Will iCloud Have 5 Million Users by January 1, 2013

June 30, 2011 § 1 Comment

June 30, 2011.  Last night I got into a debate with a good friend about whether or not iCloud could reach 5 million users by 2013, essentially a year after its release this fall.

I took the side that 5 million, while it does not sound like a lot of people, is from a music/technology perspective. I think the uphill battle for Apple is that both Google and Amazon’s service do not seem to be taking off, that people are not ready for another conversion effort (it really was not that long ago that we all turned our CDs to digital), and for many of us…having music locally stored is working fine.

On the other hand, my friend believes that this service is going to be incredibly convenient, the conversion will be simple since it just requires a scan and match (which in many cases may result in getting higher quality music), its inexpensive at $25 per year, and with Wi-Fi everywhere users will always have access to their music without being tied to any one device.

I like all of these ideas in principle. However, there are some issues worth mentioning.

– Matching does not always work that well. A lot of tracks will not match as the file name is incorrect, has a misspelling, etc. This will leave people with partially matched libraries and may possibly result in some frustration. For all of those mismatches…it is back to uploading again.

– $25 per year. Does not sound like a lot, but it might just be enough to annoy. Especially since that only gives you enough space for 25,000 songs. This knocks out those with really big libraries and may force people to decide what goes up in the cloud versus stays on the local machine.

– Access everywhere. Love the idea, but as it stands…if I am using this service with my Apple iPhone on a 3G network than I am going to have a lot of issues. For me, I get terrible reception at the office and in my house. Wi-Fi does offer a solution to this, but I don’t think a perfect one. What about when I am in my car, what about when I am “off the grid,” etc.

So for me, these are a couple of reasons why I took the conservative side of the bet. At the end of the day, adoption of new technology is based on how big a perceived problem is (e.g. in this case managing one’s music library) and how easy a new solution is to implement). If the problem is large people will adopt solutions that are imperfect, but if the problem is livable, the solution has to be really cheap, easy-to-use, and also offer incremental value. I don’t think the current versions of personal cloud storage do that and that the problems are significant enough.

So..on January 1, 2013 I will be enjoying a beer and happy “I told you so” moment.

If you think I am wrong…please let me know. If you want in on the bet that is fine too!


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§ One Response to Will iCloud Have 5 Million Users by January 1, 2013

  • YP says:

    So after reading your reasoning why this number won’t be reached and listing the 25,000 songs limit as one of the many reasons why, I decided to see how many songs I actually had since that limit wasn’t really quantifiable to me. I consider myself a music collector on the extreme side of the spectrum and probably have more mp3s than most people I know. Total amount = 18,500 songs. I have definitely cut back on downloading music over the years but still consider that to be a large collection of music. I’m not saying iCloud is the best option out there, but with typical Apple users not having a problem buying hundreds of 0.99 songs, $75+ on iPhone service and $15+ on iPad service, I just don’t see $25 being that much of an issue spread out over one year.

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