I try to like it. Honestly I do. But I just can’t. It’s so amazingly meh that I don’t really even know what to think about it. Dropbox is far easier and better at storing/syncing files and integrates into everything, including my refrigerator and golf bag. Gmail and our Exchange server already have calendaring, contact management, and that kind of stuff, so what unique thing is iCloud offering me really? I have come up with just one answer: 5GB per user for free. Now, that may sound silly, but at least it’s something. There’s a gotcha here though, and that is that it’s per-user. If that user has 4 devices, those 4 devices all tie into and share that same 5GB account under that user’s Apple user ID. It’s not hard to blast past that 5GB with 1 device, much less 4 devices. Pay for more storage? Sure you can! ... but again, for what exactly? The bang-for-buck just isn’t adding up for me.
Make fun of me if you like, but I’ll tell you what I do instead.
I have a 10TB NAS at home - not all that expensive really. It’s RAID5, and it’s backed up every night by another small RAID0 4TB NAS (cheap-as-dirt). When the iPhones and iPads start to get full, I dump all of the stored content to the person’s NAS folder and let them start over again. What you say? Yep, that’s right, dump it all and start over about once every 1-2 months. What a PITA, eh? There has to be a better way. Is there an App for that?
I just snagged a Synology DS1512+ NAS that has a new feature that I’m about to check out called Cloud Station. I’ll let you know how it goes. Don’t know if it’ll work with iOS devices yet ... unlikely says my gut.
Maybe it would be cool to have a special Captive Web Portal (CWP) page where you could push a button and magically all of this flash-sucking data could be moved from your mobile device to wherever you would like it to go within your folder on the NAS. Dreaming, I know. Bummer.
Something I constantly have to deal with is the weird sync issues that can be caused if you turn on sync’ing with Gmail, iCloud, and the Corp Exchange server. Stuff goes round and round, and contacts get lost. Not sweet. It’s like a routing loop. Only one sync service should ever be used at a time, and for me, that’s Gmail because it’s compatible with everything .... just like Dropbox is integrated into everything. iCloud has a nice level of polish, but needs more differentiation. Maybe if Apple just bought Dropbox or something ... maybe that would help. I totally don’t mind dropping $100/year on Dropbox because it’s integrated into everything extremely well ... and it’s uber-simple and clean.
What would help me like it a little more might also be if iCloud would pull my mail directly from Exchange so I don’t have to deal with Apple Mail / Exchange incompatibilities. Apple could deal with that crap on the back-end. I get really tired of the Microsoft/Apple issues. Hey, at least the calendar works ...