We use iPads within our organization and the use is growing. This starts to present IT support concerns, especially when major iOS updates like iOS 5 come out.
iCloud is touted as being a great answer to several issues because it allows you to backup devices over the Internet. I agree that this is a great idea for consumers and potentially for enterprises, but at the moment it doesn’t live up to the desire initially.
Doesn’t Work for the Enterprise Yet
Unfortunately iCloud really doesn’t seem to be a solution for enterprise.
iCloud might work for carts if:
• It wasn’t limited to 10 devices (Apple doesn’t intend this for enterprise use? Not even a single cart?)
• It could back up a single image to the cloud, that could be restored to any number of devices, such as 30 devices in a cart. No sense in backing up numerous duplicate images.
• Restores could be done in batch without having to start it from each iPad individually (now we’re back to using iTunes on the cart)
Doesn’t Work for the Average Consumer Yet
Regarding both the enterprise and consumer points of view iCloud’s initial 5GB may seem generous compared to other cloud offerings that typically only give 2GB, but for a standard iPad that holds 16GB the initial 5GB gets filled quickly. Worse yet it gets filled without any real knowledge of what’s going on. With Dropbox and others I am quite aware when I put large files into it. With my iPad I may download a few apps, take a few videos, and suddenly my iCloud storage is out of space when I had a gig available yesterday.
It gets worse when our users are backing their phone and iPad to the same iCloud account. Quite quickly they are subjected to needing to upgrade their iCloud storage. $100 a year (for one iPhone and one iPad) is pretty hefty.
Not to say that Apple’s pricing isn’t in line with other similar cloud storage vendors, it just doesn’t seem to translate well to “iDevices”.
Works for the 1% (Occasional Low-End User)
The iPad is great for my grandparents, who currently have a WebTV. They get around the Internet great but I don’t want to give them a computer that you have to update, keep the latest codecs, prone to failure, etc.). An iPad would be a great fit.
They probably won’t be power users, will play with occasional apps and would get a great kick out of sharing a photostream or using FaceTime. I think they would easily fit into the 5GB iCloud capacity and take great advantage of updating to future OS versions over the air. Right now I think this is the best target market for iCloud. Unfortunately it’s a very small target market.
I hope that Apple will address these issues in some way in the next few “versions” of their iCloud support. I have no doubt that they can and will. As the next couple of years go by cloud vendors will offer more and more space and lower prices and interoperability with more devices.