I’m as excited as the next Apple geek about iCloud. What I’m not so sure about is how it will actually work. I’m not talking about the magic that happens in the big data center or the functions of syncing things through the air, but rather how things actually integrate onto the devices.
I don’t think my setup is that unusual. I have four devices:
- An iMac which is essentially the “digital hub”, containing the large library of iTunes songs and video. I have about 50 G of songs and video, most of it at lower quality than 256k. (I usually rip to 128k, just to save space.)
- A MacBook Air which is the workhorse. It contains a much smaller subset of iTunes since it has a much smaller SSD and it feeds #3. There’s currently about 9 G of songs here.
- An iPhone 4 with 32 G of storage. It syncs with the Air.
- An iPad with 64 G of storage. It syncs with the iMac, but has a very small subset of songs on it. I just don’t listen to much music on the iPad and when I do, I can just use home sharing.
So with iCloud, the digital hub - or “the truth” as Steve Jobs put it - will move from the iMac to iCloud. I get that part, but I don’t get how or even if I’ll be able to continue doing the subsets. A perfect four-device sync isn’t going to work since three will essentially run out of space, which is far from an ideal solution.
My best guess is that iCloud will contain (via iTunes Match) all the songs that are on my iMac. I’ll be able to continue having subsets, but they’ll have to be manually managed. All the songs will be available, but will be downloaded on an as-requested basis from the iCloud. If it tries to force all four to hold the same things, that’s going to be pretty close to unworkable for me — and for a lot of people.
I just can’t imagine that being the wrench in what appears to be an elegant approach. I also can’t imagine Apple will want to have people needing to micromanage devices and libraries. I can see the normal syncing continuing, but there being the availability of everything in my “truth” library. I can download and delete, which isn’t exactly streaming, but it’s pretty close.
So can someone explain it to me? Where am I right or wrong?
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