The Facebook changes – especially Timelines – are great!

October 8, 2011

I’ve got a bit bored of Facebook recently. The site seemed to have lost it’s way a bit. The simple idea of sharing photos and interacting with your friends had been replaced with ‘Like’ buttons and poor quality games. I just found my entire newsfeed to be clogged up with this rubbish I had no interest and thus found myself driven away from the site.

Then a few weeks ago, I saw a bit of an uproar from users of the site (ironically on Twitter) due to some new updates. I curiously investigated and I have to say I’m not sure what all the fuss is about.

Basically the news feed appears to have changed so that ‘top news’ is now more prominent than recent news. This was previously split into two different feeds and you could choose which you looked at – which was perhaps for many a better way of presenting it. However, all your news is still there, it’s just that the top news is now more prominent. For me this can actually be very helpful as I only check Facebook once or twice a day. I can now pick up on top stories shared on the site alot quicker. I also like how Facebook groups stories together now (on thursday it told me how many of my friends had shared stories about Steve Jobs). Things like this seem to work well so far and can be very handy.

Photos are now displayed in a much more engaging way, giving you a better overview of what you’ll see in the album. In the new sidebar – which is a bit ugly but ultimately practical – your live updates and Facebook chat are now displayed much clearer and available on every page (instead of just the newsfeed). Overall the whole news feed experience seems to be more media rich, but crucially with much less of the clutter it used to have.

So after quite liking the changes, I decided to look a bit deeper at Facebook’s latest project – timelines. This is the new name for your profile – or wall – something which has stayed fairly static on Facebook with only a few minor changes down the years. Timelines changes that quite radically. At present it’s only available as a developer beta, but it’s quite easy to activate if you want to have a look.

The first thing that will strike you about Facebook timelines is just how much the site has on you. By activating the new look profile, Facebook will generate a complete timeline of your life based on the information the site has on you. It can be quite interesting looking at the things it picks up – things such as my sisters birth, when I started and left certain jobs and various events I have attended were all listed on the line.

Mark Zuckerberg was very passionate  that timelines could and should tell the story of your life, but it is also a stark reminder that everything you put on Facebook is still there and can always be dug up. Be careful what you make public.

The layout of timelines will probably throw some and annoy many more. Your timeline goes vertically down the page with stories appearing to the left and right in chronological order. I quite like this system, I find it easier to see what is going on quickly without having to scroll for a while. You also have complete control over what is shown on your timeline, you can remove stories or make them bigger and more prominent for all to see (this may also affect top stories in the newsfeed).

Profile pictures have also changed – you now get two. This might sound strange at first, but actually works very well. Your traditional profile pic, the one that will be shown all over Facebook (and nowadays the web) is shown smaller than it currently is, but still in roughly the same place. Just behind it is a much wider picture, a place for you to put a group shot, or a landscape of your holiday, or in my case me and Dragon Khan at PortAventura! I really like this new ‘headline’ pic. It’s a great way to showcase a new picture you love without ruining the profile pic thumbnail.

In fact I actually love the whole interface. It makes it easier to see your most up to date activity and also look back through the archives. You easily add new info about your life, past or present (which is something I can see a lot of Facebook addicts doing!) by clicking on the timeline and writing. General info about you and your likes, places and friends is stored at the top under your headline pic in a small tidy space. This leaves the rest of your profile open to share whatever you want with your friends.

And this is what I love most about Timelines. It’s a new interface with a lot in it, but it’s not cluttered at all. It’s super easy to use and looks fantastic (in fact makes a lot of competitors look dated). And it finally focuses on what made Facebook great, sharing your life with your friends online. No silly apps or likes ruining the place, just you and your connections all in one place.

Facebook Timelines is expected to roll out before the end of the year and I’m sure there will be another swarm of complaints heading Zuckerberg’s way. But to those people I ask you just to try the new system, get used to it, give it at least a week. I’m pretty certain you’ll actually agree that Facebook are onto another winner with this one. And even if you don’t, lets be honest, you’re not going to leave FB anyway!

