Is Apple misrepresenting iCloud (Photo Stream) in the recent commercial?

In the most recent commercial from Apple, in which the firm touts the simplicity of iCloud, users are seen taking photos that instantly appear on computers linked together via “the cloud.”

The only problem with this presentation of iCloud would be that the scenarios in which the photos are being taken—on the beach, in a a snowy park, etc.— would questionably fit the scenarios in which Photo Stream via iCloud will actually work so automagically.  Why, do you ask?

Because Photo Stream is not setup to work over cellular data networks, the sorts of networks to which you are most likely connected when you are at places like the beach, public parks, etc.  While this sort of instant sync would be excellent, it is not exactly possible (at this point) with an iPhone—even apparently if you have an unlimited data account.

According to Apple’s own description inside the iOS setting, Photo Stream “automatically uploads new photos to iCloud and downloads them to all of your devices, when connected to Wi-Fi.”

Alternatively, from Apple’s own support site: ”

On an iOS device, new photos you take will be automatically uploaded to your Photo Stream when you leave the Camera app and are connected to Wi-Fi. Note: Photo Stream does not push photos over cellular connections.

I added the bold highlights because these highlights matter.

So while iCloud does enable calendar items, contacts, and similar sorts of data do update on iClouded machines almost instantly, even over cellular data connections, Photo Stream is different.

Unless the iOS is doing something other than what it says it does, you will not see the same sort of instant gratification presented in the commercial when taking pictures while connected to cellular data networks.  You have to be hanging out on a beach that offers public WiFi. Oh, and wait until after you close the camera app.

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