iCloud seen as most important Apple service since iTunes

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
After meeting with members of Apple's leadership, investment bank Barclays said this week it believes the company's iCloud is the most significant service introduction since iTunes, paving the way for the company to introduce products that don't yet exist.



"Long term, we believe that iCloud could be Apple?s most important new service since the launch of iTunes in 2003," analyst Ben Reitzes said following a face-to-face meeting last week with Apple chief executive Tim Cook and chief financial officer Oppenheimer. "We believe Tim Cook clearly understands how important iCloud is to Apple?s future."



In particular, Reitzes noted that iCloud stands to foster additional customer loyalty towards Apple, as it monetizes users' investments into their iTunes purchases over the years while also adding the benefit of freeing those same customers from wires.



"Only Apple can currently deliver this type of convenience and integration," he said. "We agree with Tim Cook ? iCloud is profound. It basically makes the cloud the digital hub - not the Mac or PC."



As such, the analyst has dubbed iCloud the "sneaky" product launch of 2011, vouching his belief that the service may drive some of the company's most long-term value by laying the foundation for an earnest assault on the TV market in addition to "devices we haven't thought of yet."



Reitzes sees iCloud as the "new hub" for users' media, allowing for wireless distribution to a variety of devices by offloading data storage to the cloud. He notes that global PC sales estimates were cut for 2012 due in part to services like iCloud that "literally help 'demote' the PC from a critical hub to just another device competing for your dollars.



It is unclear what new devices, if any, Apple is working on that leverage iCloud, but it seems to analysts that the service will play a part in shaping the future of the company and its products.



As more product makers move to the cloud, local storage such as flash memory and hard drives is slowly becoming irrelevant as users are able to stream or download content from services like iCloud. iTunes users will be able to take advantage of the move when iTunes Match is released, allowing them to re-download any song in their music library regardless of where it was purchased.



Considering the importance of iCloud and the possibilities surrounding the service, Reitzes gives AAPL an overweight stock rating with a target price of $555, and believes that the company's market cap can see further gains based on Mac and iPhone sales.



Recently the firm's Global Wireless Equipment team raised its 2011-2014 smartphone forecast to 65% year over year growth in 2011 to 467 million units, up from 49% or 420 million. For 2012, analysts see a 43% growth to 668 million smartphones, up from the previous forecast of 35% representing 567 million units. The new forecasts are based on Apple's strong iPhone 4S launch and prospective sales numbers as well as an eventual iPhone 5 release.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 45
    And yet it still has a ways to go. I do like the idea of things syncing automatically, but if I could just manage it.................



    Same for iTunes match.........management.
  • Reply 2 of 45
    Could be most important if it was actually comprehensive in its usefulness.... so far, it seems to me like not much more than a gussied up version of MobileMe. I.e., a bit of a disappointment.
  • Reply 3 of 45
    Such as... 1984 big government mandated cloud snooping (read as fishing expeditions), in the name of "security", of course.



    Meanwhile what is left of liberty? I am leery of iCloud for these reasons...
  • Reply 4 of 45
    Really? Yawn.
  • Reply 5 of 45
    bsenkabsenka Posts: 799member
    I don't understand what makes iCloud important. Everything I'm seeing so far has it looking like a downgrade from what we already had.
  • Reply 6 of 45
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post


    And yet it still has a ways to go. I do like the idea of things syncing automatically, but if I could just manage it.................



    Same for iTunes match.........management.



    It definitely needs some finer controls. Since the switch from MM to iCloud I have multiple contacts and groups. Unlike with MobileMe's preference pane I can't figure out how to completely clean out my contacts and push the right setup from my Mac to iCloud and down to all my devices. The iCloud server keeps propagating this incorrect list.
  • Reply 7 of 45
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bsenka View Post


    I don't understand what makes iCloud important. Everything I'm seeing so far has it looking like a downgrade from what we already had.



    You mean iDisk, don't you? The ability to take a picture and then have it show up on all your other devices via PhotoStream is great, which is just an extension of the file syncing within the system. Also, the backup and syncing for all your settings is nice, if not a time consuming way to restore your device when trying to get 800MB to an iPhone over even a fast WiFI connection.



    Overall the way iCloud integrates with your devices is far superior to MobileMe, though it's not without its problems.
  • Reply 8 of 45
    bsenkabsenka Posts: 799member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    Overall the way iCloud integrates with your devices is far superior to MobileMe, though it's not without its problems.



    You keep saying that, but I'm not seeing that at all. There's nothing even remotely compelling about it. I don't know what you're seeing that I'm missing, but I look at what iCloud does, and all it makes me think is "why would ANYONE want that?".
  • Reply 9 of 45
    bwikbwik Posts: 562member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    and could lead the way to new unthought of devices.



