One of the challenges of making the shift from the PC era into the post-PC era is keeping data synchronized between mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets, and notebooks, and static devices such as desktops.
One solution is to turn to the cloud as a way to seamlessly integrate PC and post-PC devices.
This is exactly what Apple has done, building a whole host of services that have become the cornerstone of its OS X and iOS platforms. Owners of Macs, iPhones and iPads have access to a wide variety of services including iMessage, iCloud backup, and mail that mesh mobile with desktop.
But the problem with cloud services is that sometimes they aren't there when you need them.
In order to keep users informed, Apple has rolled out a new status page for its various cloud offerings that provide far more detail than the previous system status page did.
Each section is broken down into individual products and services. There's also a detailed timeline which covers 24 hours that shows the exact percentage of users affected and which services are affected.
This is an unprecedented level of transparency from Apple, and while this information will be useful to all users, it will be of most benefit to Apple's enterprise customers. For the average consumer cloud services downtime is an inconvenience, but for business users is can cost money. Making detailed system information available will build confidence in the services and also means users can rule out cloud services problems for themselves without having to call the IT helpdesk, thereby saving time and money.
Last month, Pacific Crest analyst Andy Hargreaves wondered whether Apple's gross profit per unit had likely peaked down, in part, to volume sales of iPad driving lower gross profit per unit of Apple product sold. Volume sales mean sales to enterprise and education markets, and a shift to these markets will invariably results in a decline in gross profits, but the upside is breaking into new and, in the long-term, very lucrative, markets. In order to make this work, Apple needs to open up and be more transparent when it comes to problems.
This new status page is a step in the right direction.