 


Will Kindle’s Fire Burn the iPad?

September 29, 2011

The hotly anticipated Kindle tablet was finally announced by Amazon yesterday. In case you missed it, Amazon announced the Kindle Fire, a 7″ tablet capable of books, pictures, movies, apps and the web. But how much of an impact can the Fire really hope to make in a market which is dominated by Apple’s ‘magical device’ the iPad?

I think quite alot. Amazon have done the smart thing and not targeted the Kindle Fire directly at the iPad. Instead the Fire has been positioned much more as a tablet for people on a budget. It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles the iPad boasts about. There’s no camera here, no microphone, no 3G, less on board space and a much smaller display. But you start to ask yourself, do you really need all of that?

What the Kindle does give you is access to Amazon’s library of content (and initially this will be absolutely free for a 30 day period). That’s millions of movies, music and books all at your fingertips through the device. Amazon’s content library is more than a rival for iTunes and because all of this will be living in the cloud, your smaller space constraints won’t really be much of an issue at all.

Kindle Fire also provides you with connectivity and compatibility that the iPad has so far failed to do. A USB port isn’t exactly an unusual port these days, yet due to Apple’s insistence that we should all be using their dock, it has yet to make it onto an iPad – Kindle Fire already has one. Apple continually have arguments, fall outs and disputes with Adobe meaning that Flash is yet to make it’s way to any iOS device – Kindle Fire has this out of the box.

Combine that with compatibility with a large variety of file types from documents to movies and music, and you can see how the Kindle Fire does actually have quite a few advantages over it’s iOS rival.

Rather than use Android’s native look or apps, Amazon have made their own which I personally love. Instead of the usual screen full of square blocks representing apps, you are presented with bookshelves full of apps that you can quickly flip through. A nice, unique and very Amazon approach to an interface.

Kindle Fire also comes with it’s own e-mail app and Amazon’s new web browser, Silk. Amazon claim that this browser cuts speed by by splitting the work between the tablet and Amazon’s servers in the cloud. Clever. It’ll also predict the sites you’ll visit next, although I’m not entirely sure how well this will work!

But back to the burning (sorry) question, is the Kindle Fire an iPad beater? Many have tried and failed, Samsung have had limited success and several legal cases, HP ended up discontinuing their short lived touch pads and Blackberry… well the less said about the Playbook the better.

This time however, I think that Apple may have a battle on their hands. Kindle Fire is basically a streamlined iPad, with some new clever thinking and a few ideas better than the iPad itself. And the real reason this will cause market disruption, is because this will only cost $199.99 (£127.00). The cheapest iPad by comparison is $499 (£399) – quite a price difference and one that I think Apple might find hard to justify.

By offering so much for such a little price, Amazon could really change the market and hurt the iPad significantly. I doubt however that Kindle Fire has the power to take the iPad down completely, it is still the best tablet on the market and has the best software available in iOS. But what it will do is force Apple to really rethink their product, the iPad 3 is going to have to tackle the Kindle Fire threat and that’s going to mean a lot of innovation from the guys in Cupertino.

The Kindle Fire will be released on November 15th in the states, there’s currently no date for the rest of the world, but I’m certain that when it does make it around the globe, it’ll be the best received Android tablet so far – but admittedly we are still a long way off the perfect tablet computer from any company…


The Roar of the Lion – My views on OS X 10.7 Lion

July 22, 2011

Apple finally released their new operating system OS X Lion on Wednesday. I say finally because Apple have been teasing us with vague release dates for the OS since November last year. In fact the company were so secretive about their latest revision of OS X that they only announced it was officially launching the day before it became available for public download. But Apple’s secrets aside, how does Lion compare to previous versions of OS X and other systems available on the market?

Download

The first difference between Lion and any other mainstream operating system is that it is distributed exclusively over the internet. The only way to currently get the OS is by purchasing it from the Mac App Store.

