There's a lot to learn, and all of it is clever and probably unique.
Al Fasoldt's reviews and commentaries, continuously available online since 1983


Apple giving iPads and iPhones new 'brains' for connectivity

August 14, 2011

By Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2011, Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2011, The Post-Standard

Apple is selling 87,000 iPads a day. With a success like this, who would tamper with a sure thing?

Steve Jobs would. The iPad you know and love is turning into the iPad you don't know so well but will love even more.

That's Steve's big bet. So far, he's been on the money; Apple's now the world's wealthiest corporation.

Steve's going to make your "iDevice" do all sorts of synchronizing -- wirelessly connecting to your computer or your other "iDevices" to share mail, calendars, music, videos and documents -- without requiring you to do a thing. Buy a song on iTunes on your computer and it gets "pushed" to your iPad automatically; take a photo with your iPhone and it's viewable on your iPad, and much, much more.

s The changes aren't in the hardware. They're in the way the iPad and iPad 2 work. And they're free. Your iPad or iPhone will do a mind meld with the new software as soon as Apple makes it available this fall, probably in September.

To make sure you don't miss the upgrade, be sure to plug your iPad or iPhone into your computer using the white Apple cable at least once a week and allow iTunes to check for updates

How is Apple going to make all this wireless stuff happen? Through iCloud. (I know, it's a silly name, but we're stuck with it.)

"There's nothing new to learn," Jobs said when iCloud was introduced earlier this year.

Maybe. From what I can see so far, there's a lot to learn, and all of it is clever and probably unique.

The basic idea is that Apple's iCloud stores all the contents of your iPad or iPhone on Apple's distant servers (storage computers). For example, your email is "pushed" (sent to you automatically as soon as it's received at the server) to your iPad and iPhone; calendars on each device are synced automatically; iBooks you read show up on every "iDevice" (iPad or iPhone) you use.

Among many other changes, your device automatically backs up its own data daily to the iCloud -- with everything stored safely in case you lose music, photos, apps, settings, documents or any other contents.

With this method, you can't end up wearing a dunce cap if your iPad or iPhone is stolen. Apple says many iPad and iPhone users never keep current backups using the current manual method. With the new method, it's all done for you automatically -- and wirelessly.

With the iCloud method, you get the entire contents of your lost device sent to your replacement iPd or iPhone with no work or diligence on your part. If you're like me and tend to leave your belongings on the counter at McDonald's while you wander off to find the salt, you'll be ecstatic at this improvement.