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iCloud to address other half of iPhones never backed up via iTunes

post #1 of 43
Thread Starter 
Apple's new iCloud offering will not only offer iPhone users an experience untethered from iTunes, but will also be a timesaver for the company's retail store employees dealing with customers who have never synced or backed up their devices.

According to a blogger report by OneFPS, about half of the Apple Store customers who need to have their device replaced "have never plugged them into iTunes after the initial activation and sync," a fact that makes "Apple Store Geniuses are excited about iCloud."

Sync or swim

Apple's iOS devices have always required users to plug in their iPhone, iPod touch or iPad to iTunes via USB to begin its initial setup. Every time the device is plugged back into that system, iTunes does a backup of the device; transfers photos, music, videos and other documents as the user has configured during setup; syncs apps purchased in iTunes as well as apps purchased on the device and suggests any new software updates that are available.

If users don't plug into iTunes however, their devices are never backed up and their iOS version is not updated. According to the aggregate analytics of a variety of developers and ad networks, most of Apple's iOS users do regularly update their system software.

However, it appears that a large portion of the subset of iOS users who need assistance are not using iTunes regularly, leaving their mobile devices without a current backup of their data, apps and media purchases. This leaves these users in a position no better than cloud-only mobile products connected to a service that experiences a cloud failure, as the customers of Google, Microsoft, RIM, Palm and Nokia have all experienced.

While Apple's iTunes-centric model for device management works well for those who remember to regularly plug into a desktop computer, the company noted during its WWDC keynote that a large proportion of users in China and other important markets frequently don't even use a desktop computer, making iTunes sync and setup less than ideal.

iOS 5 wireless sync

iOS 5 introduces a number of new features intended to allow mobile devices to be set up without a connection to iTunes and then perform ongoing backup, sync and updates wirelessly going forward, centered around Apple's free iCloud service.

Once set up (depicted below), iOS 5 will also allow users to perform operations such as setting up new calendars or playlists without needing an external PC sync. Once users begin taking advantage of iCloud, the number of users who have never backed up or updated their software should drop precipitously.



The new iOS software update for Apple's mobile platform, which becomes available later this fall, will automatically begin syncing operations whenever it is plugged into power while a WiFi network is available, which should cover most users at home, work or school. Apple has also added direct iOS device configuration of its Airport wireless base stations to make this even easier for new users to set up.

Apple's move to cloud-centric sync and backups could expose iOS 5 users to the same types of cloud failure data losses that have hit customers of nearly everyone in the business of cloud computing, and Apple itself has suffered outages and data corruption issues with its MobileMe service. How well the company manages the rollout of its iCloud services will be critical in determining how confident iOS customers can be with a new reliance upon the cloud.
post #2 of 43
I'm upset that all of these morons have the money to buy a smart phone that they are too dumb to know how to use properly. Meanwhile I'm stuck with a crappy flip phone because the phone and data plan cost so much, yet I know more about the iPhone than them.
post #3 of 43
Hang on for a bumpy ride. Remember iSync? Took a while but got it right.
post #4 of 43
Apple really really really (did I say really) needs to create an iTunes background service.
There is no reason why I should have to have iTunes running on my desktop to access content on my iOS device.

WiFi sync is somewhat pointless if iTunes isn't open on your desktop when you plug your phone into a power source.
post #5 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Obi-Wan Kubrick View Post

I'm upset that all of these morons have the money to buy a smart phone that they are too dumb to know how to use properly. Meanwhile I'm stuck with a crappy flip phone because the phone and data plan cost so much, yet I know more about the iPhone than them.

Hey Obi try not calling others "morons" for starters one of them could be your boss. Being nicer can get you far.
post #6 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joseph L View Post

I have trouble believing that. People who buy Apple products usually do their homework, instead of buying the most common thing like a Blackberry. Apple customers are usually much more technically sophisticated than average. The "about one half" can't be correct.

Read post #5 above to dissuade yourself of that illusion.
post #7 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joseph L View Post

I have trouble believing that. People who buy Apple products usually do their homework, instead of buying the most common thing like a Blackberry. Apple customers are usually much more technically sophisticated than average. The "about one half" can't be correct.

