The Information has written a report on the fact that organizational challenges are at the heart of iCloud’s below average record:
Apple is great at building hardware and software that runs on it. But it has long struggled to build services reliant on software that runs remotely rather than on devices. While company executives say they are making progress, interviews with nearly a dozen current and former Apple employees paint a different picture.
Deep organizational issues are holding up releases and complicating products.
I’ve been an advocate, and most important a user of Apple online services (note that I don’t use the word cloud, as when I started using them, they were still referred as services) since iTools.
Despite the lack of flashy features, I’ve never had any problems with Apple’s online services. I’ve never lost any data, and to this day my old .Mac email address is impeccably spam free.
One thing is certain though. iCloud, as MobileMe, .Mac and iTools before, are not services designed for power users. They cover the basics for the average Apple user. Convenience over power, shall we say.
Yet lately something surprising happened. Even services that were meant designed for the average user (it just works) stopped working properly.
- Changing the iCloud password takes you to an endless labyrinth of lost permissions, password retyping etc.
- iMessage has problems reactivating when changing the iCloud password
- iPhoto Library (beta) can’t even be activated on many devices/iCloud accounts. Fair enough it’s a beta, but at least you should be able to activate it.
- iTunes Match is in shambles, and I’ve used it since day zero.
- iCloud document sync is not at par with services like Dropbox. I’ve had problems with apps hanging or unable to upload/download large sets of documents
- Trying to share across devices some PDF files is an herculean technical challenge.
- Continuity works, 75% of the time. For a feature which is constantly advertised that is not a good percentage.
- Maps is still a joke.
- FaceTime lately has worse video quality than Skype.
- iCloud Drive’s implementation suffers from the initial decision to sandbox apps and their data.
The result is that I’ve re-subscribed to Dropbox and I’m seriously thinking of getting an Evernote Premium subscription (yes sorry, I’ve been critical towards Evernote lately…) to store my notes.
I am not sure if organizational issues are the real cause here. Maybe so, but maybe there’s something more serious going on. Something that involves strategy and roadmaps.
I am really afraid that the silly yearly OS X / iOS release cycles, and new products like the Apple Watch are diverting important resources to core services.