Apple reportedly plans to get into the photo-sharing game with iCloud in iOS 6. The Wall Street Journal cites unnamed sources “familiar” with Apple’s unannounced features, who say that iCloud users will soon be able to organize their uploaded photos into albums, and share them with other iCloud users.
In addition, Apple will also add a video syncing feature to iCloud, according to the report. And Notes and Reminders, two of Apple’s task-oriented apps, will also be made accessible through iCloud.com, rather than only through the mobile apps. At the moment, only email and calendar items are accessible through the iCloud website.
None of this is particularly surprising. Since its launch last year, iCloud has allegedly racked up more than 125 million users, as of April, according to Apple’s count. At the moment, however, iCloud is all about managing files across multiple Apple devices owned by the same person, and lacks any real social elements. Clearly, iCloud has room to expand in this area.
The main problem we expect with an Apple photo-sharing service is that it would be confined within Apple’s walled garden; those without Apple products would be excluded from the fun. And those who do have Apple products would only be able to use them with friends or family member who also have iCloud. Logistically, this could be more hassle than its worth, since it requires users to first figure out who has iCloud and who doesn’t. By the time that’s resolved, you could have just used another service that’s accessible to everyone.
Now, it’s entirely possible that Apple will open up its photo-sharing option to allow non-Apple users access to such photos. But considering its past strategy in this area, such openness seems to us unlikely.
Furthermore, we hope to see some fixes in how iCloud handles photos. At the moment, users may only upload photos to the iCloud Photo Stream from the past 30 days, with a cap of 1,000 images (if you only have the free 5GB allotted to each iCloud user). Unfortunately, there is no way to “pause” Photo Stream — turning it off will delete all uploaded photos. And if you take even an average amount of pictures, reaching the 1,000 image mark isn’t difficult.
Apple is expected to debut iOS 6 (and, presumably, any new iCloud features) at this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference, which is set to take place starting June 11 in San Francisco.