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Apple Creating Cloud-Based Mac? 204

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the how-many-fps-doom dept.
hostedftp writes "In speculation news making the rounds — Apple's recent activities in the Cloud has been leading to conclusions of the what the innovative giant plans to unleash in 2011. The most recent news of Apple applying and securing a patent for a network-boosted OS has made speculators believe Apple is going to launch a Cloud-based operating system for the Mac."
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Apple Creating Cloud-Based Mac?

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  • by alen (225700) on Wednesday January 05, 2011 @12:47PM (#34766132)

    idevices are 2/3 of apple's revenue. Mac's are like the bastard step kids that no one cares about anymore

  • Tim Wu Was Right? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohnNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday January 05, 2011 @12:50PM (#34766170) Journal
    Assuming these predictions are accurate, the end of the article reminded me of Tim Wu predicting Apple is the number one threat to internet freedom [hostedftp.com]:

    Commentators believe the patent could allow Apple to create a subscription-based cloud OS that gives it more control over its users.

    More control over its users.

    On top of that, this whole cloud privacy relationship concept needs to be addressed -- especially when people see commercials [youtube.com] advocating it without fully explaining that your photo, data, computations, whatever are being moved to and performed on other machine external to yours. That single Microsoft commercial has further muddied up how people understand what the cloud is.

    I applaud Apple for their foresight and innovation in this but I see it in line with Tim Wu's fears of Apple further controlling your data and information. I'd have the same fears with Chrome OS and Windows utilizing a cloud of computers just the same. This ideal of executing what you want on your hardware in your property seems to be dying. And with it, privacy or any desire thereof.

    • by SuperKendall (25149) on Wednesday January 05, 2011 @01:04PM (#34766344)

      This ideal of executing what you want on your hardware in your property seems to be dying.

      It's not dying, and will never die.

      What is happening instead is that consumer choices are EXPANDING. Expanding to included choices where they really can have computers that are more secure and managed - as a side effect, they are also locked down. But it is a choice that I think is good for people to have, because most people simply cannot manage computers.

      On the Mac, soon, you'll have a choice to get applications from anywhere - or to get them from a central source that is somewhat vetted, and furthermore ends the hodge-podge of software update mechanisms to one where you get updates when they arrive without fuss. That's a huge boon to most people.

      • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohnNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday January 05, 2011 @01:17PM (#34766512) Journal

        What is happening instead is that consumer choices are EXPANDING.

        I liken it to Facebook's many privacy debacles [slashdot.org]. First let me explain how Facebook -- and I really think this is all Zuckerberg -- works. They want to increase information flow on Facebook. Even private information. But they realize that if they give the user a choice nobody's going to 'take the plunge' and the feature will largely be left as opt-in but never used. So they make it automatic and they deal with the privacy issue after it's been activated across the board. They put on a show about how they hear the users and now you have an option to disable that but it's not disabled because people have been living with it for a couple weeks and by and large nothing seriously bad has happened -- yet. A good example is the news feed debacle [wikipedia.org] that caused users outrage and protests. But now everyone uses it. How did that happen? More importantly: could it have happened at all had not Zuckerberg stood up and made a decision for hundreds of millions of users? I think that answer is "no."

        When I see the Windows commercial, I don't see an option. I see a feature. I see a feature like Facebook's News Feed. It's being marketed as a feature of Windows 7. The woman is using Windows 7 and then she says "To the cloud" real James Bond like and suddenly we're "in the cloud." And that's Windows 7. People then want that. There's no "I just need to upload my photo to Google's Picassa" or any sort of steps warning the user what exactly is happening in the background. No, it's all streamlined feature rich marketing crap. Are they explaining this can be disabled? No, we'll do that later. Where's my data? Who cares? You're in the cloud, you're sexy, you're hip -- privacy is old school for the squares!

        On the Mac, soon, you'll have a choice to get applications from anywhere - or to get them from a central source that is somewhat vetted, and furthermore ends the hodge-podge of software update mechanisms to one where you get updates when they arrive without fuss. That's a huge boon to most people.

        Okay but this isn't the cloud, this is just a really streamlined distribution service. Am I the only person that wants to have two columns for the Pros and Cons of using a cloud based service as the basis of your home operating system!?

        • by I8TheWorm (645702) *

          I completely agree with you. People have been in the cloud for years now without realizing it. Facebook is part of it, Photobucket is part of it, etc...

