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Cook: iCloud over 100M users, Siri a new UI paradigm

updated 03:00 am EST, Wed February 15, 2012

Both poised to drive company into the future

During his rare private appearance at an investors and analysts technology conference hosted by Goldman Sachs, Apple CEO Tim Cook talked on a number of topics, but raised some eyebrows when he mentioned that Apple's iCloud service, which was just launched in October, was now at 100 million users. The last time Cook had mentioned iCloud numbers -- during the quarterly analyst conference call on January 24th -- he said it had just over 85 million users.

Just three weeks have passed, indicating that iCloud signups are happening at an average rate of five million per week. Part of this comes naturally from users who are just purchasing new Macs or upgrading to Lion, but based on previous sales figures that would account for no more than a half-million per week. The majority of new signups to the free service is therefore being driven by iOS buyers, and if so would hint that sales have not substantially dropped off from the holiday period at the end of last year, when Apple was selling a million iOS devices on average every 18 hours.

The free service offers syncing of selected data (including browser bookmarks, e-mail, contacts, calendar appointments and more), a personalized e-mail address free of advertising, 5GB of personal storage space, document exchange for iWork files and what is likely to be the most popular selling point, free backup of iTunes app and music purchases. For an extra $25 per year, users can use iTunes Match to back up their entire music library (up to 25,000 songs not purchased from iTunes) and have it available for streaming or downloading on Mac, Windows and iOS devices almost immediately.

Cook referred to both Siri and iCloud as "profound innovations" that will continue to fuel the company's strategy "for the next decade or more." He recounted how Steve Jobs had positioned the Mac as the "center of the digital hub" back in the first decade of the 21st century, but that now "you and I live off of multiple devices," which was making having the Mac at the center of the digital hub "no longer a great customer experience." Thus, iCloud turns the whole idea of the digital hub "on its head," Cook said. Once you started using iCloud, "it made your whole life much easier."

He reiterated that iCloud and Siri were not products with "a year or two" life cycle, but important parts of Apple's future. "I've never felt like I couldn't live without a product that was in beta before," he said about Siri.

Cook compared it to the first time a customer discovers that an app like FaceTime can make video calling easy and enjoyable -- "aha, it can work!" -- and likened Siri and technologies like it to the paradigm shifts that occurred when Apple made a graphical file system and mouse mainstream, and when the iPhone made multi-touch a mainstream idea for mobile devices. "Siri is a profound change in user input," he said.




by MacNN Staff

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Comments

  1. Mr. Fartleberry

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -3

    Not for me

    Might be OK for teenagers. But I like my data where it belongs — on my desktop. Any word on new desktops AAPL? They don't have to talk or anything.

  1. prl99

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +1

    MobileMe ends in June

    I still have one account to move from MobileMe to iCloud. I moved one last week so even though we didn't purchase anything new, we're still part of that number. Everybody using MobileMe didn't immediately convert to iCloud when it was released and not everyone has upgraded to Lion (required) either. These numbers will continue to grow outside hardware purchases.

  1. Geoduck

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +1

    iCloud/Siri

    Mr. Fartleberry
    I agree. I've seen how one server crash can ruin your whole day. I will use iCloud for things like Bookmarks and such but for critical documents I want the copies and the backups close

    prl99
    I've just about finished moving from MobileMe but not to iCloud. MacHighway has the web hosting I want, multiple e-mail addresses, and is cheaper than MM. What iCloud does is, for the most part, not what I want.

    from the article
    "likened Siri and technologies like it to the paradigm shifts that occurred when Apple made a graphical file system and mouse mainstream, and when the iPhone made multi-touch a mainstream idea for mobile devices. "Siri is a profound change in user input," he said."
    So he expects whole offices to be yakking at their computers? Imagine a board meeting where everyone is trying to take notes by talking into their laptop or iPad. Not going to work is it? How about writing poetry or a novel with voice input? Big Fail on that. Workingwith a spreadsheet or accounting program? Nope, keyboards are better for that.

    Siri is fine for what it does but the keyboard has been around for around a hundred and fifty years and I expect it to be around for a good long while yet. There's a lot of places where voice input is just impractical, disruptive, or inefficient. Big deal, yes. A paradigm shift, no.

  1. chas_m

    Moderator

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +2

    Geoduck

    You might recall that the mouse input in OS 1 was considerably less sophisticated than it is today. I think it's very clear from the article that Cook is saying voice input will evolve and grow into a mainstream input method, not necessarily replace the mouse any more than the mouse replaced the keyboard.

    Voice input has frankly sucked until the 64-bit age came along and we're just now, just starting to see the improvements in voice technology (for example, the lack of "training" for high recognition). You can expect to see great strides in handwriting recognition as well thanks to this change.

    If you're annoyed by paradigm shifts, technology (and especially Apple) is the last place you want to be.

    PS. Dictated a poem on my Mac just the other day, actually ...

  1. mac_in_tosh

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    "Profound Innovations"

    Uh-oh, he's starting to talk like Steve.

  1. TheSnarkmeister

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -3

    font-size:13px

    Apple and Goldman Sachs in bed together. How disillusioning. Do I really still want to trust Apple with my private information in their iCloud? Or, maybe it just means the government will bail them out after they collapse during the pop of the Apple Bubble.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -3

    Re: Geoduck

    You might recall that the mouse input in OS 1 was considerably less sophisticated than it is today.

    Um, it was exactly the same on the Mac for 20 or so years, until Apple finally realized that, maybe, a right-click isn't the hideous thing they made it out to be (and they still decided to break it). Right now, the mouse interface is still exactly what it was: point and click, click and drag. They've added some extra buttons to the mouse to do other things, but very few are actually related to the mouse itself.

    If you're annoyed by paradigm shifts, technology (and especially Apple) is the last place you want to be.

    Except Apple has had a tendency of late to decide on a paradigm shift to fix an issue that never existed in the first place. Just look at lion. Apparently the world was a sadder place when we had fixed scroll bars and scroll arrows. Who knew? But now things are better!

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -2

    100m signups

    Yeah, but who cares. It's a free service. People will sign up for a free service any day of the week because, well, it's free! And to argue it's a sign of brisk sales, how many are existing iOS users getting their free account? And how many are just PC users getting a free account?

    I'm sure every Apple-hater out there is signing up for accounts like crazy in hopes of helping Apple lose a couple of million dollars. Isn't that how they think and act?

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