Like many others around the globe, I was pretty apprehensive about how well this would work, after all the download weighs in at a fairly hefty 3.75 GB. But I needn’t have worried as the download processed without a hitch. As soon as you purchase Lion, the icon sits on your dock (like with other OS X Apps) with a progress bar. Sadly this bar is far too small to actually measure the progress of the download, but it happily works away in the background and informs you when it’s ready to proceed.

For me the download took just over two hours on a connection which averages 5Mb/s. Pretty impressive speed when you consider how many people are downloading at once (over 1 million already!), guess that massive data centre is starting to come in hand for Apple.

iOS

Onto the operating system itself and the first thing that pretty much everyone will notice is that there’s a lot of new stuff from the iPhone and iPad. Now that’s not as bad as it may initially sound. I must admit that I was worried Apple could loose what was OS X by adding too much from it’s new favoured platform iOS. But the new features nicely compliment what we all know.

The most obvious example of iOS input is the new Launchpad. This new feature sits on your dock (although it can be activated through a button or gesture, more on them in a bit!) and when launched will show you all your apps on your computer, arranged as you may expect, in the same format as an iPad. Some have seen this as nothing more than a gimmick, but I disagree. Sure it’s not revolutionary, but without a Windows start-bar and little space on the dock, getting to all Apps quickly hasn’t been a strong point of OS X. Launchpad addresses this and gives a nice interface to find your what you want to use instantly.

Scrolling has also had an iOS makeover, which may take some a bit of getting used to. Instead of using a scroll bar at the side to move down the page, you place your cursor within the page and push the content up as you would on an iPad. It’s quite different to the desktop standard, in fact there isn’t a stationary scroll bar in site (they only appear when you need them according to Apple). This complete change of scrolling may seem odd, but actually makes a great deal of sense. It’s taken me a matter of a few hours to get used to it and guess what, I couldn’t imagine going back to scroll bars now, this is so much easier!

One more, perhaps controversial addition to Lion, is autocorrect, the much complained about iOS system which corrects you when you type the wrong thing. This is great a lot of the time, but can cause some quite annoying consequences when the computer gets it wrong (as it already has three times in this review). But overall I think autocorrect will be welcomed onto Mac, with a keyboard it’s much less likely for a big mistake to be made and thus autocorrect will be a help instead of a hinderance… I hope.

Gestures

Without doubt, this is my favourite addition. Apple have been using trackpad gestures on their laptops for a while, but Lion takes this to the max. Need to scroll a page, push gently with two fingers. Back to the webpage you were just on? Swipe to the right with two fingers and the current page will happily move out of the way to present where you were. You can zoom by pinching, swipe between dashboard, desktop and apps by swiping three fingers and even push everything out of the way by spreading your fingers on the pad.

Theres a little bit of learning until you know what everything does, but gestures are already speeding up computing for me. yes it’s only a small amount of time saved, but the whole experience feels a lot more intuitive and simple. It makes the clunkiness of a computer disappear and leaves you with a smooth end-user experience.

Gestures of course also mark a clear step away from the Mac being a desktop computer. Although they can be used on an Apple ‘Magic Mouse’, they’re much easier to perform on a trackpad, the device of choice for a laptop. Personally I find trackpads easier than a mouse (after using purely laptops for the last four years), but I wonder if everyone will take the step and swap (desktop Macs can come with trackpads too). I hope so, because gestures really change everything.

Full Screen Apps

There’s always been something that Windows could do better than Macs – full screen. For years Apple computers had a distinct lack of a full screen option for most applications. But that’s all changed now with full-screen apps in Lion.

On the top left corner of all native apps (and already quite a few others) is a new full screen button. When pressed, everything else slides out of the way and you have your attention completely undivided withe the app filling your whole screen. It’s not revolutionary, granted, but out’s nice to finally have the option. It should also be noted that full screen apps scale to your screen very well – for example webpages in Safari adjust to the size of the screen you’re using for the best performance.

