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 That is, you don’t just have an out-of-date copy of your pictures sitting on a server somewhere.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