This Monday Apple delivered a clear shot across Google’s bow: iCloud. Apple’s new service, announced today, demote’s the Web browser back to the status of a simple application. In replacing MobileMe with iCloud, Apple has done away with the Web-based interface for accessing your information online.
All changes to your information are handled through the native applications, with all devices getting the changes almost immediately. The most amazing thing is that they really seem to have managed to make it all “just happen”. (Actual hands-on testing pending…)
You could be on a trip to a conference such as WWDC’11 and take some time to do some site seeing around the bay area. As you take pictures with your iPhone they not only get sent to your MacBook and iPad, but to your home computer where the family can follow your exploration in near real-time. The service, as shown, is of such complete simplicity that most people’s grandmothers could probably use it.
During his presentation Jobs was quite direct in pointing out that the service was not only free but it also had no ads. You couldn’t take a more direct jab at Google that makes just about all of its revenue from online advertising.
Apple sold 25 million iPads in the first 14 months of sales. While most iPad users do spend time browsing the Web, they spend a lot of time inside native applications, of which over 90.000 are already available on the App Store. With applications for magazines, newspapers and even for looking up information on Wikipedia, the number of times you actually have to go into the browser has gone down drastically.
While the Web is not going to go away any time soon, Apple is doing its best to pass on the idea that “the cloud” is where your information is stored in order to be retrieved by great looking native applications. With this you get functionality and performance without having to use browser-based applications which are made to “imitate” the native experience.
Google moved onto Apple’s turf with Android and Chrome. Now it seems that Apple might actually be ready to take the fight back to Google’s side of the field.