You could argue that this makes multitasking a little harder. Well Apple have thought of that too, swipe to the side and you can switch straight to your desktop or other apps in fullscreen. But maybe that’s still too difficult? Enter Apple’s other new toy.

Mission Control

A grand name for a grand idea. Macs have always been good at showing you all open apps with expose (which shrinks all windows so you can choose what you want to switch to and do so instantly). This has now been taken to the next level with Mission control.

Click the icon in the dock or swipe three fingers up and you enter this ‘birds-eye view’ of your computer. Your open windows are shown in the middle of the page, grouped by application for easy use. At the top you have access to your dashboard, desktop or any full screen apps you have open, making it easy to switch to these. You can also add new desktops to arrange your apps in the way you want to. Need to get back to them, simply enter Mission Control again and you can see exactly where everything that’s running is.

What I like about Mission Control is no matter how many apps I’ve had running, it always opens instantly on command – not even expose managed that. Without doubt a handy upgrade to an already very useful idea.

The others

These are the main noticeable differences, there are plenty of others under the hood. Resume lets you shut your computer down completely, but still start with all the same applications open when you start up the next day – no extra start up time.

Versions an automatic save feature making it much easier to keep your documents safe. Make a mistake or lose what you were working on? Versions saves it for you so you can come back to it how it was before you wrecked your important letter! It’s not available everywhere yet (mostly just in iWork), but it could be a helpful feature for the future.

Mail has received a much need upgrade. Gone is the horrible presentation and slow loading times, in is a (you guessed it) more iOS interface arranged into three columns.

And what would an OS X upgrade be without a new photo booth, this time with face tracking for more hilarious, spur of the moment photos!

The bad

At the moment I am loving OS X Lion, but I do have a few niggles (and they really are just niggles). Firstly, the fact the software was delivered online causes complications should the system crash. That 3.75 GB download doesn’t bode well for limited internet connections. I’ve made myself a back up Lion disc in case of any issue, but I do think the online delivery could cause problems.

It could be argued that the upgrade has a bit more style over substance (I can’t believe how much animation Apple have crammed in). I agree with this to an extent, it would have been nice to have a few more functional things and I do think (despite loving most of it) some of the animation could come a bit of a distraction, to me anyway!

Not a problem I have had, but I’ve seen a few reports of compatibility issues with older software. With Lion, Mac finally ditches the PowerPC support for Intel only so some popular apps (if not updated) will fail to work on this new OS. But fear not, most things still work well and in full 64 bit!

I’m also not a fan of the more ‘windows-esque’ buttons. What happened to those lovely curved buttons, replaced with dull square ones 😦 !

Conclusion

As you can see, my niggles are very few and far between, I love OS X Lion. At only £21.00 off the Mac App Store, it is the best priced OS I have ever seen. Mac OS X has been the market leader for desktops for a long time and by fusing their knowledge of touch devices into their desktop OS, Apple have only made it better. If you have Snow Leopard, there is really no reason not to upgrade. If you don’t have a Mac yet, why not? This is the best OS available and is worth every penny.

 

 

 

 


Are we ready to migrate to the cloud?

July 12, 2011

There’s alot of talk these days about Cloud Computing. The idea is a move away from the traditional hard-drive based computing we all know and store all of our data on the internet. We won’t even need to spend cash on hard disk space because our data will be accessible for us anywhere on a range of devices through the cloud. But how much of a step forward is the cloud and are we ready to entrust all our data to the net?

Google thinks we are, last month unveiling the ChromeBook, the first device to really embrace the cloud. What makes Chromebooks so different to an ordinary laptop? There’s no storage space, no large hard-drive to speak of. There’s not even programmes or applications on this laptop and there’s barely an operating system. Why? Because everything you need is stored on Google’s servers, all you need is an internet connection.

There’s obviously a great deal of advantages to this. One of them being the price. With no high end hardware needed (as most of the work can be done online), cloud based computers like ChromeBooks can end up being much cheaper than their higher-end alternatives. And of course you wont have to splash out on expensive software for your cloud machine, or have to install it. Google already have several web-based apps on their servers (including everyone’s favourite game Angry Birds!). You can use office products, edit media, engage in video calls and utilise social media all for free without ever installing a single application on your machine.

