Typically, I try to avoid back-to-back Trend Tuesday posts on similar topics. This week, though, I’m making an exception because of a number of announcements by Apple at its recently completed Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC 2014). One aspect of the Hybrid Cloud, covered in the most recent post, is the personal cloud and a number of Apple’s announcements about future capabilities touched, in some way, on iCloud, Apple’s personal cloud solution.
The news that got most of my attention was related to what Apple is calling ‘Continuity.’ In essence, Continuity describes a number of new capabilities that users of Apple’s devices will get in future versions of their Mac operating system (OS X Yosemite) and their mobile operating system (iOS 8), both of which are coming this fall. The capabilities represent a big step forward when it comes to cross-device utilization.
Life is full of stops and starts. We get interrupted in the middle of something, perhaps a child is crying in another room. We suddenly realize we need to be in a meeting. We simply need to take a break from whatever we’ve been working on. These things happen all throughout a typical day and are often unplanned. The idea of Continuity is that those interruptions can be handled seamlessly and with little regard to whether you’re continuously using the same device. Apple describes all of the benefits of Continuity on their web page dedicated to the topic.
We’ll be able to start writing an email on our iPhone or iPad and pick up where we left off when we start using our Mac. The same will be true of a variety of other applications. We’ll be able to receive or initiate iPhone calls using our Mac or iPad as long as they’re on the same Wi-Fi network. Similar cross-device capabilities will be possible for text messaging. Applications on all of these devices are able to accomplish these shared activities because, in each instance, the user has connected to their personal cloud – in Apple’s case, iCloud.
A few related trends are virtually certain to emerge going forward. First, seemingly continuous cross-device activities will become the norm for other major suppliers’ device and application ecosystems. Microsoft, for example, already promotes Windows 8.1 as ‘Your Windows, everywhere – it goes where you go’ and OneDrive as ‘Your files are always with you.’ Second, more highly sophisticated applications will emerge that support continuity (the concept, not just Apple’s capital ‘C’ version of it). And, finally, such applications will deliver their conveniences beyond just phones, tablets, and personal computers. Nuance, for example, is at the forefront of similar capabilities that are based on voice recognition and involve televisions and, potentially, other devices.
The bottom line of all of this is simple. Our lives often get complicated enough and, as technology evolves, it should take full advantage of our personal clouds to make our lives easier, not more difficult. Our ‘digital lives’ should continuously reflect, track, or otherwise stay in synch with what is happening in our physical lives – and do so with little or no extra effort required on our part.