WWDC 2013 wish-list: iMore's top iCloud wants!

WWDC 2013 preview: iCloud wish list!

To the internet! That's what everyone is doing these days, and for Apple, that means iCloud. The rebirth of MobileMe, which was the rebirth of .Mac, iCloud has been praised for its effortless backup and restore, easy app and media re-downloads, and it's $0 price tag for the basic level. But it's also caught flack for outages, for iMessage, and for Core Data sync, which has bedeviled developers. So what do the staff and friends of iMore most want to see in iCloud next?

Let's see!

Peter Cohen, managing editor of iMore

iCloud needs better reliability. I frequently have problems with services going down (even though Apple says they're online on its iCloud status page), and even momentary outages are nervewracking. I also have issues with getting calendars, contact lists and other content synchronized through iCloud, so I strongly suspect Apple's got some work to do there.

Ally Kazmucha, how-to editor of iMore

From iCloud, I want a better way to manage files and documents. Whether that's a document browser available across Mac and iOS or another way, I don't know. It just needs to happen.

I'd also like to see more settings when it comes to managing iCloud backups. More specifically, I'd like the ability to delete things from backups and to manage device backups without actually being on that device.

Oh yeah, a much more reliable iMessage. It's a bag of hurt half the time, and that makes it a not so reliable option.

Richard Devine, senior editor of iMore

Some form of file browser for iCloud, even better a web portal and a way to split iCloud files away from being exclusive to the apps you use them with. I appreciate the 'invisible' nature of iCloud syncing, but the thing that stops me using it more is that I can't just go and get the files as I can on Dropbox.

Marc Edwards, co-host of Iterate

What I want from iCloud this year is predictability and stability. Nothing more.

Seth Clifford, co-host of Iterate

What do I want to see from iCloud? I want to see it work.

I don't mean to be so glib, but I can't trust it. And lots of people (both nerds and non-nerds alike) can't either. Apple's own integrations are actually very good (Photo Stream, calendar/contact sync, iCloud backup/restore, etc.) but what's provided to developers for their own integration points is laughable at best. Apple's never been exemplary at web services, but to continue delivering on its own promises - and to compete in the market as things move the way that they are - they've got to stop waving their hands and using hyperbole and actually deliver bulletproof APIs for that stuff.

iCloud has got such potential, but it's so far from being realized in its current state.

Chris Parsons, editor-at-large of Mobile Nations

I'm quite pleased with iCloud as is, it's just a shame it always seem to go down. Improved reliability there would be great.

Anthony, videographer

I want to see device granularity in terms of being able to control what kind/size/age of thing to sync.

Nick Arnott, security columnist

iCloud is an interesting feature in that it improves lives by staying out of the way. Whether it’s restoring a new iPhone to a backup of your old iPhone after dropping it in a river, or making sure that when your iPad dies you can keep playing Real Racing HD on your iPhone, iCloud has done wonders for user experience, while requiring very little adjustment by users.

The problem is that developers have not been able to enjoy the same painless integration as users on their side of things. Despite a number of prominent developers becoming vocal of a broken iCloud, no news has come from Apple about fixing the system. As a user this means there are not as many developers writing apps that make use of iCloud as there could be. Even those that are using iCloud have come to rely on hacky implementations that are potentially unreliable and could easily break. Before Apple goes looking to expand upon iCloud, they need to fix it. Once they do, developers and users alike should be able to enjoy the results.

Rene Ritchie, editor-in-chief of iMore

iCloud was meant to be ubiquitous. All our stuff, on all our devices, where ever we are, when ever we want it. For the most part, for many things, iCloud now does just that. Sure, Core Data sync probably has to be ripped out and replaced with something less impossible, but for mail, backups, and re-downloads, it works.

What I'd really like to see is for iCloud to become even more ubiquitous and for more things. I'd like to become aware of and to preserve state. From notifications to game levels, when I leave one device I want my state stored up on the iCloud and pushed down to all the rest. If I'm using one device, send all my notifications there, and nowhere else. If I'm not using any particular device, blast them everywhere to find me, until I dismiss them somewhere, then kill them everywhere.

If I exit an app, save its current state to iCloud, so if I go back to the same app on another device, I'm in exactly the same spot, Angry Birds or Fantastical, Elements or Infinity Blade.

Sure, it'll be slow at first. And the potential for collisions will be huge. This is a wish list, though, not a reality list, and if you shoot for the moon, sometimes you can still leap mountains.

What's your number one iCloud wish?

So that's what everyone here at iMore wants to see! Well, almost everyone. You're the most important part of the site, so your opinion matters to us the most! Tell me, what's your number one wish come iCloud and WWDC?

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, The TV Show, Vector, ZEN & TECH, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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WWDC 2013 wish-list: iMore's top iCloud wants!

