Apple’s Cloud Strategy Starting to Find Shape

I’ve written many times that Apple’s iCloud today is really just a virtual repository for media. Apple products of different form factors access content universally, but we’ve not seen any real cloud applications that would have cross functional work flow and/or data sharing/refinement. We are not seeing the partner pool tap into Apple’s core services.

Apple today has over 500,000 partner applications available. Again, I would not call it a ecosystem, since in the classical sense of ecosystem, the members of that ecosystem interact with each other in some way. Currently that interaction is limited to media sharing. Apple’s core services are weak and not open to partners to integrate with and add value to. The core pillars of any ecosystem are unified communications, search, maps and productivity tools. The more the alpha vendor opens their APIs for partners to build on, the stronger the ecosystem will be.

Siri is a bright spark in Apple’s core services toolkit and there are rumors that Apple will offer an API down the road, but not today. Siri clearly differentiates Apple in the search space. Maps & Compass is really Google Maps and provides little differentiation from an ecosystem stand point. iChat, iMessage, iMail, etc. are behind the curve and offer little ecosystem value. iWorks is so far behind competition that it too offers nothing for partners.

Apple will likely come out with an innovate iTV concept. The TV sets will be way more expensive than other solutions and I predict will have a hard time competing with lower cost sets coupled with advanced gaming/media consoles. The Apple product family is purely geared around media consumption and that is where it is likely to stay.


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