Premium Experiences

It is very clear to anyone with even a cursory knowledge of Apple’s workings that they believe iCloud is the lynchpin of their future success (and that ‘cloud computing’ is the future of computing in general). I would be hard-pressed to disagree. This seems to have been obvious to Steve Jobs since around the early 90s.

You can tell because Apple created an internet-first operating system with Mac OS X[1] in tandem with its first cloud effort — iTools.

At WWDC 2002 Apple officially end-of-life’d Mac OS 9 by holding a mock funeral[2] and one month later at Macworld New York they transformed iTools into .Mac, which would become MobileMe and eventually iCloud.

I believe that the dream was always to have the setup Jobs described during his 1997 WWDC Q&A session. That’s what iCloud aspires to be. All your stuff, everywhere, all the time. Whether on a PC or a post-PC.

But then I got this email from Apple:

Your iCloud storage is full. As a reminder, when you exceed your storage plan your devices can no longer back up or save documents to iCloud.

You will continue to receive email for a limited time, but if you do not free up space or upgrade your storage plan soon, you will no longer be able to send or receive new messages with your iCloud email address.

Okay, I’ll have to figure out how to go about addressing this issue (they do link to a kb article). But then, just 60 seconds later I received this message from Apple:

You have now exceeded your iCloud storage, including an additional amount provided to allow you to continue receiving email. As a result, you will not be able to send or receive new email messages with your iCloud email address until you free up storage space or buy more storage.

Now for something that’s supposed to “just work” this is quite a message to receive. I have an iPhone, an iPad, and some Documents in the Cloud — just what Apple expects the average user will have — users like our parents and/or technologically disadvantaged friends.[3]

For something that requires immediate and decisive intervention it should be brain-dead simple to do, but based on the number of how-to articles out there it clearly is not.

Apple needs to take the necessary steps to correct this or it will lead to unhappy and confused customers — who cannot send email — trying to make heads or tails of what is in their iCloud storage and what they can do to correct the situation. I’m not offering any answers or solutions, but for a premium brand — which I believe Apple is — this is decidedly not a premium experience.

  1. Based on Steve’s work on NeXTSTEP in the 80s and early 90s. It was incredible to see how OS X-like it was.  ↩

  2. Maybe that’s what Microsoft was hoping for when they tried the same thing with the iPhone.  ↩

  3. You have no idea how many times I’ve explained to someone how to get mail messages older than 3 days back in their iOS inbox, or events older than 3 months in the iOS Calendar. 3 months isn’t so bad, but 3 days, really? What possible reason would anyone have for making that the default?  ↩