Apple 2.0

Covering the business that Steve Jobs built

Kevin Fox's WWDC wishlist

June 4, 2011: 6:33 AM ET

A veteran designer predicts that iCloud will be to MobileMe what the iPhone was to Apple's Newton

Image: Apple Inc.

Kevin Fox spent three years in the 1990s writing software for the Newton, Apple's (AAPL) first, fumbling attempt to do what the iPhone finally achieved. He went on to design Yahoo's (YHOO) Chat and Messenger services and spent five years at Google (GOOG) where as the head of its user experience and research group he designed Gmail 1.0, Google Calendar 1.0, and Google Reader 2.0.

So when Fox, who now "fight[s] for the users" at Mozilla Labs, talks about what he expects Steve Jobs & Co. to deliver at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference Monday in the triple unveiling of OS X Lion, iOS 5 and iCloud, people listen.

"I don't have any inside info," he wrote Friday in a post on his fury.com blog, "and I make a point of not trying to pry secrets from my friends who work at Apple, but the rumblings are huge. 'iCloud' could mean anything, but given the complete failure of MobileMe over the last decade there's no way Apple would introduce it on such a pedestal unless it's incredible."

Among the features he's looking for: (I quote)

  • Seamless access to any data kept in your Documents folder, and synchronization across machines
  • Universal login using your Apple account: Walk up to any Mac, sign in as a guest using your Apple account credentials and you'll be brought to the same desktop you get on your personal machine.
  • Realtime, continuous syncing of iOS devices will mean never having to plug your iPhone or iPad in to your computer again, or even the need for a computer for syncing at all.
  • Built-in screen sharing of Mac OS to the iPad, to do lightweight actions on your Mac from your iPad.
  • Continuous media play across devices: Play music on your mac, then with a tap shift the music to your iPhone when you're on the go.

"A major theme," he writes, "will be the concept that a task doesn't reside with any particular device, but instead with the person, so shifting devices doesn't mean you have to shift or restart tasks. They'll all be windows into what you're currently doing."

To see Fox's full list, click here.

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About This Author
Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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