like this. MobileMe was famously useless for several months, and there’s a reason Google slaps the beta tag on most new services. But until the kinks work themselves out, I simply can’t trust any of the iWork apps on iOS not to kill my stuff, which means I basically can’t use those apps at all right now.

It’s also interesting to note that while iCal and Address Book receive iCloud support, iWork apps on the Mac simply don’t. The share” button still goes to iWork.com. Baffling.

Online syncing, backup, and social services remain Apple’s ugly blindspot.


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