Apple Must Make iCloud Affordable, Versatile

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2011-05-31 Print this article Print


5. Ease of use means everything

The main reason iTunes has been so successful over the years has been its ease of use. People can boot up the software on their desktops or mobile devices and quickly access all the content they want. In order for iCloud to be successful, it needs to feature the same level of intuitive design as iTunes. In fact, it would be nice if it offered a similar layout when users access the service.

6. Consumer education

The biggest issue standing in the way of iCloud is that it will be operating in a market that consumers are unfamiliar with. Yes, cloud-based services have been around for quite some time, but none of them has caught on with the mainstream; most folks are still content to use desktop-based alternatives. In order for iCloud to be a hit, Apple CEO Steve Jobs will need to effectively outline how it works, and why consumers should use it.

7. An affordable monthly fee

Some say Apple might offer access to iCloud at no charge, but considering the iPhone maker has reportedly entered into licensing arrangements with record labels, that sounds rather improbable. Apple will try to price iCloud with a monthly fee. But since Apple's competitors offer free services, the company will have no choice but to price iCloud affordably. Consumers might not be happy to pay a monthly fee, but if it costs just $10 or $20 a month, Apple shouldn't have much trouble attracting users.

8. Documents too?

Though much of the focus on iCloud revolves around entertainment, it would be nice to see Apple also offer online document storage. Google currently offers its Docs platform, which includes both a productivity suite and the ability for users to upload documents to store online. Apple likely won't deliver a full productivity suite in iCloud, but document storage would be a welcome addition.

9. A clear differentiation against Google Music

At the I/O Conference in May, Google unveiled a new service called Music Beta by Google. The offering allows users to upload their music to the cloud and play those tracks on their computer or Android-based devices. It's currently only open to those who have an invitation and it likely won't be as robust of a service as iCloud. Apple will need to make that fact clear, especially if it charges for access to its own cloud-based offering. Google Music is currently free and will deliver the same basic functionality as iCloud, sans licensed tracks. What can Apple do to make the differentiation between the platforms easy for customers to see? It will need to figure that out if it wants iCloud to be a success.

10. A value proposition over other top competitors

Though most people point to Amazon and Google as iCloud's top competitors, it's important to note that every other online-streaming service, including Pandora, Rhapsody and, if it supports movies, Netflix, is a competitor, as well. After all, all those companies allow users to stream content over the Web to their computers or mobile devices. Apple is moving into an increasingly crowded space with many entrenched competitors. If iCloud is to be successful, Apple will need to prove why users should opt for its offering over any other.

Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at

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