Apple’s iCloud And Siri Herald A Shift To Personal Cloud And Voice Interfaces

The name of Apple’s event today “Let’s Talk iPhone” indicates where much of the news focus is — on the new iPhone. But that focus distracts vendor strategists from understanding the deeper implications of Apple’s advances in online services and user experience.

Apple’s iCloud is an important new software platform and service that will integrate Apple’s customer experiences across their iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, and Mac products. This first version creates a personal cloud experience of the individual’s work, personal, and purchased content being seamlessly available across all their Apple products, in contrast to the fragmented experience of Google, Microsoft, and Amazon. Beyond music plus contacts, calendar, and email, Apple is supporting iCloud push in iMessage, Safari’s Read It Later feature, and push distribution of photos. Be sure to watch Apple’s iCloud concept video — that really conveys the personal cloud idea.

The Siri feature is the beginning of a new user experience built around context that will eventually create a much more personal, intimate experience for using all of Apple’s mobile and Mac products. Both of these offerings will have enduring impact beyond the latest model of the iPhone. Though only supported today on the iPhone 4S, I believe it is the beginning of a new form of interacting with all mobile devices and PCs. Voice control and input have not been widely used despite long-standing offerings from Nuance and Microsoft’s Tellme, though they do have strong adoption in specific segments. Apple’s integration of the user’s context will make the experience compatible with mainstream users.

Comments

I agree that Microsoft and

I agree that Microsoft and Google may be late with their advancements in the personal cloud space, however you should take a look at the startup Bitcasa. As techies, we understand and appreciate the ability to upload and store all types of information, however the average consumer doesn't and the type of service that Bitcasa offers by auto-storing one's information (with full encryption coming and going) is where all of the personal storage/cloud offerings should be striving to achieve.

I agree Bitcasa is interesting - I plan to talk to them

I haven't yet made a connection with Bitcasa, but they are on my radar.
Have you tried it out? Any opinions about how it compares with Dropbox and others, besides price?
Interesting question long term is whether the file-based model is the right one for the mass market, or whether content-specific services such as Evernote and Flickr will have more appeal.

Siri

Hi Frank,

I am looking forward to reading your Personal Cloud report. Credit to this blog post for helping me discover that report, which I regret not having read yet. Anyway, my question is going to sound frivolous, but I mean it earnestly: To what extent do you think the dorkiness of talking to your device will impede the adoption of Siri?

Joe Chernov / @jchernov

Siri's best is when others aren't around

Others have told me it seems weird to talk to your phone - and I agree.
But I find when I don't have two hands free to type is exactly when the voice interface is really useful, such as when walking or driving. And I'm usually not with others when I'm doing those things. Once people use it in private situations, I think they'll start doing it some around other people. If Siri is good enough that people start thinking of it as "human" then they'll talk to it - if it acts like a dopey machine when it makes mistakes, they won't.