Having less data stored on your system has a couple more plus points. The ChromeBook for example can start up, from completely powered-off to running websites, within 8 seconds. Compare that to how long it took you to start-up Windows 7 (or other laggy OS) earlier and that’s quite incredible! The reason for the speed, it has hardly anything to load. It also means you are almost guaranteed to never have a virus as there is nothing on your system to attack, clever!

The key factor that most companies are pushing with cloud computing is the ability to access your data anywhere using many devices. Amazon are jumping on this with their CloudDrive and CloudPlayer allowing you to access your files and music on any computer, tablet or smartphone device. Of course with the cloud, you don’t even need to own the files. Music-streaming sites like Grooveshark and Spotify allow you to listen to pretty much anything you want, wherever you want. There’s no need to actually ‘own’ this stuff anymore.

But that’s just the thing. I’m not sure I’m ready to let go of all that. I like having things that I actually own, a bit like CD’s (we all put them on our iPod’s, but I like to have a tangible souvenir when I buy an album). I know with data on a device it;s a bit different (you can;t touch it for one thing), but I like to have my own copies of my fav music, movies, pictures etc rather than relying on the web to look after all of these.

Indeed, at the moment I’m having intermittent internet problems with my laptop. This is frustrating, but not troublesome to my whole computer experience. What happens if a Chromebook can’t connect? You have no laptop. If you store everything in the cloud as we are being encouraged to, you wont be able to access any of it during a network outage, something which should never happen with a local hard drive.

And if you put all your data in the cloud, you’re also giving all your data to another company. They say they’ll do nothing but look after it, but underneath there’ll be scanners monitoring everything you upload, learning all about you, what you look like, what you do, what you like.

With all this stored online, we are putting a massive amount of trust in the online companies and we all know that these servers aren’t always the most secure, look at Sony. By putting more and more data online, we’re just making it easier not only for companies to learn about us for their market research, but for our entire lives to be hacked by the cyber criminals that lurk web-wide.

We are of course already uploading alot of personal data on services doing this with the likes of Facebook, webmail, even online shopping. At the moment that data is a small amount, negligible – and the fact that it is brings us to another issue, webspace.

I have a 500gb hard drive, considered a fairly medium size of hard disk space in 2011. Yes this is 100 times more than most cloud

providers will give you. 5gb is simply not enough to store everything you need, even if you’ll be sharing several files with others. I have more than that in photo’s alone and I don’t consider myself a very serious photographer (yet!).

Working with online apps can also be a bit of a drag. Sure you can edit video/photos audio online, but it’ll take you a while to upload and download it all. Things like this just work much better locally and until with a 1GB/s download option, it’s just not going to be feesable.

I should point out that I am not entirely against the cloud. It has several great advantages, I just don’t think we are ready (or possiblywill ever be ready) to fully embrace it and effectively make hard drives redundant. Maybe I’m old fashioned, but I will alway like to keep the main hub of all my data as my main computer, with portions of it online/on other devices.

And this is perhaps where I see the advantage in something like iCloud, Apple’s upcoming cloud service. The idea is to keep your devices in sync as much as possible. For example, if you take a photo on your iPhone, it will be uploaded next time your in Wi-Fi range and then pushed down to all you other (Apple) devices. This idea uses the cloud as a way of copying your data everywhere quickly, but crucially doesn’t keep it stored only in the cloud. Apple will also allow you to back-up online (which is also a very handy feature of all cloud services) as well as sync your e-mails and calendars instantly without even knowing it’s happening.

This is the kind of cloud service I will use. It’s basic and it’s more of a synchronising service that a cloud storage drive, but I’m not ready to abandon my hard-drive for the cloud yet and I think with some of the limitations there still are, it will be a long while until we all are.

