Posts Tagged 'Apple iCloud'

Apple iOS 5 Newsstand

One of the simple, yet most useful features of Apple’s iOS 5 is the Newsstand. This is an application consisting of rows of virtual shelves where magazines and newspapers users have subscribed to are displayed. The latest versions of the magazines and newspapers are delivered to subscribers overnight so that the paper is ready and waiting each morning.

In the UK, the Sunday Times newspaper has an award winning iPad application for reading the newspaper. The existing application is a ‘pull’ service, where readers click on the cover of an individual newspaper section and it will start downloading at that point. This can place a severe strain on the newspapers servers and in fact this Sunday, the servers could not cope with the demand for downloads of the newspaper. This left the newspaper printing an apology and the applications iTunes rating falling to an all-time low.

The Sunday Times Newsstand version of the application will help prevent such server overload as its a ‘push’ service, where the server side articles are pushed overnight to the iPad ready for reading in the morning. This allows the server side to better schedule the pushing of data so as not to overload the servers. What is clear is that if The Sunday Times had used Cloud Computing for its server side, even with a ‘pull’ service, they would not have suffered the service outage as it would have scaled to meet demand and in a very cost-effective way. The ‘push’ service should still make use of Cloud Computing so that it can scale to meet the peak in computational demand overnight required to deliver all the newspapers. Again, here the beauty of Cloud Computing is that the cost will be proportional to the number of subscribers and therefore the revenue the service is generating.

Cloud Computing has the potential to positively impact all areas of computing, from large scale business applications to home users reading newspapers and listening to music. If you would like to find out more about it, why not consider attending Learning Tree’s Cloud Computing course where you will get an in depth, hand-on introduction to all aspects, all delivered by an industry expert.

Chris Czarnecki

Understanding Apple iCloud

I have an iPhone 3GS, and my son has my old iPhone Original. My wife also has two iPhones, an old and new one. The other day my son asked me if he could download a game onto his phone. I told him he could, and the next day the app had magically appeared on my phone. For a second I wondered why, and then I remembered Apple’s new cloud computing service, iCloud. The app was purchased using his phone, and then stored in the cloud. Then, my phone automatically downloaded the new purchase when it synchronized with the cloud.

Synchronizing Multiple Devices

These four devices are all using the same account. When an app is purchased from the App store, it can be installed on any of them. Prior to iCloud, synchronization was done through iTunes running on a PC or Mac. So, if an app was purchased on one phone it would need to be downloaded to a PC. Then, another device (or devices) could be synchronized with that PC and have that app as well. This was time consuming and more than a little confusing when you have many apps, many devices, and each user wanting a different set of apps. It’s also harder when everyone has their own computer that they synchronize their phone with.

iCloud Automates Synchronization

Because of Apple’s cloud computing service, synchronization has all of a sudden become vastly simpler. Now, when an app is purchased (or a free app is downloaded), it is stored in iCloud. It doesn’t matter what device was used to make the purchase, all the purchases are there. To see this, open the App Store app on your iPhone.

Notice the Purchased tab at the top. Tap on it to see all the apps ever purchased on this account. Any app previously purchased, but not on the current device, can easily be installed by tapping on the cloud icon. See the screenshot below.

Setting Up iCloud

To set up automatic downloads, go to Settings and tap on the Store tab. Notice, automatic synchronization of Apps and Music through the cloud can be turned on if desired. Now, every time your kid buys a new game or some music, you’ll get it too! Hmm, maybe there’s a downside there. In the near future, this capability will extend to other types of data as well, like photos, movies, books and documents. The official release of iCloud doesn’t come until iOS 5 is released.

Other Similar Services

Other companies have services similar to Apple’s iCloud. For example, Amazon stores Kindle book purchases in the cloud, and those books can be downloaded to many different devices such as a computer, phone, tablet and Kindle reader.

This is just another example of cloud technology making computing easier. If you would like to learn how to use the cloud to benefit your users, take one of the courses in Learning Tree’s Cloud Computing curriculum

Doug Rehnstrom

Apple Announce iCloud

Last week at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference, there were the usual announcements of upgrades and new releases for iPhones, iPads, Mac OS, etc. This year was a bit different too with the announcement of iCloud. A lot of commentators greeted this announcement with an indifference, based on an assumption that Apple is belatedly jumping on the Cloud Computing bandwagon in the same way as many other manufacturers.

Google have long been pushing Cloud Computing with their productivity applications and Microsoft have followed suit with Office 365. Both organisations have been pushing the access anywhere of information based on a Web browser user interface model. This has many strengths but the Web browser as the client has many limitations too, not least browser compatibility. In contrast to the approaches taken by Google, Microsoft and many other organisations such as Salesforce.com, Apple have taken a different approach to Cloud access. Apple’s Cloud Computing strategy is not based on the browser. Instead they let installed applications access the data in the cloud. Firing up a word processor and beginning working on a document, the document is in the cloud automatically and transparently. The data can then be accessed by all devices that have the same Apple ID. This model of access has many advantages, enabling the applications to be richer than many of their browser based ‘equivalents’ but still making the maximum use of the benefits Cloud Computing can provide. A new developer API enables all applications to have transparent cloud based data access available.

It will be interesting to see how the iCloud develops. By taking the approach they have, Apple have gone against the tide, but in my view, in a way that definitely is for the better. Making use of the cloud should be transparent to the user and totally seamless. Next time you want to access a cloud based service and have to type in the URL, stop and think how seamless this approach actually is ! I look forward to seeing how iCloud develops and the impact/influence it will have on other companies and their Cloud Computing products.

Chris Czarnecki


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