iCloud Puts an OS in the Clouds



I caught some early impressions of iCloud over at WebWorkerDaily and thought it was right up my alley. The beta service is free to try and runs a virtual operating system in your browser. It’s lightweight and best supported on Internet Explorer at the moment: Firefox support is an alpha, although it worked fine for me this morning. Well, there were some compatibility warning pop-ups, but that’s to be expected for alpha browser support.

If you take a look at iCloud and you’re familiar with Microsoft (s MSFT) Windows, you’re sure to see some similarities. The user interface is very XP-like, although there’s an optional sidebar that’s Vista-esque. Applications are fairly limited — you’ll see a basic Write app and a Mail app, for example, as well as a bunch of games and such. Call me crazy, but if I was creating a “web OS,” I’d look to put desktop applications in it that aren’t readily available as web applications. There’s already a number of online document editors that are accessible in a browser and most mail applications are also available through a URL.

Still, this is just a beta and I’m not writing it off by any means. The interface is clean, performance isn’t bad and there are a number of collaboration and sharing options available. I plan to watch the iCloud form over time and give it a much closer look as it matures. With a very basic device, connectivity and a web browser, the iCloud is an idea that has merit.



Hey have you checked out Startforce Webtop. Its in public beta


Isn’t that pretty close to what Microsoft tries to do with applications for Live Mesh ?


Am I the only one who does not see the point of an operating system on the web?
Web-based applications, yes! Web-based OS? Why? And why do we call this OS when it is nothing more than a selection of applications?
It may be on OS when I can develop or deploy applications onto it – but why would I do it if those applications are web-based to start with?

Tory Larson

I would like to see a browser in the cloud. I know…a browser within a browser…how stupid, right? But here’s the deal…I don’t know how many times I’ve been working on reading something in my browser and had about 5 tabs open when something has come up that I need/want to switch computers. It would be great to have a way to completely suspend that browser session and pick it up, just as it was, somewhere else.

Jonathan Cohen

Without immediate access to docs from Google docs or (my favourite) Dropbox, there’s really no way I’d use this. I need a cloud OS to be able to access my emails and docs and other files right out of the box.


It’s an interesting tech demo (probably, I couldn’t even get the login screen to work on FF for Mac) but I don’t see how a graphically intensive desktop metaphor is of any advantage when you want a browser-based “OS”.

Functionality-wise you’re probably getting much more out of Google or SoHo apps.


Am I the only one who ever loses their internet connection or cannot afford to have 3G connectivity for my laptop? I do way too much work on the run to rely on an internet connection to be able to get to my documents and operating system.

It has a lot of applications, but I think we’re a LONG way from this being a good option for the majority of folks.

Simon Mackie

According to iCloud you should still be able to work with it even if you lose your connection. I wouldn’t rely on it though!


just thinking … sitting in the middle of nowhere .. ya know, that’s where high speed internet still does NOT exist

Simon Mackie

The collaboration features are pretty cool – multiple people can edit the same document.

I’m just hoping they can sort out browser compatibility. The company’s vision is great, they want you to be able to use icloud on anything – but the current reality doesn’t match it. It doesn’t work at all in Chrome, for example.

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