I think the "about one half" refers to clients who need help at the Genius Bar. That makes sense to me. I research my products, know a ton about how to use my phone, and as such would probably solve all of my own problems with my phone and never take it in to a Genius Bar. I'm guessing the average of iPhone users that visit the Genius Bar is not an accurate depiction of the average iPhone owner in general.
post #8 of 43
Pfft. I hate backing up. It takes to frackin' long. USB is slower than sh*t. Bring back FW.

I plug my phone in to charge it. If I change my mind, I can unplug it anytime. But with iTunes, it takes a couple minutes to back up and then synchronize. (Yes, I hate interrupting the sync.) The wireless synching and iCloud features will be awesome. No more app synching. No more iPad to iPhone switching wondering which one had that file. They'll all be up to date.

However, I do update often, but I don't sync every day. Maybe once every two weeks.
post #9 of 43
In the beta you can only back up to one place. You cannot backup to iCloud and iTunes together. I hope this is not the case with the final release.
post #10 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joseph L View Post

I have trouble believing that. People who buy Apple products usually do their homework, instead of buying the most common thing like a Blackberry. Apple customers are usually much more technically sophisticated than average. The "about one half" can't be correct.

There might be some truth in that regarding to switchers, ie, those having switched to a Mac (which by now must make up the majority of Mac users) but not for iPhone users. Though I still think somebody paying for $700 device must have some technological interest.
post #11 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eriamjh View Post

Pfft. I hate backing up. It takes to frackin' long. USB is slower than sh*t. Bring back FW.

Backing up takes about 20 to 30 seconds on my iPhone 4, total syncing about 90 seconds (with nothing to copy, a 10 MB podcast might add 5 seconds to that).
post #12 of 43
If they've never plugged it in to sync/back up, what makes you think they'll update to iOS 5? I know people still on 2.2.1, and 3.1.2,
post #13 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joseph L View Post

I have trouble believing that. People who buy Apple products usually do their homework, instead of buying the most common thing like a Blackberry. Apple customers are usually much more technically sophisticated than average. The "about one half" can't be correct.

Since I got my iPad I rarely turn on my Mac which also means I rarely sync my devices to iTunes. I've been to the Genius bar twice now with out of date firmware.
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post #14 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joseph L View Post

I have trouble believing that. People who buy Apple products usually do their homework, instead of buying the most common thing like a Blackberry. Apple customers are usually much more technically sophisticated than average. The "about one half" can't be correct.

Well that's the thing about iPhones, from experience working at a cell phone retailer iPhones also appeal to people who are not technically savvy. I've seen so many angry customers return android phones because you actually have to learn how to use those devices and it's not as intuitive as iOS. iOS for the most part is easy to adapt and literally only takes seconds to learn the most basic features.
post #15 of 43
I'd say the number of people bringing in iPhone's that haven't been backed up is roughly equivalent to the number who have set a pattern password (which has then been locked down when entered incorrectly too many times) on their Android devices without setting up a Google account.

The difference is the iPhone is usually usable and the repair is covered by warranty whereas resetting an Android device costs $40.

If you've ever worked in retail you learn never to underestimate people's stupidity even with the most detailed of instructions and advice.
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post #16 of 43
How many of these 'never backed up' fools will sign up for iCloud?

Backing up takes effort. So does filling out a form and checking some boxes.
post #17 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by roktheworld27 View Post

If they've never plugged it in to sync/back up, what makes you think they'll update to iOS 5? I know people still on 2.2.1, and 3.1.2,

well eventually they buy a new phone and then the updates are pushed to them.
post #18 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eriamjh View Post

Pfft. I hate backing up. It takes to frackin' long. USB is slower than sh*t. Bring back FW.

...

However, I do update often, but I don't sync every day. Maybe once every two weeks.

You know, you could only always skip step 1 of 3 (or 4) to speed up syncing. Step 1 is the backing up part. Just click on the X at the right side of the status display window as soon as iTunes start syncing or when it start displaying it.

Second tip, do not tick to sync your media that is available on your computer on your monthly backups.

Third tip, if you have videos on one of your 3rd party video viewing app, delete them off your device first.

So, I just do backup roughly monthly, only backing up settings and configuration. When I want to sync, I make sure it does not contain large files.

I agree USB is too slow. They should have keep FireWire but then Windows userbase won't grow as much. I don't think Thunderbolt will solve this when only Macs and premium PC have these feature, not currently at least.
post #19 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eriamjh View Post

Pfft. I hate backing up. It takes to frackin' long. USB is slower than sh*t. Bring back FW.

