Category Archives: Icloud

Apple experiences outage in North America

Apple 1Apple has restored services to customers around the world after many of its cloud-based offerings and other services faced outages of up to seven hours.

The outages, which were reported from users mainly in North America, are yet to be explained by the company but impacted numerous products including the App Store, iCloud, Apple TV, photos and iMovies as well as a host of others.

The issues would have appeared to have begun at around 9pm (GMT) June 2, and all services were resumed by 4:55am (GMT). Apple spokespersons have been directing journalists to the company’s support page where it posted insightful comments such as “Users experienced a problem with the service above” and “Users may have experienced slower than usual performance when using iCloud Drive, Backup, iCloud Notes, iWork for iCloud and Photos. Users may have experienced slowness with multiple services at”.

The services aspect of the Apple business has been reporting healthy numbers in recent months, seemingly offsetting the drop in iPhone sales. During its Q2 earnings call the company ended its long run of constant year-over-year revenue growth, as it reported a decline for the first time in 13 years, according to iPhone shipments were down 16% and Mac sales also went down from $5.61 billion to $5.1 billion, however its services business increased by 20% to almost $6 billion.

Apple Twitter


Why Apple, Not Dropbox, Amazon or Google Drive, is Dominating Cloud Storage

Apple is dominating the cloud storage wars, followed by Dropbox, Amazon and Google according to Strategy Analytics ‘Cloud Media Services’ survey. Cloud storage is overwhelmingly dominated by music; around 90% of Apple, Amazon and Google’s cloud users store music. Even Dropbox – which has no associated content ecosystem – sees around 45% of its users storing music files. Dropbox’s recent acquisition of Audiogalaxy will add a much needed native music player to the platform in the coming months.

In a recent study of almost 2,300 connected Americans, Strategy Analytics found that 27% have used Apple’s iCloud followed by 17% for Dropbox, 15% for Amazon Cloud Drive and 10% for Google Play (see chart).

Usage of cloud storage is heavily skewed towards younger people, in particular 20-24 year olds, whilst Apple’s service is the only one with more female than male users. Amongst the big four, Google’s is the one most heavily skewed towards males.

“Music is currently the key battleground in the war for cloud domination. Google is tempting users by giving away free storage for 20,000 songs which can be streamed to any Android device, a feature both Amazon and Apple charge annual subscriptions for,” observes Ed Barton, Strategy Analytics’ Director of Digital Media. “However, the growth of video streaming and the desire to access content via a growing range of devices will see services such as the Hollywood-backed digital movie initiative Ultraviolet – currently used by 4% of Americans – increase market share.”

Barton continues, “The cloud’s role in the race to win over consumers’ digital media libraries has evolved from a value added service for digital content purchases to a feature-rich and increasingly device agnostic digital locker for music and movies. Dropbox being used by 1 in 6 Americans shows that an integrated content storefront isn’t essential to build a large user base, however we expect competition to intensify sharply over the coming years.”

Strategy Analytics found that, the big four cloud storage services aside, recognition of other brands was uniformly low. Furthermore 55% of connected Americans have never used a cloud storage service – although, amongst consumers who have used one, one third (33%) had done so in the last week.

“There needs to be considerable investment in evangelizing these services to a potentially willing yet largely oblivious audience,” suggests Barton. “Given the size of bet Hollywood is making with Ultraviolet, this will be essential to their success given a crowded market and widespread apathy. However, more fundamental questions remain – is the use of more than one cloud service going to be too much for consumers to handle and will consolidation in such a fragmented market become inevitable?”

Barton concludes, “Although cloud storage is fast becoming a key pillar of digital platform strategies for the world’s leading device manufacturers and digital content distributors, there’s still a lot of work to do in educating consumers – particularly those over 45. With over half of consumers yet to use any consumer cloud based service, 2013 predictions for the ‘year of the cloud’ seem unrealistic. However given the market influence of the leading players pushing the concept, in particular Apple, Amazon, Google and Ultraviolet, I won’t be surprised to see mainstream adoption and usage spike within the next two to three years in the key US market.”

Introducing Cloud Service Dashboard of Dashboards

We’ve added a one-stop “dashboard of dashboards” that displays all the major cloud service dashboards on one page.

The page contains a “window” for each service status page or dashboard, with live, up-to-date info at a glance. Scroll for specific applications or locations, or click the link to jump to the full status page itself.

We included these services initially:

  • Amazon AWS
  • Google Apps
  • AppSpot
  • Microsoft Azure
  • RackSpace
  • Apple iCloud
  • Joyent
  • internet Pulse

Have we missed any? If we have leave a comment with the URL and we’ll try to add it.

CaptureToCloud Extends Social Workspace to iOS Devices

CaptureToCloud’s  Social Workspace has been extended to all iOS devices. This is the first mobile app that can capture a full copy of Internet content while it’s being viewed on an iPhone or iPad, and immediately make it available for social media sharing and collaboration. This  app is used by professionals and businesses to capture mobile content into their CaptureToCloud workspace where it can be organized, shared and discussed alongside other important content. The new iOS app is included in both the free and premium services – available in the Apple App Store and at

According to a recent study by the Pew Research and American Life Project, “some 88% of U.S. adults own a cell phone of some kind as of April 2012, and more than half of these cell owners (55%) use their phone to go online.” Viewing Internet content on an iPhone or iPad is one of the most common uses. With CaptureToCloud, users can be viewing that content and immediately save a copy, share it with colleagues, discuss it and read it offline.

