Apple released a slew of updates yesterday including the much-awaited iOS 5 and the launch of the syncing service, iCloud. I’m not sure if there is any other instance of a company releasing so many (online) products in one day. I don’t even know if that’s a good idea especially when Steve Jobs himself had wondered if releasing MobileMe alongside the iOS 2 and the App Store was a good idea. I had brief hiccups while updating my iPhone when it gave me some random 3200 error; third time was a charm. The Mac OS X update and the iPad update however went smoothly. The real frenzy has yet to begin with the iPhone 4S hitting the stores tomorrow and with more than a million pre-orders in the first 24 hours, you can bet there will be more talk of things breaking down.
Considering we have a plethora of Mac products – a Mac, two iPads, an iPhone, and Apple TV – all of which needed updates, I was glad to have them all updated by 7pm while others were still struggling with theirs. Although I don’t know why I bothered to update my iPhone since the new one is arriving tomorrow; the update does make it better though even if it is for two days. In hindsight, perhaps iCloud should have been turned on a couple of days before releasing iOS 5 but knowing how deeply integrated it is now with the OS, I don’t know if it was even possible. I would’ve loved to be a fly on the wall during the meeting when they planned the order of the updates and see the frenetic activity behind the scenes when the updates rolled out.
We should know in a week or two on how reliable iCloud is. People mistake iCloud for some kinda Dropbox or Google Docs which it isn’t (David Pogue has a short column on what it actually is). It works best when you barely notice it exists. The syncing so far seems very seamless and quick. Photos taken using the iPhone appear in the iPhoto and Apple TV photostream within seconds. The new apps you download also appear within seconds on all your iDevices. The tasks, contacts, and calendars also synced without a hiccup. I don’t use iWork so am not sure how quick those changes appear. Also, from what I have heard, the MobileMe transition to iCloud hasn’t been smooth so there definitely are kinks that need to be addressed. I bet no one working at Apple datacenters is going home anything soon.