Apple Wants to Gobble Up Your Memories in iCloud

Apple's movement away from iPhoto and Aperture suggests that the company wants to restructure your life. Keeping your own photos organized and backed up, with selected images posted to photo services, is declared obsolete. But is iCloud the right place for all your photos?


The theme article for this week is by Charlie Sorrel at Cult of Mac "Picture-perfect strategy: Why killing Aperture means Apple will rule the cloud." The author starts with the notion that what's coming is "a fundamental shift in the way we manage our photos." The next quote deserves greater emphasis:

With ... Apple’s Photos apps, your library is in the cloud. That is, you don’t just have an out-of-date copy of your pictures sitting on a server somewhere. Instead, you can access, edit and organize those pictures from pretty much any device. This is a fundamental shift. You no longer need to worry about which version of your photo you have on which device, because there is only one version, and it’s everywhere.

I can't say that this is a bad idea technically. First, thanks to our iPhones, we tend to accumulate orders of magnitude more photos than we did just a few years ago with DSLRs. Second, iPhoto's architecture was sagging under the weight of all those photos. Finally, we tend to be more social with our photos than in the past when only selected photos were deemed good enough to share. (Oh, those dreaded vacation slide shows!)

Still, I have an uneasy feeling about this idea that all our photos should be stored in a cloud, even if Apple has great security. Also, Internet access, while generally reliable and intrinsic to our Macs and iOS devices, can be disrupted. I think people should take personal responsibility for storing their photos and having them at their fingertips. And then there's the idea that you have to pay to access that storage if it gets too large.

Finally, while we don't know a lot about Apple's Photos app yet, my colleague Bryan Chaffin suggests that professional photographers won't stand for depending on iCloud to access and manage their copyrighted work, work on which their livelihood depends.

Apple is a huge company now. It likes to build solutions for the masses. For most of its customers, this idea that the cloud should be the primary archive for tens of thousands of photos looks attractive because it's oh-so easy. However, I suspect that there will be broad pockets of people who will have none of it. Plus, it creates a cottage industry for developers who can and will cater to people who have a different philosophy about how they want to manage their photos, indeed all their storage.

As always, even with Apple, we must always have our own vision of how we want to manage our computing life. Apple has the answer for many, but not everyone.

Next: the tech news debris for the Week of June 30

The Tech News Debris for the Week of June 30


It was a slow news week because many people are on vacation. So we're going a day early, and I still found some juicy morsels for you. Here we go...

One of the acknowledged reasons customers have been resistant to embrace Windows 8 is the loss of the (infamous) Start Menu. In an era that struggles to make complex technolog intuitive and usable, Microsoft customers took particular comfort in the recognizable and easy to use Start Menu as an anchor for their relationship to the PC. When it disappeared in Windows 8, for the sake of commonality with the tablet interface, customers rebelled. Big Time.

Those with an interest will be happy to learn that, according to Business Insider, "Windows 9 'Threshold' Will Bring Back The Default Start Menu." Windows 9 is expected to ship in the spring of 2015, according to the article, but considering the sales disaster for Windows 8 and the continuing demand for Windows 7-based PCs, I wouldn't be surprised to see the schedule accelerated.

HP website. Note comment about popularity of Windows 7.

For those (including me) who speculated that Apple may wish to deliver its own branded TV set (for various reasons), one question was, which display technology would Apple select? Plasma displays are still considered technically superior to any shipping alternative, but not enough customers saw it that way. And so, perhaps, it was inevitable that manufacturers would see the handwriting on the wall: "Plasma TV is dead: Samsung to end production later this year."

Google has been under fire lately for having no clear vison of what the company is all about and where it wants to go. In part, that's because they've been compared to Apple and found wanting. Now, after Google's I/O conference, the company may be formulating a better picture of it all.

Mark Wilson with FastCompany sat down with Matias Duarte and Jon Wiley, "the Google design leads for Android and Search, respectively" to talk about Google's new initiative called Material Design. It all starts with a delightfully creepy title: "Google Is About To Take Over Your Whole Life, And You Won't Even Notice." It's an interesting read that's chock full of signposts for the future.

Where Apple leads, Microsoft follows. "Microsoft Aims To Take On iPad In Health Care." I hardly need to comment except to suggest that Microsoft is dreaming if it thinks that forays into medicine will be the salvation of the Surface Pro.

Last week, there was an enormous amount of discussion of Facebook's Orwellian experiment on its own customers. I liked Bryan Chaffin's commentary best: "Facebook Makes It Clear Users Are Playthings."

The funny thing is, all this was foreseen back in 2007. I saw a tweet that reminded me that nothing has really changed with Facebook. Dan Lyons, writing then as the Fake Steve Jobs, summed up Facebook in one giant thunderbolt of insight. "Faceberg: We’re sorry. Really. Okay, not really."

Finally, it always seems to me that Apple's own internal insights about how to conduct business are mostly seen through a glass darkly. Apple executives don't wear their intentions on their sleeves, and external analysis is often limited to the crudest of comparisons to other companies, by vague example.

So when I run across a piece like the next one, it makes me think about how Apple not only thinks deeply about how it can solve specific consumer problems, but it also thinks about, given its own position in the marketplace, how it can use its capabilities to better succeed in current markets in a fundamental way.

By that, I mean that Apple looks at its own strengths in manufacturing, distribution and brand to embrace and extend already existing markets in order to build a broader ecosystem. The advantage of that strategy is that Apple builds a larger revenue stream based on what it has rather than experimenting with flash-in-the-pan experimental products.

I hope I explained that sufficiently, but you can get all the details in this insightful analysis (that I previously overlooked) by Jan Dawson: "Apple is doubling down on mature markets."


Particle Debris is a generally a mix of John Martellaro's observations and opinions about a standout event or article of the week (preamble on page 1) followed by a discussion of articles that didn't make the TMO headlines, the technical news debris. The column is published most every Friday except for holidays.