I plug my phone in to charge it. If I change my mind, I can unplug it anytime. But with iTunes, it takes a couple minutes to back up and then synchronize. (Yes, I hate interrupting the sync.) The wireless synching and iCloud features will be awesome. No more app synching. No more iPad to iPhone switching wondering which one had that file. They'll all be up to date.

However, I do update often, but I don't sync every day. Maybe once every two weeks.

Last I checked USB was faster than WI-FI.
post #20 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleZilla View Post

How many of these 'never backed up' fools will sign up for iCloud?

Is free with every device.

How many people (including the dumb lazy ones), will ignore a free offer on their phone for very long?

I'm thinking the kind of folks that don't backup are the exact same folks that will be first in line for anything free.

Gimmie, gimmie gimmie!
post #21 of 43
I couldn't give a rat's ass about people who don't back up. What I do care about is getting wireless sync. That'll be nice when it comes in iOS5.
post #22 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

How many people (including the dumb lazy ones), will ignore a free offer on their phone for very long?

All of them. It takes far more clicks to set up iCloud than it does to sync (one). And unless Wi-Fi syncing is turned on by default, none of them will use that, either.

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post #23 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Obi-Wan Kubrick View Post

I'm upset that all of these morons have the money to buy a smart phone that they are too dumb to know how to use properly. Meanwhile I'm stuck with a crappy flip phone because the phone and data plan cost so much, yet I know more about the iPhone than them.

How much value you are to a company or your ability to make money is unlikely to have any bearing on your ability to use an iPhone so you might want to start by excluding that capability from your C.V., as well as take others advice by not referring to people as morons simply because you know something about 'a' thing.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Joseph L View Post

I have trouble believing that. People who buy Apple products usually do their homework, instead of buying the most common thing like a Blackberry. Apple customers are usually much more technically sophisticated than average. The "about one half" can't be correct.

Apple has routinely stated in conference calls that about 50% of switchers are new to Macs.

Now Macs have their largest installed base ever and they included software with Lion that will transfer files from Windows so the number has to viable.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Patranus View Post

Apple really really really (did I say really) needs to create an iTunes background service.

Isn't that what the iTunes update did?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Eriamjh View Post

Pfft. I hate backing up. It takes to frackin' long. USB is slower than sh*t. Bring back FW.

Not gonna happen. Though I do think they will have Thunderbolt-compatible iDevices within a year.

As for taking too long, WiFi will take longer than USB for the same data. However, Apple is incorporating delta OS and app updates, and likely delta data syncing, too. This should make WiFi syncing faster.


Quote:
Originally Posted by roktheworld27 View Post

If they've never plugged it in to sync/back up, what makes you think they'll update to iOS 5? I know people still on 2.2.1, and 3.1.2,

Of all the devices out there Apple's customers tend to be more likely to update. Apple makes it easier than others on many levels.
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post #24 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleZilla View Post

How many of these 'never backed up' fools will sign up for iCloud?

Backing up takes effort. So does filling out a form and checking some boxes.

Excellent point. If they couldn't spend the time updating their phone then will they find the time to sign up for icloud. I think apple will be pushing you to signup for a account when you buy a phone or even just visiting the genius bar.

I hope my sharing site still works too. I'm not sure many people remember that feature. Also I would hate to lose gallery and iDisk. I dont think we will but it would be nice to know. Steve likes to leave everyone guessing.

I still use my @mac.com address for my emails. Will that still work. I read that dotmac addresses will still work. Is that the same, @mac.com is what dotmac is when one says apple will still still support dotmac addresses? Thanks for any insight.
post #25 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

All of them. It takes far more clicks to set up iCloud than it does to sync (one). And unless Wi-Fi syncing is turned on by default, none of them will use that, either.

Setting up all the different iCloud setting in iOS 5.0 was a chore. This is just in Settings. I guess I understand that each service needs to have direct user interaction to have some failsafe of the user specifically choosing those tasks, but it was annoying.
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post #26 of 43
I'm tech savvy and I pretty much only back up my iPhone when I update firmware.

I don't change music on it, I buy the apps directly on it. I don't even sync photos/videos as I upload them. Plugging into iTunes is awful, it isn't just backup. It is app copying, then everything else, then some complaint because it isn't the same iTunes library (multiple computers), then someone calls or texts and it cuts out.