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my #1 wish is that it goes away so i stop being bothered with annoying icloud prompts and messages. personally i don't care for cloud storage

I'd like notification sync. So if I get a mention in tweetbot on my iPhone and I clear it, it clears off my iPad too. Same goes for mail.

"...if you shoot for the moon, sometimes you can still leap mountains." Rene, that's the most optimistic thought process I've ever see. I'm not sure if that's the entire rhetoric to "shoot for the moon," but, either way, it's the first time that I've seen it. I dig it (and I'm stealing it, by the way... haha).

"If I'm using one device, send all my notifications there, and nowhere else. If I'm not using any particular device, blast them everywhere to find me, until I dismiss them somewhere, then kill them everywhere." - this ... this is the single most annoying thing for me. I get a message, an email, a tweet and notifications everywhere and I am constantly having to open and close apps to get rid of them on other devices after I had read it elsewhere!

Also, I seldom, if ever, have the iMessage problem? I've seen the complaints and examples but never had it myself or know anyone to have it. I'm in the UK, maybe it's a carrier issue in the states? Or I'm just lucky.

Apparently Core Data syncing is problematic. Have avoided it, using file-based syncing instead, but the Core Data sync needs to be fixed. Oh, and the whole iCloud API is excessively complex.

Apple needs to stop opaquely filtering email. If its junk, ok, great. Put it in my junk folder and let me sort through it on my time. But don't zap it so both sender and receiver never know that communication took place. That's agonizing and so far I can't fully trust my old .mac account is getting email.

Even moreso, I think Apple should develop a policy to eat their own dog food - they should use these consumer-based services first, so they can feel the pain.

When I add or edit a mail rule or a signature, it will not sync to my other machines. Come on..... And iDevices don't even support mail rules :-(

My no 1 want out of icloud this year is much better photo sync. Personally the current system sucks. Photo stream sucks, and how iPhoto on ios and mac sync suck. Photos should be just like reminders, notes, or contacts. If I take pic on my iPhone it shows up on my other devices or vise versa. Not in a separate "photo stream"...just in Photos. If I delete a photo on one device...it removes it from all devices. If I edit a photo from one device it is then edited on all devices.

I use iPhoto on mac and iPhoto on iOS. This whole process stinks. I should be able to edit a pic on one device and have it then update to the cloud and push down to all devices. It is a major headache keeping all my photo's in sync between iOS camera roll, iOS photo stream, iOS iPhoto, and iPhoto on mac. Personally I think iPhoto should either replace "photos" in iOS as the default...or become the default when you buy it from the app store. (I know under Apple's current app store rules this is not possible..but they are the ones making the rules).

Then when I do "events" or "faces" between iOS and Mac it all syncs. And when I do and undo edits it all syncs. That is what I really want. Now, I am not a professional photographer (hobbist at best), but I have 2 small children and grand parents and aunts and uncles all over the country. So, I am always shooting pics and sharing them. I've found the "shared photo streams" to be handy for sharing pics. Facebook works too but most of my fb friends don't want 30 pics of my kids. Grandma does though and she has an iPhone so I do like that.

I know when I talk about this I run into an issue of storage. The "free" iCloud accounts don't have enough storage for our whole camera roll...hence the Photo stream for the Free accounts. But there should be something much much better for those of us who want a much more "apple" like experience. I already pay a premium for iCloud storage annually just so that my iOS camera roll is backed up in it's entirety (photos and videos too) to the cloud in case I lose or destroy my device. So I have all my photos on the iCloud...now lets sync em up, sync up events, sync up faces, and sync up edits!!

This is a no brainer!!

1. if a notification is dismissed, it gets universally dismissed across all devices.
2. up to 50GB of storage, and expand it to include documents, etc more like dropbox
3. better way to manage photostream and treat it like a real backup solution rather than temp placeholder until i can back up elsewhere.

I have one major complaint about iCloud (besides functional two-factor security and reliability). Practical ability for collaboration. I have documents in the cloud. Why can I not send someone a link and allow them to change the file? A document can sync across my devices, why not to someone else's?

I originally purchased Pages and Numbers for iOS thinking that I would be able to do this. They work well otherwise, but without the ability to work with others (and reliability in syncing) it is practically useless to me.

This is the reason that I moved to Google Docs (now Drive). Its collaboration features are awesome. I am able to have a file open on my iPhone and my TouchPad (running Cyanogenmod), while my fiance and her mother are on two separate computers, all editing the file at once. (We were filling out a guest list.)

Edit: I forgot one more want: Facetime with multiple people at once. This is feature is more marketable as well. Imagine a commercial with Santa coordinating with his elves or new parents showing a baby off to the entire family. (Only available on the new iPhone, iPad, and Mac hardware, for some unexplained reason that makes no sense.)