I have to admit. Despite being a gadget and technology freak, I am confused by all this talk of cloud computing. I understand the basic concept: That hard drives will eventually become as old-fashioned as floppy disks with data storage being kept on the Internet, allowing us to theoretically store an infinite amount of data as well as share files.
What I don’t understand is how it works, what is its true benefit to me as a consumer (the business side I get) and whether anybody does it right. When Amazon had its cloud computing glitch a few months ago, I thought, “Well, maybe it’s not time to go to the cloud.”
All I really need – and, ultimately, what the best technology fulfills – is simplicity. If new technology is not simple, the general public does not adopt it.
That’s why I look forward to today’s announcement in San Francisco where Steve Jobs, back from medical leave, will announce Apple’s iCloud service. I am sure its technology will be first-rate, but I imagine all cloud computing services are top notch, despite some glitches, and there won’t be a sliver of paper to distinguish between them from a product benefit point of view.
Except, I believe in Apple’s iCloud because simplicity is one of the values the Apple brand promises and always fulfills right down to its packaging. (Well, almost always. The problem, for example, with MobileMe was that it wasn’t simple.)
It is a lesson in the power of brand, as Apple almost always is. If you have a brand that promises a highly treasured value in the market, you can play in areas where your competition has failed even if the technology and benefits are the same.
In the case of iCloud, the anticipation does not come from a new technical angle on it or that Apple’s version will prove to be more beneficial. I’m sure those things are true. But the anticipation comes from the belief in Apple’s brand promise. That it will be simple.