As such it isn't 1minute.

But guess what? I plug the iPhone into power while in wifi daily, more than once a day sometimes and almost every night while I sleep.

So by doing nothing, including not struggling with various iTunes' and multiple clicks, sync issues and other crap I'll have my phone synced every day.
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post #27 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by gqb View Post

read post #5 above to dissuade yourself of that illusion.

priceless!!!
post #28 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by freshh20 View Post

Last I checked USB was faster than WI-FI.

This is interesting.

I think what happens here is that wifi is perceived to be quicker because you can set it and forget it, while USB requires a cable and therefor denotes thoughts of stationary, antiquated, non-mobile, tethered shackles.

You can DL via wifi and toss your phone in your pocket and walk around the house. Plug in to USB and your phone is landlocked, you feel the need to tend to it, check whether it's done, stay in the same room if you're expecting a call, etc.

These are mostly inconsequential scenarios, but they still contribute to a greater sense of freedom when utilizing wifi. So in this case, convenience is outweighing speed, no?
post #29 of 43
I can never get my mom to plug her phone into her laptop to back it up. She's so used to just plugging in a phone to AC to recharge it, she can never be bothered to do any more than that.

Likewise, I discovered that my sister had not synced her iPad in many many months and it was still running a very old OS, never mind the fact that nothing had been backed up.

But like others, I'd bet these same people will not set up Wi-Fi on their iPhones or even set up iCloud, unless they are forced to as part of the setup process.
post #30 of 43
To add...

Ever increasingly I resist point updates because of the transfer new purchases, backup and everything else. Ive had 4.3.3 downloaded for weeks but the 3 times I've had the iPhone connected I had to stop before backup had finished.

Geez I go for days without using the computer these days. No need unless I am working on something.
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post #31 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

about half of the Apple Store customers who need to have their device replaced "have never plugged them into iTunes after the initial activation and sync,"

interesting ... but then the apparent contradiction...

Quote:
According to the aggregate analytics of a variety of developers and ad networks, most of Apple's iOS users do regularly update their system software.

...and AppleInsider's interpretation:

Quote:
it appears that a large portion of the subset of iOS users who need assistance are not using iTunes regularly

To take the other extreme, another interpretation has to be that the aggregate analytics of developers/ad networks really indicates that the 50% of users who don't use iTunes also don't use apps.

It's probably somewhere in between, of course.

Sure the iCloud will be good. I guess it'll force users to get an AppleID, but as others have said it'll only backup their phone if they know how to put it on their wifi network. Maybe the iCloud could sync the list of known wifi networks between iTunes/laptops and phones too.
post #32 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

Is free with every device.

How many people (including the dumb lazy ones), will ignore a free offer on their phone for very long?

I'm thinking the kind of folks that don't backup are the exact same folks that will be first in line for anything free.

Gimmie, gimmie gimmie!

If they are buying a new phone they would be given a choice. apple will have the staff treat it like it is just part of buying the phone. They don't let folks upgrade their line now with turning on the phone 'so you will receive any calls that come in while you are on the way home'

Now it will be turn it on, set up icloud, then email, your iTunes account (get the apple store app etc) then send you on your way.

A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

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post #33 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by roktheworld27 View Post

If they've never plugged it in to sync/back up, what makes you think they'll update to iOS 5? I know people still on 2.2.1, and 3.1.2,

shot myself.
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post #34 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by cy_starkman View Post

Plugging into iTunes is awful, it isn't just backup. It is app copying, then everything else, then some complaint because it isn't the same iTunes library (multiple computers), then someone calls or texts and it cuts out.

As such it isn't 1minute.

But guess what? I plug the iPhone into power while in wifi daily, more than once a day sometimes and almost every night while I sleep.

I charge mine from my MacBook and sync at the same time usually on a daily basis, open iTunes check for App updates, wait for them to download.

I have everything unchecked and one playlist which I edit, it takes less time to sync than it takes to have a shower, putting it in aircraft mode stops phonecalls and messages, this is what I do for iOS updates.
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post #35 of 43
FYI: With iOS 5.0 you can use the iDevice even while it's syncing.
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post #36 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by brutus009 View Post


I think what happens here is that wifi is perceived to be quicker because you can set it and forget it, while USB requires a cable and therefor denotes thoughts of stationary, antiquated, non-mobile, tethered shackles.

