Apple sees most clearly how integration between devices and the cloud, with the cloud as the memory system between devices, is a competitive advantage. Network effects are not only in terms of more users of a system or platform, but more uses across systems for a single user. This means that the Mac OSX notebook becomes more valuable when it and the Iphone are connected via Cloud, and it also means that the Ipad is more valuable when connected with Iphone and Mac OSX (Lion, specificially). We see now that the ipod touch is a part of this platform as well, and is targeted to be the mobile gaming platform of choice (with the Ipad likely to compete in this space as well).
This new icloud and cloud/sync in general means that it will be possible to have all our data with us on all our devices, all the time (and all of it also stored in the cloud). However, this really doesn't work yet and the vaporware demonstration of Steve regarding how the icloud works (his final presentation) indicates once again how these company leaders are all of one piece when it comes to self-propaganda.
How Many Gigs?
Back to the discussion.
My devices and storage capacity
- MacBook Air 256gb SSD (new and speedy, w/ 4gb ram)
- MSI Wind x320, 256gb HDD (old and crashy, w/ 2gb ram)
- External drives, 1 @ 500gb HDD, 1 @ 1,000gb HDD (this last one just purchased for ~$100 USD)
- HTC Desire Android phone, 16gb micro SD (I've got several (3) @ 2gb micro sd just lying around the house, used them in the old Nokia N82 that died this summer)
- Ipad 16gb (64gb model available, but storage not needed unless keeping music or video on the device)
- USB memory stick 4gb (just to transfer data to printers or between friends/co-workers computers)
- Kindle 3, 3gb
- Ipod Shuffle, 2gb (this is just too small (in capacity), since the playlists get boring within a month and a lot of moving stuff around has to happen) Now, a lot of my data is duplicated across these devices and form-factors. The real innovations in storage are that the Iphone now has 64gb model and the ipod nano, the size of a matchbook, has 16gb model: http://www.apple.com/ipod/compare-ipod-models/ What operating system will be running the watch-sized computer in the future? And at what point is there 128gb in that model? Clearly another 18 months and 128gb will be in the phone. In current trajectory within 5 years we should have 128gb in the watch. I see 128gb as a key number since that can basically fit all my data including my music (but not movies). 256gb is needed for full functionality (all applications, a fully functional operating system, and lots of spare storage for large projects like video editing).