I’m sure you already read that Apple introduced iCloud, the successor to MobileMe and their new web platform. Here at .Me we love web apps like Resu.me and TinyPay and that’s why you have to remember that iCloud isn’t Apple’s way of entering the web application market, but actually a measure of ensuring the future of their own ecosystem. Apple doesn’t want to make web apps, they want their developers to make more money creating apps for the iPhone, iPad and Mac. Why? Read on…
You might be asking yourself: Wait a minute, iCloud introduces a better calendar, more feature and even a Dropbox-like storage and backup system for your iOS device. While that may be true, have you noticed that there are no mentions or screenshots of iCloud’s web interface on Apple’s official website. Just an iPhone, iPad and MacBook Air, the devices that Apple really wants you to use.
Forget the browser!
Few would argue that native applications don’t give you a better user experience – there are even apps like Fluid and Prism that try to turn your web apps into native ones. On the other hand, web apps have numerous advantages and that’s why we use them all the time: the most important ones being available on any device with an Internet connection and having your data saved in the “cloud”.
Now look at iCloud. Now back to me. iCloud. Back to me. Apple emphasizes two things about iCloud:
- Store your music, photos, apps and everything else on it;
- Wirelessly push all the content to all your devices.
I don’t see “use in your “browser” mentioned anywhere, just that you can have “your documents on all your devices“. Why is that? Well, Apple understands something that even “true” Apple fans admit: they don’t know how to create a good web application. MobileMe didn’t have a webmail application that could beat Gmail and iDisk certainly couldn’t beat Dropbox.
Apple, for some reason, just doesn’t work well in an environment where the user experience of their product depends on numerous browser, web standards and user preferences. Apple knows best, but not on the web. Just look at MobileMe’s interface, why do you think it mimics a desktop experience?
There’s even a more important reason why Apple doesn’t want to play by Google’s (they know how to make web apps obviously) rules. By creating web applications they would be teaching their users to try them out, maybe even encourage them to ditch local apps on the Mac and iOS devices for web alternatives.
Just follow the money
Now lets remember where Apple makes their money and why they paid over $2.5 billion to developers… Revenue for mobile app markets is on the rise. Apple wants their users to buy apps that have the advantages of web apps. Buy an iPhone, iPad and Mac and have all your apps accessible on all your devices and backed up – thanks to iCloud. A web platform, but not a web app. Brilliant move, Steve. What do you think about iCloud?