iCloud’s first six months: Developers weigh in

“On October 12th, 2011, iCloud launched to millions of iOS users impatiently waiting to start getting their devices to sync with Apple’s new platform, which CEO Tim Cook went on to call the company’s next big insight for the next decade,” Federico Viticci reports for MacStories.

“Six months and 85 million customers later, iCloud has proven to be a substantial improvement to sync a user’s email, contacts, address book, and other data accessed by Apple apps,” Viticci reports. “With third-party developers, however, adoption of iCloud sync and storage features has turned out to be a bit tricker, and possibly less intuitive than Apple’s own implementation due to the early nature of the platform.”

Viticci reports, “While iCloud may seem ‘invisible’ and ‘automatic’ to the end user, there’s a lot going on behind the scenes, and in the case of iOS and OS X app development, the scenes see third-party developers trying to identify the best practices and techniques to work around Apple’s provided iCloud tools to build apps that are, to use Apple’s parlance, ‘better together.'”

Read more in the full article here.

30 Comments

  1. Everything was finally working properly with MobileMe when I switched to iCloud. Since then, I could no longer rely on push notifications to arrive promptly, or at all at this point. Same with email. I actually have to close the mail app from multitasking after every use in order to get mail pushed. This has been going on for six months, and still no fix from Apple. I am very disappointed, and am not the only one with this problem (Woz himself commented on something going wrong with ios 5 update that caused these issues for him too).

    1. Dude you (likely) have something misconfigured, a friend had the same problems on migrating from MobleMe. I told him to stop down at the local Apple store, after all it’s feee. It was a (several actually) misconfiguration and the tech at the genius bar fixed it up in a couple minutes. Now everything runs perfectly.

      1. Thanks for the advice. I don’t see it being a configuration problem, as I have tried a factory reset, and then just signe in to iCloud from that. Still didn’t work. The curious thing is that it works when the mail app is closed completely. Other apps, it seems, it doesn’t matter whether they are active or not (the “…with friends” apps are the ones I notice it with the most, as well as FB). Could just be bad app design on those though, I admit.

        1. It is a very complex system (it only seems simple to us users) My buddy also experienced unexplainable behavior and had done “resets” on several devices (he has a couple macs & 2 iPhones and an iPad) his biggest issues were with mail (not) pushing as well. (and an seemingly arbitrary delivery of messaging)
          Didn’t take the tech at the genius bar 20 minutes to diagnose the problems and straighten it out, now everything works perfectly.

        2. I saw an article somewhere today where problems with a converted Mobile Me account were solved by deleting the account in settings, and then adding it back in. I tried to find it… but i can’t seem to see that page again. Worth a shot though…

      2. @ Tessellator:

        iRobot isn’t alone. file conflict resolution is an ongoing problem. debugging tools & documentation are poor.

        from the article:

        “Because, ultimately, iCloud is just “a folder full of files”, as Comi notes, when something goes wrong with an iCloud-enabled app, a developer should be able to look into that “black box” to see what’s going on. More often that not, the best advice developers can give to their customers to fix iCloud sync is to simply reboot a device.”

        “At least in theory. The past six months have also shown that, without proper developer tools and a clear explanation of how things work in backend, things don’t “just work” — in fact, quite the opposite: some developers have given up entirely on building iCloud apps for now, others are wishing for new APIs that would make the platform suitable to their needs, while the ones who did implement iCloud in their apps are torn better the positive feedback of “it just works” users, and the frustration of those struggling to keep their data in sync on a daily basis.”

        1. yeah, well of course I know that, I mentioned that a friend had similar problems (which turned out to be a legacy configuration issue which surfaced when he migrated to iCloud)
          what it (iCloud) is doing is very complex (Apple has just made it appear simple to users) it is more like a relational database than a “box of files”

    2. Agreed. I have never had any problems with MobileMe and now I’m very reluctant to the forced-migration to iCloud. With the dropping of iWeb support, unless I hear of massive improvements, I may just jump off the Apple carousal, and obtain these services elsewhere.