          Apps in the cloud have been provided as well. Google, Zoho, etc... have been providing that service for years. People haven't moved everything there yet because they're hesitant to give up control. Market it as flashy/shiny/hip though, and they'll start to.

          Then one day they'll realize they can't get to their spreadsheet because they're not able to conne

        • by mcgrew (92797) *

          When I see the Windows commercial, I don't see an option. I see a feature. I see a feature like Facebook's News Feed. It's being marketed as a feature of Windows 7. The woman is using Windows 7 and then she says "To the cloud" real James Bond like and suddenly we're "in the cloud." And that's Windows 7.

          "Sell the sizzle, not the steak."

      • Crow that line all you want -- it could easily be a paradigm shift.

        For that to happen, the platform would have to be hugely attractive initially and hugely profitable in the medium term.

        Investors seek out growth, not a steady state.

    • If you ask Apple really nicely, they'll let you boot it up.

    • >>>More control over Mac users.

      And of course MS also controls its users (via windows, office, etc). I miss the days when we had alternatives like Atari and Commodore to buy hardware.

      >>>I applaud Apple for their foresight and innovation

      Recycling an old idea from the 1980s (cloud software on a central server; lightweight terminals in front of the user) is innovative? No. Although I guess you could call it "green". ;-)

    • by Americano (920576) on Wednesday January 05, 2011 @01:17PM (#34766534)

      Perhaps that ideal is only really of interest to the subset of users who actually understand and enjoy tinkering with computers, and the vast majority of the market has been using general-purpose computers for some time that complicated & difficult to maintain, when they really *wanted* an appliance all along?

      There will still be people who own, use, and tinker with general-purpose computers. They'll be the people who design, build, and program the appliances that the other 95% of the population uses.

      What's funny to me is that everybody seems to be ringing the alarm over Apple, rather than Google, in this space. Apple creates the hardware, and uses the software (this supposed "cloud os") as a means to sell those devices. Google creates software (ChromeOS), and uses that software as a means for delivering ads to you - it doesn't make money from YOU, it makes money from *advertisers*. Who has more access, desire, and interest in being able to conveniently harvest all your data from the Cloud? Apple *could* move more into advertising than their foray into iAds, but their goal is first and foremost, to sell the devices. Google, on the other hand, exists to capture data about you & use that data to present you with ads.

      • by Octorian (14086)

        Here's the problem. Industry is more likely to cater to the 95% than to the 5%. So if you are in that 5%, this locked-down-device movement will deprive you of what you currently have easy access to. Heck, with economies of scale, it may only be a matter of time before only 5% of users can even afford the open-and-flexible computers. (And that subset of users may have little overlap with those that actually want said access. Just remember back when computer illiterate doctors/lawyers had the best PCs, a

        • by Americano (920576)

          Sorry, but this makes no sense. What were the computer-illiterate doctors and lawyers running on their "best PCs available" if no geeks had any computers to write software with?

        • Unlikely. They need us to feed the masses fart apps. I'm being a bit silly, but the point is real. One of the hallmarks of these locked down devices is their inability to be used in writing and compiling their own software. Third party software is as much a feature of iPhone or Android as the part written by Apple or Google. Witness the incalculable number of "there's an app for that" commercials.

          General purpose PCs will become less common in the coming decade I think, but they will remain a large mar

      • Google creates software (ChromeOS), and uses that software as a means for delivering ads to you - it doesn't make money from YOU, it makes money from *advertisers*.

        Well stated! It will forever confound me that Google gets such a pass from the otherwise intellectually stingy slashdot crowd.

        Google sells ads. Apple sells hardware. I can opt out of the hardware.

        • by Duradin (1261418)

          It's pretty simple why Google gets a pass. Google makes Android. Android competes with iOS. iOS is made by Apple. Apple is evil, therefore Google is good.

          • by Belial6 (794905)
            That is intellectually dishonest. Google doesn't get a pass because it competes with Apple. Google gets a pass because they have a history of giving users what users want. While Apple has a history of giving users what Apple wants. The users that get what they want are just the subset of the population that happen to want what Apple gives them.

            Google MAY do evil in cases where they have little choice if they want to continue to exist. The level of this is debatable. Apple chooses to pioneer evil.
            • by Duradin (1261418)

              I rest my case.

            • by Americano (920576)

              Speaking of intellectual dishonesty, have you read your own post?

              "Google gives people what they want." By what metric? Millions of users? Okay, let's use that.