“In today’s world, people expect a seamless transition from their desktops to their mobile devices and to be constantly connected to their apps and important content,” said Ramon Nunez, CEO, CaptureToCloud. “Mobile access is a key component of our anywhere, anytime workspace and capturing mobile content is a natural extension of what we provide on the desktop.”

CaptureToCloud aims to make it easy for professionals and businesses to incorporate Internet content into their daily work. The iOS app not only gives users access to all content in their CaptureToCloud library while they’re away from their desktop, but also allows them to capture and share new content they find with an iOS device, keeping them just as productive and engaged with projects and discussions.

Woz on Cloud Dangers Started a Useful Conversation

When Apple co-founder and all-around tech icon Steve Wozniak was quoted as saying he expected horror stories from the cloud, and in the wake of a cautionary tale of total cloud hack horror from xxxxxx, it set off a useful round of comment.

Yesterday we had a guest post on the topic.

Today you might read the I,  Cringley take, which as can be expected is full of his usual cobbled-together, but pretty effective, roll-your-own solutions.

Industry Dynamics of Online Storage and the Decade Ahead

Guest Post by Eric Greenwood

Eric Greenwood is a technophile whose interests have led him to study all things related to the cloud computing movement from online storage to software as a service. Get more tips and advice on his Cloud Computing blog.

Online, or cloud storage, is a massively growing industry, already poised to change the way we use our computers. By 2016, consumers are predicted to be spending as much $16 billion on cloud storage annually.

Big names are flying into the cloud. Oracle and Hewlett Packard are rushing to sell cloud computing tools; Amazon’s cloud services division has earned an estimated $750 million from cloud services in 2011 – and predictions are for earnings of $2.5 billion by 2014 from all cloud services including their Simple Storage Service. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos suggests potential for Amazon Web Services could surge to match that of its retail earnings, which last year topped $25 billion. Rackspace’s cloud servicing is also surging.

While currently only approximately 10% of global spending IT goes to cloud computing, the shift to cloud storage is a growing trend and market.

Popular cloud storage service Dropbox already has over fifty million users, and $250 million in venture capital; and Google Drive’s new online storage is poised to rival them. Like Dropbox’s chief competitor, Sugar Sync, Drive offers 5 GB of free storage, over doubling the free storage amount provided by Dropbox.

Storage competitors are also likely to follow Dropbox’s option of gallery pages that allow users who follow a link to see photos, presentations and videos without downloading each individual file. Dropbox is valued at approximately $4 billion, currently. The company’s CEO recently turned down a reported nine-figure offer from Apple. Apple of course maintains its own online storage system, iCloud, free to all users of iOs5. iCloud’s seamless interface with Apple products keeps this cloud storage service somewhat above the competitive fray.

Dropbox was recently voted “startup of the year,” and is reportedly the fifth most valuable web start-up, globally. But along with iCloud, SugarSync, and Google’s new drive, competition is fierce from other online storage startups ranging from, now known simply as Box, to Microsoft’s massive SkyDrive, Carbonite, which offers solid data backup services, and SpiderOak, which offers data encryption. Each of these cloud storage companies have greatly benefitted from the decline in pricing for online storage. Clearwell Systems research estimates that the storage cost for 1 gigabyte of information that cost $20 in 2000 is now approximately ten cents. HTML 5 has also greatly accelerated the growth of cloud storage companies. The cost and technology trends that have made cloud computing expand will only accelerate over the next ten years.

Dropbox’s popular rival SugarSync is an outgrowth of Sharpcast, the 2006 creator behind Sharpcast Photos, utilized for synching photo images to multiple devices. SugarSync’s differentiation with its competitors is based on its use of an automated refreshing process which means users don’t need to update their own synced files.

Microsoft’s recent overhaul of its SkyDrive online storage has doubled the storage file limit size, and made sharing as well as file management simpler for users. Just last month, Microsoft released a desktop app for SkyDrive, and allows direct file sharing to Twitter.

On the downside, there may only be a finite amount of users willing to store their data in the cloud, and a lot of competitors vying for a slice of the same pie. What’s good for consumers in terms of free storage or service perks may be difficult to sustain an entire industry of cloud storage competitors. Consolidation of some companies may be necessary.

A recent cautionary note was also founded when the file storage and hosting business Megapuload in Hong Kong was shut down by the U.S. Justice department for assisting in the violation of U.S. copyrights due to the ability of users to upload copyrighted material and distribute a link to it.

Megaupload’s violations bring up a key point in cloud storage, leading to the question as to whether or not Microsoft, Google, Dropbox, and all their competitors must scan files for copyright violations. Should this occur, the market will likely improve for Google with its Content ID already in place. Privacy and trust issues are also key in cloud storage growth. The only online storage company that claims to be unable to view users’ stored data is SpiderOak.

Online storage may be still in a speculative stage, but with data volumes predicted to multiply over forty times by the year 2020, data storage in one form or another is not only here to stay, it’s here to grow. Publicly traded companies such as EMC Corporation, NetApp, Isilon, Amazon, and CSC are providing expanded cloud storage options, and growing in financial leaps and bounds. IBM is working on a cloud system that can create virtual machines, able to integrate data without the costs of standard IT development, and simplifying cloud resources.

Complete data management through the cloud is clearly coming in the near future. Personal computer users and businesses multi-national to mom and pop size, must address data storage. Cloud storage is the go-to storage of the future, protected from human error, disasters, theft, and hardware malfunctions.