iCloud’s OS Integration Illustrates The Future Of Personal Cloud Services

iCloud’s OS Integration Illustrates The Future Of Personal Cloud Services

Widespread personal cloud adoption rests on iCloud-like mobile and desktop OS integration

Cloud storage accounts for just 7% of our digital content according to Gartner the industry research firm. Given the ubiquity of cloud services and their ability to sync personal data, photos, documents, and just about everything else with our iPhone, iPads, Mac, PCs, and other devices, that number may sound a bit small. After all, the range of content that iCloud is capable of syncing in Lion and iOS 5 isn’t exactly minor.

Gartner also predicts that the percentage of the average user’s digital property will grow to more than five times that by 2016. At that point, the firm sees most users store more that a third (36%) of their digital content in various clouds. That news isn’t exactly surprising for Apple customers. Apple is making a major push for seamless iCloud integration in Mountain Lion and iOS 6. That said, the firm’s report digital storage does have a few surprises in it. In some ways the report shows that Apple is leading rather than following the personal cloud industry.

  • Social networks are more likely to be a repository for personal photos and videos than traditional cloud services that focus primarily on storage
  • The average need for personal storage from 464 gigabytes in 2011 to 3.3 terabytes in 2016
  • A shortage in supply of hard drive as a following floods in Thailand is seen as having already increased the adoption and use of cloud storage as a whole

Analyst Shalini Verma notes that the adoption of cloud storage will grow as cloud services become integrated with local storage rather than replacing them wholesale. That model will most likely eventually lead to more direct-to-cloud storage down the road.

Local storage will become further integrated with home networking, presenting opportunities for local storage providers to partner with home networking and automation service providers. Cloud storage will grow with the emergence of the personal cloud, which in turn will simplify the direct-to-cloud model, allowing users to directly store user-generated content in the cloud.

Apple’s implementation of iCloud in Mountain Lion certainly follows that trajectory of integration. Apple is certainly pushing to make iCloud as seamless to users as local storage. In fact, one could argue that Apple’s push to build intuitive and seamless cloud storage in iOS and OS X beginning with MobileMe in 2008 and going significantly further last year with iCloud has provided an example of what cloud solutions are capable of delivering. Mountain Lion and iOS 6 are simply further extensions of that concept.

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  • aepxc

    With iCloud, Apple shows that it gets something that most cloud companies do not (though there are notable exceptions – e.g. Dropbox) – the focus will not be cloud services or cloud storage, but cloud mirroring and cloud synchronisation. Moore’s Law makes this inevitable – processing power and storage capacity will be too cheap for us to abandon the great safety and flexibility benefits of large-scale redundancy.

About the author

Ryan FaasRyan Faas is a technology journalist and consultant living in upstate New York who has written extensively about Apple, business and enterprise IT, and the mobile industry. In addition to writing for Cult of Mac, he is a contributor to Computerworld, InformIT, and Peachpit Press. In a previous existence he was a healthcare IT director as well as a systems and network administrator. Follow Ryan on Twitter and Google +

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