Apple was pretty quick to point the finger someplace besides themselves in the recent celebrity photo brouhaha. It is an Apple tradition that there are never problems with Apple products or services. The only problems are with how customers use Apple products. Remember the Apple response that customers were holding their iPhones wrong?
I will admit to being a long time critic of Apple and its cloud efforts. Part of the reason is that I worked at Apple for so many years and was in the cloud with them from the start. Because of Apple's many tries at getting the web right, I am certain I still have broken website links and lost photo albums not to mention abandoned webpages that I trusted Apple to host.
Still I am going to point the finger at Apple because Apple has never understood the web and the latest implementation of iCloud shows that basic lack of understanding of the web and how most people use it.
Back in 2012, I complained about about Apple's cloud world and said this.
Adding photos to your Picasa web albums, Google drive, Dropbox or your Microsoft Skydrive is much easier than fooling around with your photostream.
I could have also said deleting them is much less of a challenge.
So here is the real problem and it is Apple's problem and not something that users can fix on their own. You cannot administer and manage the photos on your iCloud account from a web interface. In fact you cannot even use a web interface to see what photos are in your iCloud photostream. You have to find the Apple device that put the photos there and delete them from that device.
Just think how backwards that is from the way that the web and other cloud services work? All services that I have used allow me to log into my account and manage my content from the web. If I see a photo album that I do not want to be on the web, I can delete it. I hate to break the news to Tim Cook and his developers but the web usually outlasts Apple devices. I had the problem when I was at Apple. One of my Apple devices would disappear and it was impossible to manage what the device had put on the web.
It is the fatal flaw in Apple's web strategy. Apple is a device centric company and putting a web interface on something means that you could manage your iPhone photos with a Windows or even a Linux computer.
A basic computing rule that web centric companies have figured is that your data should be device independent. I should be able to manage my web photos or content with any device not just one manufactured by Apple.
This becomes very important when devices die or when you decide to switch to another platform. Of course Apple does not want you to switch so they put you in a walled garden where it is inconvenient to switch.
I am not exactly sure how the hackers got the photos that were on iCloud, but I suspect the photos just synced to whatever Apple device they used to get into the account.
By protecting its users from actually seeing files in iCloud, Apple has actually made it much easier for the wrong files to end up and remain on the web. Now I am not defending anyone who is crazy enough to take nude pictures of themselves but in making it so easy for photos to get on the web with an Apple device and so hard to tell what is actually there, Apple bears some responsibility and can help fix the problem.
Apple owes users a web interface and a way to see what photos it is storing on iCloud. I think Apple's brilliant software team could figure that out if Tim Cook told them to do it. Isn't it about time that Apple got the web right. While they are doing it maybe that could fix that document black hole that they have promised to fix.
That's my take on it from the summery Crystal Coast. Come visit, the best of the beach season is yet to come and our warm salt water will help you to stop worrying about what pictures are in your iCloud account.
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