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The author of Waffle, some guy in Sweden, also occasionally writes stmts.net.

(Waffle passed out from exhaustion in March 2012 and is now coming back online.)

Sounds Like a Lock To Me

Patently Apple:

One of the key attributes or selling points of Apple’s Safe Deposit Box Application or OS X feature is that your digital valuables could be stored “off site” or beyond the home computer to safeguard your digital valuables which could be something like a Will or Living Will, agreements, life insurance policies, home insurance policies, a simple home inventory list or video or perhaps something that’s really valuable to most every iTunes fan: a copy of your iTunes Library.

Patently Apple is speculating, and it’s in Apple’s interest to file plenty patents just for mutually-assured-destruction purposes, but I don’t believe that a feature like this wasn’t destined for Mac OS X in some way at some point. One angle of the feature that Patently Apple puts stock in is basically iTunes Server.

Time Machine was backup. This feature is primary storage and encryption locally (which means that if you backup with Time Machine, rsync or something else, it gets a local backup), optionally coupled with automatic off-site secondary backup. This is great.

The feature I was hoping for lets you place the data on a local but external drive, manages access so that you get the local copy if possible and go through some routing and tunneling otherwise, and has clear guidelines so that applications like iTunes, iPhoto or media centers may stick their databases there and work the same but with some caching, buffering, latency and asynchrony. Optionally, it also backs up everything from that drive into cloud storage as time and purchased capacity allows.

Nothing of what I propose is rocket science; it takes a few more Back To My Mac servers, some new Time Capsule firmware (and probably boosted capacity) and a little determination to make this work. The payoffs for Apple are enormous: saving huge chunks of everyone’s drives are a powerful motivator to buy both their service and OS revision. So yes, I still feel like Mac OS X Lion will actually deliver something that goes farther than the patent, written right around the Snow Leopard launch, details.

Comments

  1. “The payoffs for Apple are enormous: saving huge chunks of everyone’s drives are a powerful motivator to buy both their service and OS revision.”

    Well…

    Selling bigger SSD storage at a big markup is also a powerful motivator.

    More money in that than in retail sales of an OS, no?

    As far as the service goes, it could work, but it could be a nightmare for consumers too. Some folks have 40GB of data. Some folks have 4TB of data. Confusing pricing is something that Apple likes to avoid. This ain’t Amazon S3, fergawdsakes.

    Plus, I think they’d rather stream you the stuff you’ve registered the rights to without the personal hub / spoke system you imagine. Ain’t the Time Machine in the cloud model too complex for where they want to be?

    That said, it’d be a nice service. It would demonstrate a commitment to OS X that seems utterly out of character for Cupertino these days.

    “So yes, I still feel like Mac OS X Lion will actually deliver something that goes farther than the patent”

    OS 9 was lacking in new features, other than eye candy. I’d love to be wrong.

    By Chucky · 2011.02.20 00:07

  2. Snow Leopard was also lacking in new (consumer-side) features. They’re not going to be able to pull that one twice in a row. Lion has to be a big-hit release.

    By Jordy/Jediknil · 2011.02.20 00:26

  3. Selling bigger SSD storage at a big markup is also a powerful motivator.

    Of course. Unless the markup is too high. We’ve seen some people balk at using the SSD MacBook Air as even a secondary Mac because the prices were too high until they dropped it with the refresh a few months back. Apple would like to switch to SSD (or “flash storage” if you will) everywhere in a heartbeat, but the pricing’s not there because people lug around too much data. When the bigger HDD is your default option, not many people will spring the extra thousand bucks.

    As far as the service goes, it could work, but it could be a nightmare for consumers too. Some folks have 40GB of data. Some folks have 4TB of data. Confusing pricing is something that Apple likes to avoid. This ain’t Amazon S3, fergawdsakes.

    They could solve this very simply. Introduce a new drive — for old time’s sake, let’s call it “The Storage”, although Apple would have either a better name with “Air” or “Time” in it or a worse name starting with “i” or ending with “Extreme”.

    Anyway — introduce “The Storage”, which has one or a few terabytes of storage in it, depending on the model. You hook it up to an AirPort base station of any model, and you can pair it to the cloud service by just entering your Apple ID.

    If you do that, they will back the data you store on their cloud service automatically and free of charge, basically covering the expense by inertia (most people aren’t gonna sign up), the law of large numbers (few people are going to use most of it) and the usual margin. When there’s a 1:1 correlation between the amount you bought and the size you have available, the complexity collapses to a boolean. Either you have the service, and you’ve paid for it, or you don’t and you haven’t. (In the worst case, they add a checkbox to opt out of, or into, automatic cloud-backing. Now we’re up to two booleans, I guess.)

    If you do enter your Apple ID, you can go “Back To My Mac” on it and access it everywhere, like you can mount an iDisk without a black belt in WebDAV. If you don’t, ‘tsall good, you just see it advertised on the local network like any other NAS. There’s endless complexity in what they could do, but there’s a clear route to what they would do.

    OS 9 was lacking in new features, other than eye candy. I’d love to be wrong.

    Mac OS X is not in the OS 9 state yet. I can’t see new iPad apps being as good were they actually coded on iPads. Your not being wrong on this point is not going to be an issue, not for years and certainly not for Lion.

    By Jesper · 2011.02.20 00:29

  4. Dropbox IS it as far as I’m concerned. They depuplicate duplicate data (which is the majority of our Gb and Tb) while handling our relatively small amount of unique data. But I’m sold on the idea of storing that stuff out of ‘the cloud’ (as in the public cloud) – privacy is the obvious anti-Google.

    By JulesLt · 2011.02.20 01:08

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