Apple

8th June 2011

The Financial Times (Paywall) says that Apple's iCloud suite of services, as well as new apps such as iMessage and improvements to its Safari web browser, will bring it into competition with companies large and small, from Google's online office suite, Docs, and Research in Motion's BlackBerry Messenger app, down to start-ups such as Dropbox, an internet-storage service, and Instapaper, which allows users to save long web articles for later offline reading in a clean, text-only format.

According to the Independent, Apple's much-hyped launch of its iCloud digital storage service has potentially profound consequences for business. "No one (with the possible exception of Steve Jobs, Apple's chief executive and a maestro of hyperbole) would claim that iCloud is a revolution in itself, but it might just be the moment that defines a revolution," the report says.

"With Apple, it's not about being first to market; it's about being better," said Mark Moscowitz, a technology analyst at JPMorgan Chase says in the report. "The company's mantra is to be the first to provide and sustain enhanced, user-friendly experiences. Apple achieved this successful differentiation with the iPod, iTunes, iPhone, and iPad. Apple entered each market after other vendors, but created a better user experience."

A report in the Guardian says technology analysts believe iCloud puts Apple at ahead of its rivals, and is likely to encourage even bigger take-up of Apple devices. Cloud-based consumer data services might not be new, but the iCloud service Apple announced last night marks a major step towards the mainstream.

Returning from sick leave, chief executive Steve Jobs made the most significant statement of the night, reports the Guardian: "We're going to demote the PC and the Mac to just be a device – just like an iPad, an iPhone or an iPod Touch. We're going to move the hub of your digital life to the cloud."

Veteran Apple commentator John Gruber said in the Guardian that "demotion" of the Mac will come to define a new era for Apple. "iCloud will shape the next 10 years the way the iTunes-on-your-Mac/PC digital hub shaped the last 10," he wrote. "This is a fundamentally different vision for the coming decade than Google's. In both cases, your data is in the cloud, and you can access it from anywhere with a network connection. But Google's vision is about software you run in a web browser. Apple's is about native apps you run on devices. Apple is as committed to native apps – on the desktop, tablet, and handheld – as it has ever been."

Dropbox in particular has been singled out by commentators as being among the casualties as a result of the iCloud launch, the Financial Times (Paywall) says, as its capabilities for synchronising documents across several devices over the internet will be mimicked by iCloud. It says: "Dropbox is free for casual users but charges up to $19.99 a month for extra storage. It adds that others said that iCloud's limitation to Apple products left scope for Dropbox to thrive in a world where Macs and iPhones are outsold by Windows PCs and Android smartphones."

Improvements to the iPhone's camera software included several features found in independent applications, including using the volume button to take a photograph – something Camera+ was blocked from the App Store for attempting. As reported in the Financial Times (paywall), Tap Tap Tap, makers of Camera+, tweeted sarcastically: "Volume button to snap a pic … What an awesome idea, Apple!"

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