    Remarkable. What will these devices unthink?
  • Reply 10 of 45
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post


    Could be most important if it was actually comprehensive in its usefulness.... so far, it seems to me like not much more than a gussied up version of MobileMe. I.e., a bit of a disappointment.



    In all fairness "usefulness" is subjective.



    For instance I find the whole idea of iTunes match as well as Photostream completely useless. They are what I would call "low end" consumer features that anyone who actually knows how to use a computer would find more of a hinderance than a help.



    I'm sure on the other hand that lots of folks just love them.



    What I'd like to see is for Apple to get the basic service running a bit more efficiently. I'm a big time Apple supporter and a user of .Mac, MobileMe, and now iCloud since the first day they were available, yet if I am honest the service is actually *worse* with each iteration.



    I'm not sure if it's just volume, but iCloud mail is painfully slow and has had several outages a week since it debuted. MobileMe mail was slow but not this bad, .Mac mail was actually kind of snappy.



    What's really insulting also is that stupid page that tells you everything is fine or that only some fraction of a percent of users had "some problems" recently, when in fact the system can be totally broken for long periods of time and this isn't reflected in the status page.



    It's really total garbage for me so far. Very, very unreliable. I'm patiently waiting for them to fix it and probably won't leave even if they don't, but I'm seriously thinking of switching to another provider for my main email address.



    It would also help if they provided some way of controlling SPAM which is way out of control. There is no way the user can actually designate SPAM except through the webmail interface which is so painful it's just not worth it. The mobile clients *still* don't have any way of marking SPAM.
  • Reply 11 of 45
    Of course Apple's iCloud is just MobileMe but isn't MobileMe a good offering; and now, MobileMe or iCloud as Apple's Internet software and services are now known. Perhaps the best new feature is the cost, iCloud is free. Apple now not only has a competitive "cloud" offering but has a better value proposition.



    Apps

    Backup (of iOS devices)

    Bookmarks

    Calendars

    Contacts

    Documents & Data

    Find my Friends

    Find my Phone

    Music

    Photo Stream

    TV Shows



    The only aspect of iCloud you can't manage is Photo Stream although you can temporarily deactivate Photo Stream on your device if you are about to photograph something you don't want on Photo Stream.



    The ability to re-download Apps, music or TV shows on demand is quite powerful as this means even a 8 GB iPhone has an effectively unlimited storage option (for certain types of media) that doesn't require the user to fiddle with removable storage media.



    I actually preferred MobileMe Gallery and iDisk over iCloud Photo Stream and Documents & Data although I understand why Apple believes iCloud automatic synchronization is superior for most users.
  • Reply 12 of 45
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by libertyforall View Post


    Such as... 1984 big government mandated cloud snooping (read as fishing expeditions), in the name of "security", of course.



    Meanwhile what is left of liberty? I am leery of iCloud for these reasons...



    For the record:



    1) The snooping you are talking about can only be stopped if you vote out the fascists that changed the law in the first place. It's nothing to do with the service, it's the government itself.



    2) Also, all online services of any description have this same problem.



    3) Out of all the online services available *only* Apple's provides you with some modicum of privacy. All the rest are far worse.
  • Reply 13 of 45
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post


    In all fairness "usefulness" is subjective.



    For instance I find the whole idea of iTunes match as well as Photostream completely useless. They are what I would call "low end" consumer features that anyone who actually knows how to use a computer would find more of a hinderance than a help.



    I'm sure on the other hand that lots of folks just love them.



    What I'd like to see is for Apple to get the basic service running a bit more efficiently. I'm a big time Apple supporter and a user of .Mac, MobileMe, and now iCloud since the first day they were available, yet if I am honest the service is actually *worse* with each iteration.



    I'm not sure if it's just volume, but iCloud mail is painfully slow and has had several outages a week since it debuted. MobileMe mail was slow but not this bad, .Mac mail was actually kind of snappy.



    What's really insulting also is that stupid page that tells you everything is fine or that only some fraction of a percent of users had "some problems" recently, when in fact the system can be totally broken for long periods of time and this isn't reflected in the status page.



    It's really total garbage for me so far. Very, very unreliable. I'm patiently waiting for them to fix it and probably won't leave even if they don't, but I'm seriously thinking of switching to another provider for my main email address.



    It would also help if they provided some way of controlling SPAM which is way out of control. There is no way the user can actually designate SPAM except through the webmail interface which is so painful it's just not worth it. The mobile clients *still* don't have any way of marking SPAM.



    You can "move" email to the Junk folders in your email accounts as long as the account makes the junk folder available (IMAP or Active Sync accounts like iCloud or Exchange, respectively). You have an excellent thought about the ability to mark "junk" mail on iPhone though, if possible, marking as junk as simply as marking read is preferable. Please make a enhancement request, I already have.



    http://www.apple.com/feedback/iphone.html
  • Reply 14 of 45
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post


    In all fairness "usefulness" is subjective.