But I’m also aware at the speed tech moves, the hard-drive could be defunct by this time next year…


Google ‘Plus’ their search in third attempt to topple Facebook

June 29, 2011

Anyone remember Google Buzz? What about that revolutionary new tool Google Wave? Yep, Google have never really been very good a social networking. But the web’s biggest player isn’t done yet, they’ve an all new social tool, the rather lazily named Google+ is on the way.

I won’t deny, that as with Google’s last two ventures into the social space, I am pretty excited about Google+. They’ve always been pretty good at taking the best of the web and transforming it into something awesome (just look at how GMail changed webmail). But I do approach Google+ with quite a bit of skepticism, after all it’s not going to be easy to take the social crown away from Facebook.

But the Californian search giant does seem to have done quite a lot of thinking this time. Google+ is quite different to both Buzz and Wave (which were essentially the same thing, repackaged). They’ve concentrated a lot more on taking the social experience you have with your friends in the ‘real’ world, into their new online space.

The service revolves round five specific areas.

Circles – This could be likened to the current Facebook groups or Twitter lists. The idea is to put your friends into certain ‘circles’. You can then choose which circles you want to share specific updates with, in a sense similar to how you mix in different social circles in the real world (wonder where they got that name from). It’s a basic idea, but the interface is looking nice so far, a drag and drop system, making Facebook look a little ancient in comparison.

Hangouts – Take a multiway conversation like we used to see in MSN messenger, add Skype to it and then multiply by as many users as you like and you are left with ‘Hangouts’. The idea here is to bring the whole idea of a big group conversation to life online. The system is a little different to current services. Anyone can enter or leave a ‘hangout’ whenever they want. People can also talk at any time – whoever is talking at that moment (or talking the loudest!) will appear largest on the screen automatically – pretty clever. I don’t think it will quite replace actually hanging out with mates, but it’s certainly a more powerful and perhaps more importantly web-based way of live video-chatting – something even Skype hasn’t achieved yet.

Instant Upload – It is what it says. You take a picture on your Android (and possibly other OS’s) powered phone and it will be uploaded to your own private library online. You can then choose which circles see it. Personally, I think online uploads are already easy enough for the social networks, but Google disagrees claiming that this will take the pain out of getting pics from device to online.

Sparks – Despite all their many web apps and mobile OS’s, Google will always be best at search, so it’s no surprise it shows up prominently in Google+. Sparks help you find people you may be interested in by searching for specific topics. You can then save these searches for later, all very similar to Twitter’s search of the timeline.

Huddle – The final feature Google are previewing. Huddle takes the idea of instant messaging, puts it with text and then adds several participants. This can be used on your phone or online and is of course instant. Nothing that revolutionary here, perhaps the instant part of it, but still a necessary part of any social tool.

And that’s all we know so far. Google have claimed that all their services will be integrated into Google+ , so that means map sharing and YouTube will no doubt be part of it too as they were with Wave.

The ideas are there, the tech is there and the know-how is there – but there’s one more thing Google need, users. This was beyond anything else, the problem I encountered with both Wave and Buzz. It was hard to make use of the services when everyone else was using Facebook. By changing the name to Google+ ( a more obvious term)and integrating their services together (presumably straight off the webpages) they may attract that audience that they so vitally need.

I also think Google+ could be a winner for business use. Facebook doesn’t seem like the right tool, Twitter can be too basic, but conferencing and sharing over Google+ could work. It’s already been successful for Google Docs.

At present Google+ is being tested by a small focus group, but Google claim this is going well and the full worldwide version will be launching shortly. I don’t see it as a Facebook beater, but it may well be the first to give them a challenge.


BBC drops Podcast’s for ‘Free Download’

June 14, 2011

I was surprised to learn whilst listening to my ‘Best of Moyles’ podcast today (yes I do listen to his show and I do find him funny!) that the podcast itself would be coming to an end from July 1st. Luckily that doesn’t mean that the actual feature will be coming to an end, I can still download and listen later on my iPhone, but the name will be changing… to ‘Free Download’.

