As much as Apple is a hardware company and makes its riches the old fashioned way– selling something to customers– look at how many of those devices depend upon internet connections. Now, extrapolate that thought to how much of the internet is about cloud services.
As of this past weekend, I have all my digital files stored on iCloud. All. Of. Them. Yes, they’re still backed up on my Mac and a few external drives. iPhone and iPad are backed up to iCloud, yes, but to the Mac, too. This isn’t my first rodeo.
What I see happening is a growing dependence on iCloud and cloud services in general. What caught my eye this weekend was Hulu’s Cloud DVR. Google has one for YouTube TV. So do other streaming television services. In fact, so-called cloud streaming services are everywhere. Spotify and Apple Music. iTunes for TV shows and movies. Netflix is just one giant cloud streaming TV and movie service.
Increasingly we rely on cloud services to help us manage our digital lives. Facebook, Instagram, Email, Messages, and just about everything else lives somewhere on someone’s cloud. We use apps to access the data stored on the cloud, but how long before we don’t even need to download and install applications on our devices because the internet will be so fast that even applications themselves can be stored on the cloud.
Alright, it’ll be a few years, but you get the idea, right? Hello? Thin client?
A thin client is a lightweight computer that has been optimized for remoting into a server-based computing environment. The server does most of the work, which can include launching software programs, crunching numbers, and storing data. In contrast, a conventional desktop PC (fat client) typically performs the same tasks locally, but can also remote into a server-based environment when needed.
That’s not how technology works for us today. Most of what we do now with Mac, iPhone, iPad and other devices is so-called fat client, but increasingly we are connected to various and sundry cloud services for data access, but the next step would be high speed internet connectivity sufficient that almost everything could be cloud-based and all we would need is a browser. Or, a screen that displays whatever we connect to online.
Now, I don’t see this massive change happening all at once or happening anytime overnight. But change happens. Plus, there’s that whole app development industry that Apple created, and, of course, our favorite Cupertino, CA techno-gadget maker totally relies on hardware to make a living.
Somewhere down the road the hardware won’t matter as much as cloud services and internet speed, and we see some of that future already by storing everything except applications on iCloud and other cloud services.