Thursday, February 23, 2012
As cloud computing services trickle down from enterprise IT departments into the consumer market, Apple's iCloud service continues to attract attention. While the company's brand appeal cannot be denied, experts insist that there are a number of alternative online backup and file syncing solutions that may be more refined.
One of iCloud's distinguishing features is the ability to integrate content across Apple devices, allowing customers to sync files directly from their MacBooks to their iPhones and iPads. While this does present the company's fiercely loyal fans with a way to keep all of their calendars, contacts and data centrally organized, the underlying concepts may not be as revolutionary as some believe.
"Apple isn't the first to offer such cloud-based functionality," tech columnist Vincent Chang wrote in a recent CNET report. "It may seem like more hassle, but you're likely to end up with more storage space with third-party services. They also work on more devices and platforms."
Additionally, Apple's relatively recent entrance into the cloud computing space has not been without controversy. The company encountered difficulty navigating early cloud security hurdles, and its recent track record of data privacy has been alarming at times.
Earlier this month it was discovered that several applications were granted full access to the address books of unsuspecting iPhone owners. Congressional leaders have called for a detailed debrief of the company's developer policies to be submitted by the end of the month, and Apple has had to move quickly to right its wrongs. Similarly surreptitious data collection tactics have already gained Google a probationary sentence from the Federal Trade Commission, and continuing controversies have reinforced lingering cloud security doubts in the minds of many.
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