iPads, iPhones, and the cloud

Apple's slow shift to cut the cord between its mobile devices and the PC

Apple calls its iPad a "post-PC" device. Yet it's dependent for syncing information on a connection to either a Mac or a PC running iTunes.

John Gruber at Daring Fireball has some interesting preliminary ideas about what Apple is doing, or not doing, about the cloud and iOS devices, and why. Most rival products, he says, have at least somewhat more advanced cloud features.

Picking up on a piece by Macworld's Chad Olson, Gruber notes that iOS devices today rely on the iTunes-Mac/PC link for 4 functions:

- moving stuff into the device

- updating iOs

- backing up and restoring the device

- device activation

So, he says, Apple would have to provide alternative solutions for each of these tasks. The exception is Apple TV 2, Gruber notes, which only streams content, but doesn't store anything. It can activate itself, and update the OS.

His conclusion: Apple probably will phase in cloud functions starting with device activation and OS updates. But he doesn't think that backups and media syncing -- at least over cellular networks -- will be available anytime soon. Even with Wi-Fi, it can take hours to download a HD movie, he notes.

Check out Gruber's full post. If you're an enterprise with an iOS deployment, how important is a connection to the cloud for your iOS devices? How does Apple's current configuration help or hinder what you want to do?

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