About Apple’s new iCloud service, and its impact on business

Cloud services have been a hot topic in recent years – companies are moving further and further into the cloud, while consumers seem a bit slower to adopt.

Apple’s new iCloud services is poised to bring consumers (and small business owners) radically forward with a highly integrated cloud offering designed to keep all of your technology in sync at all times.

What iCloud does:

In the past, if you had a laptop, desktop, smart phone and a tablet computer, they all had their own data and none shared very well with each other.  Your smart phone might sync with one of your computers, but that leaves the other two computers “in the dark”.  Multimedia like music and pictures are very rarely common across all computers.  In short, it was pretty hard to keep all of your data straight, and very inconvenient to keep everything in line with each other.

iCloud seeks to change that by keeping all devices in sync with one another at all times.

How iCloud works:

For small business owners, iCloud keeps your calendar completely updated across all devices, in real time.  Your emails and business documents are also automatically updated, so you can always be sure that you’re working from completely up-to-date information.

For consumers, your multimedia (like music, books and pictures) are also kept up-to-date across all of your devices.

Advanced iCloud features:

In addition to keeping all of your devices in sync, iCloud also offers special add-ons designed to keep your family and close friends “in the loop” at all times.

One such feature is the “Find My Friends” feature.  “Find My Friends” allows your friends to see where your iPhone is on a map at any time.  This option can be extended to your friends or family for a limited time – say, a day while you’re on the ski hills or in the shopping mall, or for a longer period, in case you’d like your friends to know where they can meet you for drinks!

Another handy feature is the “Find my iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch or Mac”.  This is very much like it sounds – it allows you the ability to see exactly where your device is.  Accidentally left your iPhone somewhere, but not sure exactly where?  Just bring up this iCloud feature on your Mac, and you can see exactly where your iPhone is, on a map, in realtime.

You can even have your iPhone display a message to someone who finds it, so they can return it to you!

In Conclusion:

The iCloud service changes the way that devices interact with each other for the better.  Rather than having many devices that are independent from one another, iCloud makes transitioning between them completely seamless.

What’s new in Apple’s iOS 5 – Part Two

Here we continue our look at Apple’s iOS 5:

  • Revamped Safari and Mail: Despite mobile devices becoming more and more important, web developers still target designs towards desktop users.  The iOS version of Safari now allows people to re-arrange websites, turn off ads, and focus on the most relevant areas for a more user-friendly experience.  The mail app has also been revamped to bring it in-line with a desktop mail client.  It offers rich text formatting, email address dragging, and the ability to flag messages.
  • Revisions to the camera: iPhone users previously would have to go through their lock screen and bring up their camera before they could take a picture – meaning that they often completely missed the boat on a candid moment!  With the new iOS 5, there will be a shortcut to the camera from the lock screen, so candid moments won’t be missed!
  • iMessage: Taking a cue for BlackBerry’s BBM, iMessage allows iOS users to send text and multimedia messages to each other at no additional cost.  iMessage conversations can be continued no matter what device the customer is using, so if someone starts a chat on an iPad and them goes mobile with their iPhone, the conversation will be uninterrupted.
  • Newsstand: Newsstand is a new app for iOS.  It’s similar to iBook or iTunes, which allows you to download books and songs automatically, however Newsstand is geared specifically towards newspapers and magazines.

As always, we will keep an eye on these new technologies and keep you informed as they progress!

What’s new in Apple’s iOS 5 – Part One

iOS 5 is Apple’s latest version of their mobile operating system, designed for use with their iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. Announced in early June 2011, it brings a host of new features designed to enrich the user’s experience.

What’s most interesting about this version of iOS is its movement towards allowing the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch to exist without the need for a desktop or laptop to sync to.

iOS 5 updates the device automatically and all applications can work without a “home” computer. It’s another step in the direction of total autonomy, particularly for the iPad.

Other new features of iOS 5:

  • Revised notifications: Any iPhone or iPad user can tell you that the system notifications can be pretty annoying.  They pop up and interrupt whatever you’re doing, no matter how important the message is.  Apple has heard this feedback, and have revamped this area in iOS 5.  Notifications are now unobtrusive and will be displayed on the lock screen

Check back next week for part 2 of our look at Apple’s iOS 5.