If Apple can't keep its own site up, can we really count on iCloud?

Summary:Since Apple claims iCloud will be the central hub for the digital lives of a hundred million or so iOS users, they need to be able to prove iCloud will be able to hold up under the demand.

Update: I published this article before the heartbreaking news of Steve Jobs' passing. Our condolences go out to all of his family, his friends, and those who worked for and with him.

My thoughts: One more thing. Remembering Steve Jobs.

The original article begins here.

Yesterday's iPhone announcement was full of both surprises and letdowns. For all of us pundits, our pre-announcement of the non-existent iPhone 5 was something of a universal disappointment.

See also: ZDNet iPhone coverage

On the other hand, Apple (who, to be fair, never, ever made mention of an iPhone 5) announced a fair successor to the iPhone 4, complete with faster processor, better camera, and new voice capabilities.

But the iPhone 4S is not really the big news of the week. The big news is that iOS 5 -- the version of iOS that is meant to bring Apple users into the world of cloud computing -- is set to debut in seven days.

Seven days.

At that point, Apple is going to ask you to trust them with your documents and your mobile life, all constantly and dynamically syncing to the cloud.

Or, well sinking, anyway.

Here's what's got me thinking. Yesterday, Apple did a product announcement. Granted, every new utterance from Apple is treated as the second coming, often with almost as much interest as a Super Bowl, but even so, yesterday was just a product announcement.

Many tech Web sites buckled under the load. We, here at ZDNet, were going to live blog using a service called CoverItLive, but within minutes of our logging in, the service died, presumably under too heavy a load from the Apple faithful tuning in to watch our site (and many others) live blog the event.

But then, the Apple.com site went down, as chronicled by CNET's own Elinor Mills. Apple.com came to a screaming, screeching halt.

Did I mention that iCloud is supposed to go live in seven days?

Now, the Apple faithful out there will tell me this was an event of unprecedented popularity and Apple's not expected to keep their site up under such a load. They might even say that if other sites couldn't stay up under the massed interest, why should Apple be any different -- especially since their site is at the Ground Zero of the attention tsunami?

This would be true, except that Apple is asking you to trust them with your data. This will not be the only big traffic day Apple has to weather. There will be natural disasters, there will be Super Bowls, there will be presidential elections, there will be unfortunate news about Britney Spears, Justin Bieber, and Paris Hilton to bring down servers.

If Apple claims iCloud will be the central hub for the digital lives of a hundred million or so iOS users, they need to be able to prove iCloud will be able to hold up under the demand.

This is not promising. When Apple's MobileMe service launched, it was a dog. There were complaints everywhere, and it was clear Apple didn't quite get the cloud world.

Now, they've renamed it and re-purposed it, calling it iCloud and asking you to trust them with everything digital you hold dear.

Apple couldn't even keep its own Web site up and running during a mere product announcement.

Seven days. I did mention that iCloud is supposed to go live in seven days, didn't I?

Seven days.

I don't think this is going to be pretty.

Topics: Cloud, Apple, Browser, Hardware, Mobile OS, Mobility, Smartphones, Software Development

About

In addition to hosting the ZDNet Government and ZDNet DIY-IT blogs, CBS Interactive's Distinguished Lecturer David Gewirtz is an author, U.S. policy advisor and computer scientist. He is featured in The History Channel special The President's Book of Secrets, is one of America's foremost cyber-security experts, and is a top expert on savi... Full Bio

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