For those who haven’t followed the insanity of the day, Apple announced their newest product, the iPad (trending topic on Twitter, along with a few other fun variants on the name). The hype was insane. The iPad looks beautiful and the demos were cool, but reactions on Twitter and the blogosphere are mixed. Now as the media, techies and consumers digest it, we shall see if it’s another game changer or a yawner. My guess is a game changer, because I wouldn’t underestimate Apple.
What got lost in the sizzle is how the new iPad might take advantage of cloud computing. iTunes and the App store are cloud applications and Apple does have iWork.com where you can share and store documents. Most of the useful apps for the iPhone and iPod Touch access services in the cloud. If this device becomes a replacement for a laptop (debatable), will more people collaborate with it in the cloud?
Later this year, Google is expected to launch a Chrome OS tablet. The Chrome OS assumes that everything is in the cloud. This is the same for all the Android phones, Blackberries and other smart phones. The apps that run on these devices are primarily talking to the cloud.
I have seen a lot of complaints about the limited storage in these devices (the iPad has 64GB storage at the high end). Many people say they are not like what you get in a Netbook or laptop. But if you think about the way many of us work today, we use a lot of applications and storage in the cloud. Whether for personal or business use, I tend to store a lot of things in the cloud. Why should I store videos locally, if I can put them on YouTube? Why store pictures locally, when there’s Flickr? Why store a presentation locally, if I can use SlideShare? I mainly need processing power, a connection to the Internet and enough hard drive space to create things. When I collaborate with colleagues and customers, I do it in the cloud.
My business today is all about connecting and collaborating with people and using cloud-based applications makes it easier for me. When I am traveling or visiting with a customer, I access information that’s online a lot more than I access it locally. I just open a browser or small app and access things in the cloud. This makes it much easier to work. I also don’t have to worry about managing local IT resources, which is critical for my small business.
The cloud and SaaS are moving at an incredible pace and I see devices like the Apple iPad and Google Chrome OS tablet as making it easier to work. Aside from the gee whiz factor and the glitz, I like that I can work anywhere, anytime and on any device. I think we may be catching up to the cool devices we see on Star Trek and Star Wars. Things are beginning to get really interesting.
Photo credit Bruce Clay, Inc.