    For instance I find the whole idea of iTunes match as well as Photostream completely useless. They are what I would call "low end" consumer features that anyone who actually knows how to use a computer would find more of a hinderance than a help.



    I'm sure on the other hand that lots of folks just love them.



    What I'd like to see is for Apple to get the basic service running a bit more efficiently. I'm a big time Apple supporter and a user of .Mac, MobileMe, and now iCloud since the first day they were available, yet if I am honest the service is actually *worse* with each iteration.



    I'm not sure if it's just volume, but iCloud mail is painfully slow and has had several outages a week since it debuted. MobileMe mail was slow but not this bad, .Mac mail was actually kind of snappy.



    What's really insulting also is that stupid page that tells you everything is fine or that only some fraction of a percent of users had "some problems" recently, when in fact the system can be totally broken for long periods of time and this isn't reflected in the status page.



    It's really total garbage for me so far. Very, very unreliable. I'm patiently waiting for them to fix it and probably won't leave even if they don't, but I'm seriously thinking of switching to another provider for my main email address.



    It would also help if they provided some way of controlling SPAM which is way out of control. There is no way the user can actually designate SPAM except through the webmail interface which is so painful it's just not worth it. The mobile clients *still* don't have any way of marking SPAM.



    I approve of your totally subjective explication of "usefulness."



    What a disaster. Just for you. And for me.
  • Reply 15 of 45
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MacBook Pro View Post


    ..... if possible, marking as junk as simply as marking read is preferable. Please make a enhancement request, I already have.



    After so many decades of fussing around with this stuff (and what other email systems have done forever), this is the kind of thing that needs an "enhancement request"?



    Groan. Apple should fire the whole lot and start over.
  • Reply 16 of 45
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MacBook Pro View Post


    The ability to re-download Apps, music or TV shows on demand is quite powerful as this means even a 8 GB iPhone has an effectively unlimited storage option (for certain types of media) that doesn't require the user to fiddle with removable storage media.




    This is the main point...with iCloud, Apple is circumventing the need for larger storage in each device...therefore the devices can be made smaller and be less expensive. Gone are the days where I need all my movies on my iPad2, just like I don't need my entire music library on my iPhone 4. In fact, I don't need a large desktop (iMac, read: Truck!). I don't need an ATV with a large HD, I don't need a heavy macbookpro where an MBA will suffice, etc., etc.



    All one needs is iCloud, ip4s, ipad2, an MBA (perhaps a large monitor, KB, TP) and an ATV. One can have all this for substantially less than an iMac and a MacBookpro!



    P.S. The MBA needs 3G!
  • Reply 17 of 45
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,268member
    I think this is perhaps a bit of hyperbole.



    The Cloud is nothing more than a rebranding of network services to make it understandable for end users who glaze over the minute servers are mentioned.



    A Cloud cannot much more than a networked group of storage so I'd take issue with the Cloud suddenly becoming the arbiter of new devices. Whatever it brings to the table isn't going to be something that didn't exist in a normal networked environment.



    What the cloud does is move your digital lifestyle hub up the chain. So now you're looking down from 50 thousand feet instead of your home Macs 50 foot view.



    Access going to determine the next products. Being able to access network resources in more places will fuel new products and the Cloud is going to be central to this explosion but not because it's intrinsically unique but because it's easy to access as a network resource.
  • Reply 18 of 45
    I am not going to complain. I find iCloud really useful to me. it synchs all my bookmarks and reading list across all my apple devices. my pics goes directly to iPhoto and aperture. what more could i ask for? it's not perfect, but very useful to keep everything synched.
  • Reply 19 of 45
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by therealestmc View Post


    I am not going to complain. I find iCloud really useful to me. it synchs all my bookmarks and reading list across all my apple devices. my pics goes directly to iPhoto and aperture. what more could i ask for? it's not perfect, but very useful to keep everything synched.



    Well said! I agree.
  • Reply 20 of 45
    I think that we should think of iCloud as just another Apple "X" software update.



    When Apple released QuickTime X, it was much more user-friendly to do a bunch of tasks, but the application itself was picked bare of some of its staple features with no replacement forthcoming or left available.



    Cut to the death of MobileMe.



    iCloud is to MobileMe what QuickTime X was to QuickTime 7 Pro.



    We're missing key features and there's no way to get those unless you've kept QuickTime 7 Pro from a pre-Lion install. Like the equivalent of iDisk, for example. And keychain syncing.



    But QuickTime X in Lion has added features that QuickTime has never had, like the ability to save audio-only files (I MEAN SERIOUSLY, APPLE. HOW WAS THIS SO HARD? I extract an audio track from something in QuickTime 7 and go to save it as an AAC file. NOPE, .MOV).



    And iCloud has added features that MobileMe never had. And I'm sure Apple will only add more.
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