iPad: Consumers are already embracing the cloud. They just don't know it

George Colony is absolutely right when he argues there is a new form of software emerging (see Beyond iPad Yadda Yadda). This is precisely the line I started to set out in this report, Consumer Cloud Services Are The Foundation For Multidevice Strategies . Those that argue that consumers are not using the cloud have failed to grasp that everything from Facebook, through Hotmail and Google Maps are based on cloud concepts extensively, and those are mainstream mass market services that demonstrate the co-operative software model that George outlines.

I'm less sure the iPad is the best example out there at the moment (see my report for other examples). *But* as Apple is pitching the iPad as a new class of device -- a third device -- that consumers should use alongside the PC and the phone, the iPad *absolutely needs* such co-operative consumer clouds if it's to prosper and reach its maximum potential. To succeed devices need to both sell, and to be used frequently, rather than be left on a shelf. Unused devices are not an addressable market for app developers, and unloved devices do not lead to follow-on device or accessory sales. If the iPad does not deliver a convenient enough experience for consumers to sync their content onto an iPad and equally importantly to keep their content up to date with all of their other devices (or with the website version of an app), then consumers will use their iPads infrequently, and many iPads will spend a significant part of their life sitting in standby or uncharged. A consumer cloud play -- especially one enabled by Apple for all of those offering content to the iPad -- would increase the iPad's convenience for consumers.

I'll be developing research around the role of the consumer cloud  in reports over the next few of months. To take part, please talk to me! Either leave a comment below, chat with me on twitter, or email me at: firstinitial lastname at forrester dot com.