iCloud Development Held Up By 'Deep Organizational Issues' at Apple

Development on new features for iCloud is being held up by "deep organizational issues," according to a new report from The Information, which suggests organizational problems are complicating iCloud products and holding up releases. Much of The Information's report requires a subscription to access, but the article's introduction gives a hint at what's going wrong at Apple.

With iOS 8, Apple introduced some major overhauls to iCloud, including iCloud Drive, which allows users to see all of their files in a dedicated folder on the Mac, similar to Dropbox, and iCloud Photo Library, an ambitious project that lets users upload all of their photos to iCloud.

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It seems these features may not be as fully fleshed out as Apple would like, especially when it comes to iCloud Photo Library. iCloud Photo Library wasn't released to the public until iOS 8.1, and it remains in a beta testing phase, with speculation suggesting that iCloud's negative public image due to hacked celebrity accounts and photo leaks may have led to its delay.

Apple is great at building hardware and software that runs on it. But it has long struggled to build services reliant on software that runs remotely rather than on devices. While company executives say they are making progress, interviews with nearly a dozen current and former Apple employees paint a different picture.

Deep organizational issues are holding up releases and complicating products.

According to The Information, Apple's "photo vision" has yet to be "fully realized," with internal problems like the lack of a centralized iCloud team leading to iCloud Photo Library's delayed beta release and the lack of the Photos for Mac app, which isn't expected to be completed until 2015.

Photos for Mac, which will integrate with iCloud Photo Library for a complete photo editing and management system, is said to be taking on elements of both iPhoto and Aperture, two apps that Apple has opted to discontinue in favor of the Photos for Mac app. Launching iCloud Photo Library without a companion Mac app leaves a major piece of the iCloud puzzle missing, as users are not able to edit iCloud Photo Library photos natively on their laptops and desktop computers.

While iCloud Photo Library will remain incomplete for some months yet, Apple has been adding features to the iCloud Photos web app as a stopgap measure. Just last week, the company added a much-needed upload feature to its iCloud.com website, allowing users to add photos to iCloud Photo Library outside of their iOS devices for the first time.

iCloud Photo Library is not the first Apple service that's been delayed by organizational issues within the company. iOS in the Car, which later became CarPlay, saw development issues ahead of its official launch as it did not fit neatly into an existing hardware or software category. Internal issues have also been said to be affecting the development of the Maps app and the introduction of new features, like transit directions, due to poor planning, project management issues, and an ongoing loss of developers.

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Top Rated Comments

zorinlynx Avatar
125 months ago
My biggest problem with the whole iCloud Photo Library is the "all or nothing" approach Apple seems to have towards it.

For example, enabling it will disable the ability to sync photos from Aperture or iPhoto to your phone. Completely.

It's as if Apple expects me to upload my entire photo collection (several hundred GB) to the cloud to be able to continue to do what I do now, which is view selected parts of my photo library on my phone.

Not. Bloody. Likely.

Photos are among the most important data I have. They are irreplaceable. A few are private and I don't want them on the Internet. Apple has also failed to tell us exactly how we are supposed to BACK UP the iCloud Photo Library. All indications point to the cloud library being authoritative. Does Apple really expect us to trust them with the ONLY authoritative copy of our photos? Are they insane?

They did not think this through. Hopefully the delays mean they ARE thinking it through now and will implement it properly. However, I'm not holding my breath and I'm keeping my options open for now.
Score: 109 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Stephroll Avatar
125 months ago
"deep organizational issues,"

understatement of the year
Score: 43 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Wild-Bill Avatar
125 months ago
Maybe they should reconsider their decision to scrap Aperture. :rolleyes:
And maybe they should consider getting away from this insane yearly OS release nonsense. They are clearly releasing things not yet ready for prime time (iOS 8, OSX 10.10).

The "core rot" at Apple is getting worse.
Score: 42 Votes (Like | Disagree)
doug in albq Avatar
125 months ago
Apparently, to Tim Cook, all that matters is selling hadware. As long as there is no drop in that, all else is fine or can be pushed back to the next software update. This mode of operation will catch up to Cook and his hardware sales eventually.
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
oneMadRssn Avatar
125 months ago
My biggest problem with the whole iCloud Photo Library is the "all or nothing" approach Apple seems to have towards it.

For example, enabling it will disable the ability to sync photos from Aperture or iPhoto to your phone. Completely.

It's as if Apple expects me to upload my entire photo collection (several hundred GB) to the cloud to be able to continue to do what I do now, which is view selected parts of my photo library on my phone.

Not. Bloody. Likely.

Photos are among the most important data I have. They are irreplaceable. A few are private and I don't want them on the Internet. Apple has also failed to tell us exactly how we are supposed to BACK UP the iCloud Photo Library. All indications point to the cloud library being authoritative. Does Apple really expect us to trust them with the ONLY authoritative copy of our photos? Are they insane?

They did not think this through. Hopefully the delays mean they ARE thinking it through now and will implement it properly. However, I'm not holding my breath and I'm keeping my options open for now.

I completely agree. I think we should copy and paste your post into Apple's feedback page.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
centauratlas Avatar
125 months ago
Nailed it.

My biggest problem with the whole iCloud Photo Library is the "all or nothing" approach Apple seems to have towards it.

For example, enabling it will disable the ability to sync photos from Aperture or iPhoto to your phone. Completely.

It's as if Apple expects me to upload my entire photo collection (several hundred GB) to the cloud to be able to continue to do what I do now, which is view selected parts of my photo library on my phone.

Not. Bloody. Likely.

Photos are among the most important data I have. They are irreplaceable. A few are private and I don't want them on the Internet. Apple has also failed to tell us exactly how we are supposed to BACK UP the iCloud Photo Library. All indications point to the cloud library being authoritative. Does Apple really expect us to trust them with the ONLY authoritative copy of our photos? Are they insane?

They did not think this through. Hopefully the delays mean they ARE thinking it through now and will implement it properly. However, I'm not holding my breath and I'm keeping my options open for now.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)