Why iCloud is Not Business Friendly-Updated

Posted by David Chism | Mon, Oct 24, 2011

 Why iCloud is Not Business Friendly-Updated

Updat­ed: 5/9/2014

Blog arti­cles can get dat­ed. So when I first wrote this arti­cle in 2011, iCloud was not the best tool for one’s busi­ness. I want­ed to give a brief update since I wrote the blog below. As I write this update, iOS 7 is the cur­rent oper­at­ing sys­tem for iPads/​iPhones. Apple has made a tremen­dous leap for­ward in the busi­ness world by adding some real­ly great updates for busi­ness users. In more recent months, we’ve seen them add Apple Pages, Num­bers & Keynote as stan­dard busi­ness apps. If you are not famil­iar with these three apps, basi­cal­ly it is sim­i­lar to Microsoft­’s Word, Excel and Pow­er­point. By adding these three apps to the desk­top, online ver­sion and mobile apps, iCloud is not a much more busi­ness friend­ly solu­tion for small busi­ness­es. The cal­en­dar fea­tures seem to be the only area that is a lit­tle lack­ing com­pared to Google Cal­en­dar or Microsoft 365. Yet, it will do the job…it can work. If you are try­ing to use less 3rd par­ty pro­grams and sim­pli­fy things, iCloud for your busi­ness is a good solu­tion. You can use it for your email, cal­en­dar, con­tacts, word doc­u­ments, spread­sheets and pre­sen­ta­tions! You can store your doc­u­ments in iCloud too, but it is still not as pow­er­ful as Drop­box, 365 or Google Dri­ve. What I hope will come soon is that Apple will real­ly make an iCloud for busi­ness. What I mean is that they mar­ket it to busi­ness­es in a way that lets us all know it is ready to han­dle a lot more. It still feels light and per­son­al.” Octo­ber 2011 Blog

First Off, Why Apple Again, David?

20111024-074658.jpg Each month, a grow­ing num­ber of con­sumers turn to two mobile devices, Android or Apple, for their per­son­al and/​or busi­ness needs. Although I like Android devices, I have giv­en Apple iPhone two thumbs up for being the most busi­ness friend­ly. Two reasons: 
  1. Apple was first to cre­ate the pop­u­lar down­load­ing of Apps.” (i.e. App Store). Why is this impor­tant? Because devel­op­ing an App is expen­sive, and an App on an iPhone does not work on an Android. There­fore, devel­op­ers typ­i­cal­ly cre­ate an Apple App before they cre­ate an Android ver­sion. The Android Apps I’ve tried for busi­ness are typ­i­cal­ly more bug­gy, because Android has a low­er stan­dard for allow­ing Apps; the Android Mar­ket is open source, mean­ing any­one can cre­ate an App and post it. Apple has very strict stan­dards and can take an App off their store at any­time. One good exam­ple is Face­book’s App for the iPhone and Android. The iPhone App is incred­i­ble and has 10x more fea­tures than the Android ver­sion. A busi­ness own­er or employ­ee can man­age a busi­ness page direct­ly from the iPhone App, but not from the Android (yet).
  2. It is just a very handy device and fun to use. The Android, to me, as very many cool fea­tures, but Apple has less mov­ing parts on the screen. I get less dis­tract­ed when using the iPhone and find myself play­ing around too much with the Android fea­tures. I stick to busi­ness on the iPhone!

