We did it. We are marking 2018 as an eventful year for residents of the Mincey Plantation. We went all in on iCloud. Every file we own is stored in iCloud, fully accessible by each Mac, iPad, and iPhone by each family member, on each device. It’s all up there.
Yes, it’s all down here, too. As convenient as iCloud is these days, I keep copies of every file on iCloud on a few Macs scattered around the Plantation, and a duplicate stored on Amazon S3 and more valuable and frequently used files are stored on Dropbox, too. I trust Apple. I like iCloud. I use iCloud. But I’m not a fool.
The day is coming when storing all our files online will be the norm. Look at the past to see the future. Floppy disks gave way to hard disks which gave way to solid state storage (SSDs) which are giving way to cloud storage. Devices connected by wires are giving way to wireless devices. iCloud storage, or, rather, storing files in the cloud– Dropbox, Google One, Microsoft OneDrive, et al– is becoming the norm.
A quick and unofficial, unscientific survey of family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers tells me that people don’t even bother to backup files the way they did in the past and the way I do now (files duplicated everywhere). Today, anyone who buys a new iPhone can get files and apps re-installed with little more than an Apple ID, decent bandwidth, and a little patience.
Unfortunately, I’m of sufficient maturity that I remember a thing called thin clients.
A thin client is a lightweight computer that has been optimized for remoting into a server-based computing environment. The server does most of the work, which can include launching software programs, crunching numbers, and storing data.
Our handheld devices– iPhone and iPad Pro come to mind– are as powerful as many desktop and notebook computers and with files available everywhere all the time, have become a Mac or PC in the pocket or backpack. I don’t see thin clients making a comeback, but a hybrid seems probable. We see some of that taking place already where Amazon’s Alexa, Google’s Assistant, and even Apple’s Siri remain online entities that communicate to us through each device.
The time when iCloud stores everything is already here. The time when iCloud knows everything important is just around the corner.