      1. Oh Puh-lease, they took a $100/year service and removed the iWeb (which something like 2% of users used) and made it totally free, and as a result you want to ” jump off the Apple carousal, and obtain these services elsewhere.”

        Ok there “mobilemax” you go girl, Knock yourself out and don’t let the screen door hit you in the ass.
        Do you astroturfers really think you sound authentic or believable?

          1. those are all iDisk, try again
            And iCloud has user transparent file sharing (and backup) between your devices.

            At least get your fact straight before you attempt to ‘turf.

            On second thought, don’t, just keep posting nonsense, it just make you even less credible

            1. POP?
              Really… really?

              Wow, that troll was desperate AND foolish.

              I almost feel sorry for you. It really is a bad time to be an Apple hater isn’t it?

            2. A I said that that your comment was a troll; i.e. you were trolling an outrageous comment for a response.
              Nowhere did I say you were a troll.

              Second, you (apparently) don’t understand how IMAP works at all do you?

            3. At the risk of “feeding the bully”, I’ll point you to a wiki as I don’t have time to educate you.

              This lists just a few.
              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imap#Disadvantages

              As for the “hater” comment…

              There’s absolutely no “hate” from my comment. Not even a little. In fact, I would bet I’ve not only been using Apple products far longer than you, but I probably also own more, use more, and am invested more in Apple than you’ll ever be… in your whole life — combined. Of course that’s just a guess.

              Is there some reason you are so quick to defend Apple and berate some of it’s biggest supporters?

            4. O puh’lease you insult me (call me a bully) then claim you are SOOOO much most invested in Apple than I am and that you have been using apple products for sooo much longer than I have, (oh and then link to wikipedia)

              You do realize that this are all of those are textbook tactics of the apple hating trolls that infest this form don’t you?

              Claiming that dropping POP was a big negative (or really anything but jettisoning of almost useless completely outdated technology) was a stupid premise. Claiming that you can’t keep IMAP locally (in an attempt to prop up original comment) further indicated your lack of understanding of email protocols & data structure.

              My assumption that you are jA apple hating ‘turfier spreading FUD about iCloud is just that, an assumption.
              But, as the man says if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck…

            5. Wow dude. I don’t know what to say to a string of discordant non sequitur’s. Except perhaps, that I think you have summed up your position nicely.

        1. … I was OK with paying $100/year to, mostly, get my email. And, only 2% of us used iWeb? I’m one of that 2%, thank you. Did Apple consult me? No. Did Apple ask me if I’d be willing to pay a service charge for a package of the additional product? NO. Am I going to bring my Mac Pro in to the local Apple Store to get it properly set up? H3LL no!
          I’ve had to “jump off the Apple carousel and obtain services elsewhere”. And I’m not particularly happy about it. In case you hadn’t guessed. A new Web Host for a couple truly modest sites, an expanded DropBox site, etc. Just because you don’t have a computer-dependent life. Just because your set-up worked as promised. Just because is no reason for the attitude you’ve been dealing out. So, here’s some back, kid. Take your limited expectations back into your basement and make a modest effort to expand your limited horizons.
          FWIW: I just lost iWork.com, as well.

          1. Now you get you email for free, and you aren’t ok with that????

            You can still use iWeb you just need to use (the built in) FTP to upload to your host. You can’t do that????

            Im sorry but your “rage” seems a tad contrived to me.

            More likely a sad little apple hater, living in his parents basement, methinks.

