Is Apple’s iCloud open for business?

I have to admit, I love all things technology. I don’t go anywhere without my iPad – and yes I use it in a business capacity too. So I’ll be interested to see what Apple’s iCloud will delivers for business when it’s released in autumn – but until then the jury’s still out. And here’s why.

iCloud will allow you to store files, videos, apps, photos and music and automatically update to multiple devices via wireless, which is good in theory. No need to sync devices. The fact is in business I use a PC – and I use my iPad. I want to share information between the two. I want the two to be interoperable – and that means the applications I use as well, like Microsoft Office.

While Apple’s official website says you can access all your content from any device including the PC (either Vista or Windows 7), I remain sceptical of how ‘integrated’ the whole experience will be, if you’re not a pure Apple-based user.

In business, I need to access and be able to work in the Microsoft environment, be able to use the full functionality whatever device I’m using. But business files just don’t work natively on Apple devices. And this is where I think Apple is missing a trick.

It saddens me to say it because I love the iPad: it’s intuitive, it’s easy to use, I don’t have to lug a laptop about, and it’s good for taking notes in meetings – a great productivity tool. I just wish that Apple would open up the doors to enable Microsoft applications.

This has made it relatively difficult for the iPad to be widely accepted in business circles because of the lack of seamless interaction with Windows, other than through iTunes which is very restrictive. Even if iCloud manages to launch its own Dropbox, there is still the challenge of using industry standard business file formats in the native iPad operating system.

MS Office for iPad – that’s what businesses really need. Whilst I won’t be parted from my iPad, I also won’t be giving up my regular technology any time soon.

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Alex Reeves, Marketing Director, Access UK, has extensive experience in the IT sector and has over 10 years experience of business development, systems implementation and operations in a multi-channel retail and FMCG environment. Prior to joining Access, Alex managed business development in the retail sector of Ernst & Young. Other roles during Alexs career include managing the delivery of a number of ERP implementation and supply chain advisory projects for KPMG Consulting clients in the FMCG, government, communications and entertainment sectors. Prior to his career in professional services, Alex held an operational role at BMW Rover Group. Alex graduated from Aston University in 1992 with a Bsc (Hons) Computer Science.