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New Software Releases: iCloud, Lion OS 10.7 and iOS 5

Once more into the breach… Apple is changing again. The announcement of iCloud, the new free syncing service, Lion OSX 10.7 the new operating system for Mac computers and iOS 5 the new operating system for mobile devices heralds a major shift in Apple’s focus.

This time, the emphasis is on our data rather than our computer, our phone, our device. Once we embrace the benefits of iCloud syncing all of our stuff so we can get to it easily any time, they will have us! Whaddayamean they already have!?

Putting our data into the cloud has plusses and minuses for us, the End User. Obviously if it works seamlessly after the initial setup, then we will love it and get hooked into the Apple world view even more. On paper it is a tantalising prospect: having access to all our photos, music and documents on any of our devices at any time. And then we will be locked in…

But of course this is AS LONG AS IT WORKS. Mobile Me showed that Apple doesn’t always get it right. It has been a dog’s breakfast of glitches and sent many people over to Google’s Docs and Apps. They must be confident that it will work or they wouldn’t offer it to us in the spring as promised. The Lion 10.7 operating system will be out in July as a download only — which is a bit much as it’s 4GB! And the iOS 5 will arrive in the spring along with iCloud.

The battle between Apple and Google is for our data.

Once they have control of that they have us as long term consumers, relying on them to look after it and give us access to it from anywhere. This will also see a change in the way we use the data, but it’s a change that is already occurring with the move to mobile computing via smart phones and tablets: iPhones and iPads. Gradually we will switch either partially or completely to these mobile devices.

I think there will always be a market and therefore a use for desktop computers and laptops, as the annual growth of Macintosh computers shows: 28% growth in a global computer market that is down 1%. But the continued increase in the use of these mobile devices is altering the way we use our stuff. And the big two are out to control how we access our stuff. When they control that they have the means to sell us the devices that we need to use it.

Its notable how cheap these software offering are: $30 for Lion, free for iCloud and iOS 5. They know that it’s the hardware that makes the money not moving the data around and that we are still happier paying money for real physical things rather than digital data, even if that is slowly changing. Witness the iTunes Store now becoming the biggest global retailer of music.

All in all a tantalising look into the future as visioned by Apple.

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