            1. … free of direct costs, but the fact that I now have to pay for a host for my minor web sites means it still costs me. And a site to hold my backups? Not free. And a site I can put files I want someone to pick up later? LARGE files? Not free. $9 per month may seem small, but it adds up to over $100 per year. And, if there are a couple?
              Anyway … it was not the loss of iWeb that bugged me so much as the loss of the modest “free hosting” associated with it, through MobileMe.
              I’m neither enraged nor sad. I’m retired. My Mom’s nursing home doesn’t HAVE a basement … though my son does. Apple didn’t give me any way to hang on to the features I’d grown used to. And the Mail program on my Mac Pro (my wife’s iMac and this MacBook are fine) no longer works properly. I’m sure you are just fine hauling your iMac into the store, the “handles” on my “cheese grater” cut into my hands during transport. Great design, but for that one flaw.

            2. Oh puh-lease you just keep pushing the goal posts around.

              Though I do feel bad for you, It is a really rough time to be an apple hater sn’t it?

  2. It is true that early adopters, i.e., MobileMe users, we’re rewarded with a somewhat onerous transition, ID issues, and are still with some of the aforementioned problems. I know I have had numerous problems; especially with Mail on iOS and even OS X and have spent endless hours on the phone with senior support, but problems reoccur. Still a fan, though! Still a far cry better than any best experience I eer had on a PC, but admittedly very un-Apple.

  3. The MobileMe to iCloud transfer remains hellishly clunky. How is this possible?

    I deliberately waited until this week to move my MobileMe account over to iCloud. I wanted to avoid the inevitable version 1.0 bugs, hoping Apple would work them out. So here we are any months into iCloud, and my transference over to iCloud was such an incredible MESS that it stumped even the very kind and tech literate third level experts at Apple. That’s what I call CRAPWARE. Shame on Apple. 😛

    In what has become the de rigor situation with a lot of version 1.0 software, I had to put my ancient beta testing skills to work. I ended up performing an ‘Out-Think The Dopey Programmer’ set of manoeuvres that finally got clunky iCloud to actually work on all my Apple devices. I ended up teaching the Apple third level tech how to do it.

    Then I got to spend an hour of fun yanking all the duplicates iCloud had dumped into my Address Book and iCal. What a wonderful way to waste my time. 😛

    My name is Derek, and I’m an Apple fanboy. But I know full well that: Apple is never perfect. They’re merely the best.

    1. Derek Currie
      Friday, April 13, 2012 – 10:54 pm

      The MobileMe to iCloud transfer remains hellishly clunky.

      Derek, I don’t think that is so. I just converted my MM account, (I had been holding off updating to Lion (I am a compositor and our pipeline is a hellish web of applications and utilities (some very obscure)) …At any rate my migration (and my entire office) went off without a hitch and we have some fairly complex (inter-account) hierarchy’s wrt scheduling & events.

      So while I don’t doubt you had a couple bumps I don’t think that is the norm.

      1. It’s not a ‘bump’ when you can’t access your Mail on your main Mac computer. The workaround I had to create was entirely unintuitive. Please don’t blame me for the problems! I didn’t write the code. I just suffered from it.

        1. Wow, I din’t relies you had o do something “unintuitive” to work around your problem. THOSE BASTIGES!

          Speaking as someone with 25+ years in workstations/imaging Apple users are a spoiled lot.

          Derek my point is it is not happening to everyone(nor even a significant proportion os users) Yes I know some users have had issues with the transfer of MM accounts to iCloud but those are a small minority. MM was a complex system and so is iCloud. Saying that it is “CRAPWARE” based on the fact that a few users had issues with the (completely automated) transferring of settings and content from one to the other seems to me a tad dramatic, no?

          1. I’m sorry you’re having a bad week. But like I said. Don’t blame me for Apple’s bad coding. Also, don’t go all rant mode over something that has nothing at all to do with you. Great you didn’t have a buggy experience. I did! I still do! You’d really go mental if you had to deal with the MESS that iCloud made of my mail today. IOW: Please STFU unless you actually know my personal experience first hand. Everything you have said has been pointless and born only out of whatever misdirected anger you’re stuck with this week. Go pick on yourself and leave the nice/happy people alone. <-That's how I feel today, in spite of iCloud hell. Sorry you don't.

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