You can DL via wifi and toss your phone in your pocket and walk around the house. Plug in to USB and your phone is landlocked, you feel the need to tend to it, check whether it's done, stay in the same room if you're expecting a call, etc.

There is the small detail that a lot of the syncing, backing up, updating etc. will only start if the iPhone is plugged in for charging in iOS5.
Essentially, whenever you charge your iPhone (be it with iOS 4 or 5) it is also 'landlocked'. Why is charging your iPhone via the computer so much more cumbersome than charging it via the AC adaptor? (The answer is that some people do not have their computer running most of the time, plugging in the AC adaptor to the wall is easier than switching on the computer.)
post #37 of 43
I charge my phone by plugging it into my computer, so I get USB syncing for free (that is, no additional effort). But I do know people who have never backed up, never copied music to their phones and never copied photos from their phones back to their computers. It boggles my mind because they're missing out on half of the capabilities of the iPhone.

Oh well, my first thought when reading this article is how nice it is that Apple saw the reality of the situation and created an alternative that might serve these users better. If it was Microsoft they would have started showing alerts on the screen every day -- "It has been 83 days since your last backup" -- which users would then train themselves to close without reading.
post #38 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by noirdesir View Post

There is the small detail that a lot of the syncing, backing up, updating etc. will only start if the iPhone is plugged in for charging in iOS5.

The large majority already plugs their phone into the wall every night to charge. There are no additional steps.

Quote:
Essentially, whenever you charge your iPhone (be it with iOS 4 or 5) it is also 'landlocked'.

This I'm curious about. I've read that the automatic wifi sync will only occur once a day. The obvious concern here is: what happens when you need to charge your phone in the middle of the day and happen to be near wifi? And what happens if you interrupt syncing? What if it's updating software?

Quote:
Why is charging your iPhone via the computer so much more cumbersome than charging it via the AC adaptor? (The answer is that some people do not have their computer running most of the time, plugging in the AC adaptor to the wall is easier than switching on the computer.)

Whether my computer is on or not, I just don't do that. Apparently many people don't. It must be cumbersome. I read somewhere that many folks in China don't regularly use a personal computer, nevermind having it turned on.

On a more serious note, charging my phone via AC means I can charge it virtually anywhere. Every room has at least four outlets to choose from, and they're always there. My laptop might be in the living room, kitchen, car, work, or anywhere else I keep busy, but the one place my phone HAS to be every morning is where I'm sleeping; it's my alarm. Isn't it everyone's alarm?
post #39 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by arlomedia View Post

... If it was Microsoft they would have started showing alerts on the screen every day -- "It has been 83 days since your last backup" -- which users would then train themselves to close without reading.

Brilliant! That is SO true. Sad, actually, but reality nonetheless.
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post #40 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Apple's new iCloud offering will not only offer iPhone users an experience untethered from iTunes, but will also be a timesaver for the company's retail store employees dealing with customers who have never synced or backed up their devices.

Sync or swim

Apple's iOS devices have always required users to plug in their iPhone, iPod touch or iPad to iTunes via USB to begin its initial setup. Every time the device is plugged back into that system, iTunes does a backup of the device; transfers photos, music, videos and other documents as the user has configured during setup; syncs apps purchased in iTunes as well as apps purchased on the device and suggests any new software updates that are available.

If users don't plug into iTunes however, their devices are never backed up and their iOS version is not updated. According to the aggregate analytics of a variety of developers and ad networks, most of Apple's iOS users do regularly update their system software.

iOS 5 wireless sync

iOS 5 introduces a number of new features intended to allow mobile devices to be set up without a connection to iTunes and then perform ongoing backup, sync and updates wirelessly going forward, centered around Apple's free iCloud service.

The new iOS software update for Apple's mobile platform, which becomes available later this fall, will automatically begin syncing operations whenever it is plugged into power while a WiFi network is available, which should cover most users at home, work or school. Apple has also added direct iOS device configuration of its Airport wireless base stations to make this even easier for new users to set up.


What I would really like to know is whether it will be possible to upload a back-up of my iPhone 3G to iCloud so that when I finally upgrade to iPhone 5 I'll be able to use my authentication apps that work on a per-device basis?

Barring that, will I still be able to set up the phone with iTunes and use a back-up stored on my PC to get my data onto the upgraded iPhone...
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