The ongoing iOS-ification of the Mac, the porting of iOS features and functionality to the desktop, will gain fresh momentum with Apple’s late Summer release of Mountain Lion. For better and worse, that has been the focus of media and tech press’s coverage of the operating system update. Yet, like an iceberg, much of what makes OS X 10.8 different is largely out of sight.
According to Apple, “iCloud stores your music, photos, documents, and more and wirelessly pushes them to all your devices. Automatic, effortless, and seamless — it just works.”
Sounds simple, but it’s devilishly hard to execute and the implications of its application are pervasive and far reaching. That said, there are already 100 million iCloud users and, with Mountain Lion poising to pounce, that number will likely increase in a big way.
So, here’s a quick look at how iCloud is going to change your Mac experience with the release of OS X 10.8:
iCloud document storage, and the biggest change to Open and Save dialog boxes in the 28-year history of the Mac. Mac App Store apps effectively have two modes for opening/saving documents: iCloud or the traditional local hierarchical file system. The traditional way is mostly unchanged from Lion (and, really, from all previous versions of Mac OS X). The iCloud way is visually distinctive: it looks like the iPad springboard — linen background, iOS-style one-level-only drag-one-on-top-of-another-to-create-one “folders.” It’s not a replacement of traditional Mac file management and organization. It’s a radically simplified alternative” — Daring Fireball.
We can already use iCloud to store and transit files and data through the cloud, but integration is going to deepen to the point that information management can move entirely off the desktop — that really is radical.
Not directly about iCloud, but iCloud is the glue that binds OS X 10.8.
iCloud is key to Apple’s products, and Mountain Lion has more integration with the online data sync service. You’ll be asked to enter an Apple ID during the OS installation, so your settings and data can be synced. Mountain Lion also has a new Documents in the Cloud view to go along with the Open and Save dialog boxes” — Macworld.
Set up iCloud and forget it, at least until something breaks or you find a black hole in the service or your wireless carrier’s coverage.
Apple’s betting the farm on iCloud — will the company and, by extension, its hundreds of millions of users succeed? Given their record to date — iTools, dotMac, MobileMe — iCloud isn’t going to be a slam dunk…
What’s your take?