Now for the Update on iCloud for Business

In mid Octo­ber, Apple released what seems to be their biggest soft­ware update ever: IOS 5. It tru­ly is remark­able. I wrote a quick sum­ma­ry of my favorite fea­tures last week. Because it is such a big jump from ver­sion 4 to 5, there are still a few bugs. I’d go ahead and upgrade your iPhones if you have not already, but just know you will encounter a few small bugs. Most of these bugs seem to clear up quick­ly, either on their own or when you restart. I’m sure their first update 5.1 will fix all these crit­ters. Now, Apple is claim­ing their biggest update in IOS 5 is the new iCloud (for­mer­ly MobileMe). What I read about iCloud sound­ed spec­tac­u­lar: updat­ing Apps on mul­ti­ple devices, tak­ing a pho­to on your iPhone and it show­ing up instant­ly on your work/​home com­put­er, file stor­age, email, cal­en­dar sync­ing and shar­ing etc. I also real­ized that Apple sells pri­mar­i­ly to con­sumers and not small busi­ness or Cor­po­rate Amer­i­ca. I had many peo­ple ask me what I thought of the new iCloud and if it was a good tool for busi­ness. My answer is sim­ple: iCloud is NOT a good busi­ness tool. It is meant for indi­vid­ual, per­son­al use. Do I like iCloud? Over­all, yes! It is easy to use. But I am very dis­ap­point­ed about a few things: 
  1. Only one email per account: A fam­i­ly or even a busi­ness can­not have mul­ti­ple email address­es with­in iCloud. Each per­son has to cre­ate their own iCloud account. The prob­lem with this is…
  2. Pho­to Shar­ing is for Per­son­al Usage: Because each per­son needs his or her own iCloud account, the new Pho­to Stream fea­ture does not allow shar­ing with oth­er iCloud users. It works with 1 account only. So as a busi­ness own­er tak­ing pho­tos of a job site or busi­ness activ­i­ty while using Pho­to Stream, the pho­tos will be uploaded and streamed instant­ly to his com­put­er, not to his mar­ket­ing per­son, admin or anoth­er co-work­er. That pret­ty much defeats the purpose.
  3. Can’t Delete Pho­tos Eas­i­ly: Apple offers 5GB of Free Stor­age. This will add up fast when you turn on Pho­to Stream. Once you take a pho­to, it uploads to iCloud. You can­not delete indi­vid­ual pho­tos with­in iCloud. So if you take 5 quick shots of a job or per­son, all the bad ones are uploaded with the good ones. Now there are some techie work arounds, but with the first release of iCloud, Pho­tos are there to stay in the clouds. You can delete pho­tos on your phone and com­put­er only. You can also wipe ALL pho­tos off iCloud and start from scratch, but why would any­one want to do that? The idea of iCloud is to help con­sumers be more mobile and save every­thing off site to avoid hard dri­ve crash­es and pro­vide easy access to info on the go.
  1. Cal­en­dar and Doc­u­ment Shar­ing Do Not Exist: The bot­tom line is iCloud is for a sin­gle user, you or me. If you want your co work­ers or fam­i­ly to share infor­ma­tion, you can cre­ate 1 iCloud account, but it is not safe and is just not a good idea. iCloud will not replace Egnyte, Drop­box or Google Apps.

What should a busi­ness do with IOS 5 and iCloud? 

I know some of you are think­ing, Run that by me again, Dave. Why is the iPhone bet­ter than the Android?” It is true that Android tech­nol­o­gy is a Google prod­uct, and I like Google. Yet there are too many devices and fea­tures to fig­ure out with Android and only 1 with Apple: the iPhone. That’s it. Also, just because iCloud is not busi­ness friend­ly, does­n’t mean you need to ditch the phone. What I did was this: 1) I basi­cal­ly kept every­thing the same: Synced my Google Apps for Busi­ness account (com­pare with MS Exchange) with my iPhone. 2) I switched from MobileMe to iCloud for per­son­al use. I use my iCloud account for Pho­to Stream­ing so I don’t have to down­load and upload pho­tos to my com­put­er. I then can take those pho­tos on my com­put­er and share the ones I want with oth­ers. 3) I con­tin­ue to use Drop­box and Google Docs for my file stor­age. In short, the new upgrade is busi­ness friend­ly if you cus­tomize it to your lik­ing. I am just not endors­ing the iCloud for busi­ness, and I think Apple would agree with me that it is meant for per­son­al use. I hope Apple releas­es an iCloud for Busi­ness! At this point they are rolling in the dough sell­ing their new prod­uct to indi­vid­u­als. They don’t need to be all things to all peo­ple (just yet). It is good mar­ket­ing. They know their audi­ence!

Your Turn

What do you think of the new iPhone 4S, IOS 5, SIRI, and iCloud? Are you hap­py with the changes Apple made?

About David Chism

David Chism started his business out of a passion for helping small contracting businesses grow, be more profitable and become better known to their target clients. One lifelong hobby of David is using techie gadgets. So this blog is a place where he writes about technology, marketing ideas, just for fun (humor), personal thoughts on small business and more.


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