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iCloud. it’s here. Is this what we wanted?

We knew it was coming. It’s what we desired. And it’s… a little dull? With expectations extremely high for the unveiling of Apple’s new cloud-services, we’ve come to expect something perpetually brilliant from the Cupertino-based company. And yes, iCloud is what we expected, with is full integration on all iOS 5 devices along with Macs and PC’s, combined with the ability to Wi-Fi sync  with and backup to iTunes with photos and apps, but it seems as if Apple just… listened. Now for those of you reading this thinking, what’s wrong with this guy? Isn’t this what we wanted them to do all of this time? No, not really. More after the break.

Apple, better than any company in recent memory, has the innate ability to discover what the consumer wants before the consumer does, and that does not seem to be the case this time. It seems as if Apple just read what everybody like me was writing and implemented it. And there’s nothing wrong with that; if they were Google. Google gives us what we want; Apple gives us what we didn’t know we need. Take mobile, for instance.  iOS came first, then people said we needed an open version; Android was born. They said we need wireless syncing; Android 2.0. The iPad came out; we need an open version of that; Android 3. We need cloud services; Google Cloud. Google has taken on the ‘Answer every wish’ approach with its mobile offerings, while Apple has taken on the ‘I know you better than you do’ approach. They seem to have changed the design which has made them the top tech company in the world.

If you assemble preview articles of iOS 5 from throughout the past year, there are very few things that have been written about iOS 5 that aren’t included. Apple has usually designed products and software under the guise that they know better than the consumer and whatever they decide to unveil will be earth-shattering. People thought we needed an app store when the iPhone first came out and if Apple didn’t do it they would get left behind by RIM; now Apple has the biggest store with over 425,000 apps. The GameCenter, instituted in iOS 4 was heavily criticized, as many believed it would be of no use; it now has more than 50 million users, 20 million more than Xbox Live in one year. Now, it seems that the defiant nature of Apple is wilting away.

iCloud looks to improve on Amazon’s and Google’s cloud offerings, instead of defining its industry. There were tablets before the iPad. There were phones before the iPhone. But those tablets and those phones were not the basis of the iPad and the iPhone. All of the tablets and phones before the iPad and iPhone seemed old when they arrived. The tablets that came before weren’t even secondary options when the iPad came out.

Maybe this is just the temporary effects of Steve Jobs’ leave of absence. Maybe they’re using this time to catch up on all of the things that they have overlooked throughout the years and we criticized them on. Maybe this is a calculated change by Apple to improve instead of create. But if this is an effect of the absence of Steve Jobs, what does this say for the future of a company that has made its mark by creating and defining industries instead of working within them? iCloud is a great service by Apple. It might even be the best cloud-service available. But it could have been better.