              "Apple doesn't give people what they want." By what metric? If we use the same measure you're using to judge Google, Apple is also *fabulously* successful at giving people what they want: millions of iPods, iPads, iPhones, and Mac OS X systems sold, and growing their share of the computer market at a much faster rate than most (all?) of their co

    • by Jezza (39441)

      Err, is could it just be you have a "OS image" on your own server (probably a flippin' Mac Mini given how Apple think) that you boot all your systems from? (Well assuming they have half-eaten fruit on them) Apple have been showing "NetBoot" for a while, actually the idea is quite nice, especially if you can "Time Machine" it. Everyone like to think Apple want to "control" users. I don't see this, Apple want to make users happy to buy more stuff from them. This isn't such a bad goal, and indeed they do prett

  • Since the blog talking about the cloud has seemingly dissipated, I have to wonder what a "Cloud Based OS" even would mean, if that's even a thing.

    To put things in more practical and less obscure speech, I think what it means is that something very like Dropbox will be more integrated into the system - and that possibly Apple will offer something like network based backup of application data for iOS devices.

    To me the "cloud" of any value, basically ends up being network storage of some flavor.

    • by magarity (164372)

      I have to wonder what a "Cloud Based OS" even would mean

      Sounds like it boots up via PXE from some cloud storage.

      • For company use I can see some benefit.

        For home consumer use, I can't see the return a user gets for relying on something like this. Especially not as people move to laptops which are not connected all the time. Sure you can cache for there's nothing more obnoxious than having MOST applications cached only to find the one you really wanted to use, was not cached just as you are getting into your international plane flight...

        • For buisness use, I'd love to eliminate the local hard drives of my users. They're one of the most common parts to fail, and the local OS gets corrupted all the time (only the cheap ass power supplies we use fail more). There should be an immutable network copy of the OS that they load at boot time. And installing applications should be as simple as copying an image onto your server and setting the licensing information. Actually, I'd run the same setup at home, too. My wife and kid trash their copy of

          • by Belial6 (794905)
            What you suggest has been available for over a decade. Software that will net boot and restore a system to a pristine state has been available for over a decade. Pretty much the only place I have seen it used is in training centers though. If this is a feature that admins feel is important, and yet they have not implemented it by now, I would question their competence. Buying into a whole new ecosystem to get a decade old feature simply makes no sense.

            I am surprised to hear that your wife and kid tra
    • by Tridus (79566)

      The whole point of this "cloud" thing is that nobody knows. It means precisely nothing. Microsoft's "cloud" commercial is a great example, because most of what she's doing has exactly nothing to do with "the cloud" at all.

      The important thing is that making sure "cloud" appears in the ad at least five times provides Buzzword Compliance. In the case of this Apple whatever it is, "cloud" features even more prominently and thus provides more Buzzword Compliance.

      Now if they can create a special iCloud(TM) inside

    • by vlm (69642)

      I have to wonder what a "Cloud Based OS" even would mean, if that's even a thing.

      They already have a perfectly good cloud app for data and small amounts of media.. Probably means you download your apps off the network. Probably use your local hard drive as something of a cache.

      In unix terms youd probably mount a FUSE file system as root, and every time you access anything it tries to check "/nfs/cloudy-with-a-chance-of-segfaults/whatever" to see if a new version exists, and if so, copies it into your cache. And probably tries to save a "backup" on both the local drive and the nfs moun

      • Appletalk was over in the 90s, dude. Apple's been using AFP for at least a decade now.

      • by jo_ham (604554)

        Welcome to the late 90s, when AppleTalk was obsolete. Apple fully supports NFS, but defaults to AFP for network sharing.

    • In addition to a Dropbox-like service, it seems reasonable for Apple to fully integrate MobileMe into the next version of OS X, and as you mentioned backup/sync for iOS seems obvious. They might even extend that service to the Mac App Store.

      Considering the upload speed and reliability of typical residential broadband, I also don't see what the cloud offers end users at this point beyond limited storage and syncing. Anything else would raise privacy concerns, waste bandwidth, and—perhaps most importa

      • In addition to a Dropbox-like service, it seems reasonable for Apple to fully integrate MobileMe into the next version of OS X, and as you mentioned backup/sync for iOS seems obvious. They might even extend that service to the Mac App Store.

        Well, if they integrate Dropbox, that would work. MobileMe not so much. But this is exactly what 'normal' people want. They DON'T want to think about backups, where the data is, WHAT the data is or much of anything else. Asked carefully, they might be able to make a distinction between data on their own computer and data on, for example, Flickr. They might.

