Apple still fails at cloud computing

I’ve been saying for years now that, for as much as I like most Apple products, they simply don’t seem to get cloud computing. Their poor track record is proof positive but, even now, each time they revise their approach I look at it and think, “Eh. STILL not doing it right.”

d02738085fddc0cf3a6ef5f4cf397c00Case in point: in my ever-ongoing quest to get more of my digital media life in to the amazing Plex media system, I recently signed up for iTunes Match so I could liberate the last of my music collection (namely those CDs that were purchased before Apple finally ditched copy protection) for playback using other, non-Apple software (like Plex).

While that all went fine, I then took a look at my iPhone and saw that, as expected, my entire music collection was now visible via iTunes Match. I thought, “Huh. Maybe they’ve figured it out!” Of, course – I was wrong. Selecting a song from my collection proceeded to DOWNLOAD the song for playback.

Argh! Apple – it’s the 21st century – I don’t WANT to be cluttering up my storage with one-off MP3s – just stream it to me! I thought there might be a setting to change this but, nope – no such luck.

Now, I’ll admit, I still have AT&T unlimited data from my early adoption of the iPhone and I’ve come to realize that some of my philosophy is based around this – I always buy the device with the lowest storage capacity because I want to stream everything I can and don’t care about the bandwidth. I realize that most people don’t have this and loading up the phone is a workaround for that.

But Apple should at least give us the option.

Cloud-based file storage services: a quick overview

A user recently asked me for a suggestion on an FTP service so he can deliver large video files to clients. This sent me on a quick research jag into the major cloud-based file service players.

Keep in mind that the target audience here is an individual user, servicing external clients…

Box DropBox SkyDrive
Storage Capacity (free) 5 GB 2 GB 25 GB
Storage Capacity (paid) $20/month for 50 GB $10/month for 50 GB n/a
File Upload Size Limit 1 GB no limit (2 GB when uploading via web) 100 MB

Just based on this information alone, Dropbox is the obvious answer. Add to that the fact that Dropbox features unparalleled integration on both desktop and mobile devices and it’s the clear winner here.

P.S. – The super cheapskate can find way to extend the available capacity of a free Dropbox account to 20+ GB by doing things like maxxing out referrals and taking advantage of frequently-announced special offers.