It’s often said that Apple is a front runner in design and technology, and when you think about it they are only a front runner in the psychology of how we interact with the device and technology itself, not the sociology of how more than one individual interacts with their technology, or even moreso, how media produced on one iOS device can be shared with family and friends.
This is really exemplified when you take a picture, and you try to share it with a family member. It is sort of locked in your iPhone or iPad, and it’s very hard to share with other people. Sure, then you put it in iPhoto, but what happens when you put it in iPhoto? Unfortunately it’s very hard to share with other people. Apple had photo sharing included in MobileMe, but now looks as if they are going to kill that, so the one place it seemed like they understood sociology and photo sharing, and they’re killing it. It’s kind of funny that the company that understands how we interact with our devices so well, doesn’t understand how we actually want to share our lives with family members. Instead, if my wife, my parents, and I all go on a day trip with the kids, we wind up with 4 separate silos of photos, each doomed to solitude on separate devices, or worse, in separate iPhoto libraries, possibly even on the same computer. Why? iCloud won’t change this, it’ll just replicate my own silo of photos to my own devices. Even the Apple TV, which should be a hub for merging a family’s photo “silos” fails at this… All the photos you want, one silo at a time.
I’ve jokingly said before that it seems like Apple doesn’t have any employees who have families, or if they do, they never take pictures, and never share the ones they do take with family. The reality is that when Apple kills photo sharing in MobileMe, Facebook will become my central photo sharing hub, because (with work) I can maintain the privacy of my photos and ensure that pictures of my kids, and geolocation information that Twitter really wants to keep public, stays private when I want it to.
Photos are a part of my life post iPhone that they never were before. Apple could own this. Instead, they signed on with Twitter, who wants every photo to be public. You know what? It’s terrifying to me to think that the world of iOS customers will have EXIF geotagging on for all their photos, including those taken at home, and have those photos publicly available, including through Google searches. The irony will be that iOS 5 will enable photo sharing like never before – but not with the people you really want to share your photos, and your life, with.