What? I almost crashed my car trying to work out the thinking behind that one. Chris Moyles explained it as ‘[the BBC think] You don’t know what a podcast is, therefore the BBC are changing the name of the podcast’.

Is this really the thinking behind the change? I hardly think ‘Free Download’ explains what the product is any better. A free download could be many things, whereas a podcast is a show, normally audio, that is downloadable to your MP3 player to be listened to when you want. Perhaps the BBC are worried that the term podcast is a bit vague and confusing. Maybe it’s too new a phrase, after all we’ve only been using it since 2005… (and for that matter the BBC have for most of that time too).

But I don’t think this decision boils down to the fact that Podcast could be seen as favouring Apple’s iPod series of MP3 players. And it’s true that we get the name podcast from the a combination of iPod and broadcasting – in a way it has always been a subtle advert for Apple.

But I think we’re beyond that now, people see podcasts as exactly what they are, they don’t see it as favouring any one player (we all know they play on any or even stream online). Heck, podcast has even been accepted into the Oxford dictionary, it’s not just tech talk, it’s an actual term! And if the BBc were trying to avoid links with Apple, perhaps they shouldn’t have named their on demand service iPlayer!

I see absolutely no benefit in renaming the BBC podcast, out of all broadcasters in the UK, the Beeb have the most and we all know what they are. Although I don’t expect it to make much difference, the only thing the ‘Free Download’ name can bring is more confusion rather than less.

It’s a strange and bizarre decision, but then that seems to be very much the BBC’s thing at the moment – I’ll bring you my views and memories of BBC Television Centre tomorrow…


Sunday Rants – Music Labels are soooo archaic!

June 12, 2011

A quick rant this week, but one that is fairly relevant to current events. As you should know if you’ve been reading the blog (which I’m sure all of you do!) this week Apple revealed it’s new iCloud service at WWDC. As part of this service, you will be able to match songs on your computer to cloud copies on iTunes and stream them to your Apple devices anywhere for a small fee.

Except it seems this aspect of iCloud is still not quite ironed out. Apple plan to launch the service in Autumn this year, but will be unable to in several territories including the UK. Why? Because the music labels still aren’t happy about the service. These are the same music labels who happily made multi-million pound deals with Apple to get this service live in the US, but wont do it across the pond. Granted we on’t know the exact ins and outs, but seeing as Google and Amazon already have similar service set up giving the music labels NOTHING, I would say they have a pretty good deal going.

They give the reasoning of not knowing exactly what impact the new service will make as yet and so are biding their time before continuing, but I think these bigwigs are yet to realise that their time is up.

The music industry have been notoriously poor at evolving when new things come along and they still haven’t really moved into the 21st century and the age of the computer. They do little about the piracy which is widely happening throughout the net and then sulk that their profits are down. They seem to think that they can still command every other media around them, as was possible in the 80’s when the music industry was all powerful and dominant. But now we have the internet and the big labels still seem to ignore it’s existence.

The iCloud service will give the industry a little bit of money back for music that has been pirated. In a way it’s a big step for the industry, effectively introducing an amnesty for those who have ‘illegally’ got music on their systems in return for a new cloud service for these individuals. It’s making money for the industry which they never had, yet due to them not making agreements in all countries including our own, they’re delaying progress and a chance for them to truly enter the digital age.

And who is disadvantaged from all of this? The consumer. It’s always us!

The music labels just annoy me because they just refuse to accept progress and continue on blindly thinking they’re the dominant force. They seem to think they can stop Amazon and Google’s music lockers even though the files stored on them are probably legally done so.  They need to evolve and move on and iCloud gives them the option to do so.

I do think they’ll do it eventually, but there’s no need for these ridiculous delays, maybe they should be watching the film, TV and games industries who have all taken to the internet in a big way and are therefore now beating the music industry for profits… stop being so damn archaic!

I’m off to watch some F1, enjoy your Sunday 😀