        It's all Fucking Magic to 'them'. Hell, I was talking to the nurse running the 120K brand new telemetry system last night (Hey, it runs Linux).

      • In addition to a Dropbox-like service

        But they already have a Dropbox-like service - iDisk. It's not as good as Dropbox, but it's pretty Dropbox-like.

        it seems reasonable for Apple to fully integrate MobileMe into the next version of OS X

        I'm not sure how much more integrated it could get. iDisks mount up just like local disks. MobileMe mail is integrated w/ Mail.app. Galleries goes hand-in-hand w/ iPhoto. Etc.

        Considering the upload speed and reliability of typical residential broadband, I also don't see what

    • by v1 (525388)

      To me the "cloud" of any value, basically ends up being network storage of some flavor.

      This looks to have a significant portion of it as remote processing. Thinking more like the dumb terminals we used to have at the university.

      This could really have its up-sides. After you've made the initial investment at your end, getting the keyboard,mouse,printer,display, then if you want to upgrade later you can just spend a little money on an upgrade to your service. No need to physically replace the machine, and cheaper to boot. No outdated computer going to the landfill. No need to even install s

  • Uh, no. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pushing-robot (1037830) on Wednesday January 05, 2011 @12:52PM (#34766212)

    It reminds me of an old (and unintentionally hilarious) Crucial memory ad: "Your computer...at Internet speed!"

    • Throw in some Intel NetBurst technology and you can accelerate your computing experience to ludicrous speed.
  • It is the dream of all software companies to get products that generate recurring revenue indefinitely. Looks like this might fit that bill.
    • by hedwards (940851)
      Depending upon the implementation, that's not necessarily such a bad thing. One of the problems with OSes is that once you've paid for it, that's the revenue they've got for patching it and providing the next upgrade. Whereas with a subscription model they could provide continuous upgrades for the same price.

      And probably even allow XP users to keep using it indefinitely, or until the number of users gets to be small enough that it's not possible to continue support.

      Of course there is the downside of n
      • Call me paranoid, but what I fear about having what amounts to a support contract become a required cost are the following two scenarios:

        1.) $OS_COMPANY, be it Apple, MS, Red Hat, whoever, takes your money and DOESN'T provide support or patches.

        2.) The cost steadily goes up, and as the applications that run on top of the OS are purchased, the question every month becomes whether to call it quits and cut your losses with the apps and data you have, or pay what can easily amount to charging more because they

  • Are we reaching Peak Cloud?

  • Obviously, they need a bigger cloud.

  • Slashdot has not hand an Apple or cloud article in ages.
  • Hasn't everyone been trying to guess what the big data center they are building is for? Well, this could be the answer you're looking for... TFTP booting has been around since the days of Xterms, maybe even before then.

    It makes perfect sense for user-recovery as well. Imagine this: You've dropped your macbook, and now it won't boot from the HD, but can automatically default to net-booting into a utility that will attempt to repair the HD. It will also allow you to boot into a stripped down OS that allows yo

  • I'm starting to see a few user advantages to this approach- more or less. Theoretically, everything would be on-demand. So, every application would be instantly updatable, and trying new apps could be simpler, too. But it comes attached to a devil's bargain.

    On the positive side, it would give developers a much better way to control their content and derive revenue from it. On the negative side, however, it would give developers a much better way to control their content and derive revenue from it. Since m

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FepgxmNDuZ4 [youtube.com]

    Mac Cloud. It don't take no guff.

    .
  • Dupe ! (Score:3, Informative)

    by steve6534 (809539) on Wednesday January 05, 2011 @01:46PM (#34766890) Homepage
    The same story was posted last night @ 8:20 PM EST- http://apple.slashdot.org/story/11/01/05/0035206/Apple-Patent-Hints-at-Net-Booting-Cloud-Strategy [slashdot.org]
  • This looks like it could be a move to allow people to purchase an appliance that would connect to an Virtual Desktop environment. Similar to what we're seeing in the enterprise space with Wyse, Citrix, VmWare etc... whereby the user has a 'dumb terminal' at their desk and their OS is actually running on a VM in the datacenter. This significantly cuts down the costs especially with those that don't need the mobility of a laptop or specialized hardware at the desktop (graphics designers come to mind). But i

  • Apple: Charging even more, for even less, since 1984.

  • Who in their right mind would want to net-boot even a portion of the OS now that solid state drives are affordable?

  • It'll be one data store with your info, email, apps, documents, etc. The iPad will present one interface, the iPhone another, the laptop yet another. All the same "computer" data and settings.

/earth: file system full.

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