The Apple Social Network

Originally posted on the forums over at theverge.com: http://www.theverge.com/2012/5/1/2992121/the-apple-social-network

Apple don’t really get the internet. It’s been shown by how terrible Ping was. The seemingly still going iTunes component that let you share what you were listening to with others. This didn’t really work out as people don’t really like sharing what they’ve just bought or listening to as it’s probably Abba or something else along those lines. No one needs to know.

But Apple still has a problem with many its services; No one knows if their friends are on it! The problem usually arises if you have an iPad and you want to iMessage someone. The problem is you must have the other person’s email address attached to their contact details. Even if you have their email you have no idea if they have iMessage enabled. The same problem also rears its head with FaceTime and Game Center.

So what can Apple do to solve this? In my opinion it needs to create some way of people having an iCloud profile that you can search for your friends. Now being Apple it would have to be highly controlled. I imagine that everything would be locked except for your name and maybe a profile picture. Maybe even knows if you have contacts in common to make sure you’re adding the right Jonny Appleseed.

You could then request to be iCloud buddies and the person receiving the request can decide what to share. Say your best friends, then mobile, home email address, permission for Find My Friends, Game Center, maybe even published iPhoto journals. Say it was a work colleague who you don’t want to have all that information, then you could just give access to your work email address. It would be very basic and just and online contact listing. It would not be mined by Google and you can only search if you’re signed up for iCloud.

It could even be an app included in iOS 6 with no real online presence. It would just sync contact details and allow you to find others. Sure it would have to be super secure to try to avoid hacking in some way but I could see it happening. Would you want to have some way to find your fellow iPhone and iPad friends?

iCloud and You – A Match Made in Heaven?

As well as iOS5, Apple announced iCloud at WWDC on Monday. While it wasn’t quite what people imagined, it shows the future of Apple and computing in general. So what does it mean for you?

Firstly the iCloud means you will be able to sync your songs, apps, and even iBooks between all your devices. So if you have an iDevice and Mac it means you can keep everything synced automatically. As soon as you buy something on one device it will appear on your other devices. Obviously this relies on you having more than one Apple device, but you do have more than one right?!

The second part of iCloud is iTunes Match. This service means you can take any songs you have ripped from CDs (or any other way of getting music) and iTunes will match it for you from their 18 million strong catalog. You will then be able to download it to all your devices and use it just like you downloaded it from the iTunes Store in the first place. The only catch is that it will cost you $24.99 a year to use this service.

The most useful feature of iCloud though will be the automatic backup of your iDevice. This means if your device goes wrong then all your data will be available to download anywhere you have an internet connection and get it working again.

What most people thought iCloud would bring was a streaming service similar to Spotify and allow you to play a certain amount of music for a monthly fee. While it didn’t appear at this WWDC perhaps the music labels are scared of giving too much away to Apple again and want to see how many paying customers they can get for iTunes Match before allowing open access to all their music.

So what do you think of iCloud? Were you hoping for more?