Sign up to receive our
daily summary of tech news for free.

Steve Jobs announcing iCloud in 2011. Photo by Bloomberg.
Exclusive
Apple Facebook Google

What’s Holding Back iCloud

Photo: Steve Jobs announcing iCloud in 2011. Photo by Bloomberg.

In June 2011, Steve Jobs took the stage before Apple developers to announce a project close to his heart. It was iCloud, a system for syncing files across Apple devices. Mr. Jobs was particularly excited about the potential to sync photos, one of the most widely used media types, say people who work at Apple.

Yet today, the photo vision, codenamed Hyperion, has yet to be fully realized. The company took a step forward in June, when it announced iCloud Photo Library, a way to store full files of every photo users take with an iPhone or iPad. But this fall, the team missed the initial iOS 8 release, launching an opt-in beta version as part of a later update. Still missing: integration with a forthcoming Photos app for Macs.

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.

Get access to exclusive coverage
Read deeply reported stories from the largest newsroom in tech.
Latest Articles
 
The Briefing
The New Uber, Google Founders’ Letter: The Information’s Tech Briefing

In a sign of the times, Uber said Thursday its restaurant-food delivery revenue surpassed ride-hailing for the first time. Uber Eats revenue rose 103%, to $1.2 billion in the June quarter, and its profit margin—at negative 19%—was the unit’s best in many quarters. Ride-hailing generated just $790 million, down 67% due to pandemic shutdowns.

Uber’s management, starting ...

Latest Briefs
 
Tencent Stock Hit by Trump’s U.S. WeChat Ban
White House: Delist Chinese Companies That Don’t Follow U.S. Audit Requirements
Trump Issues Executive Order Setting 45-Day Deadline for Microsoft-TikTok Deal
Stay in the know
Receive a summary of the day's top tech news—distilled into one email.
Access on the go
View stories on our mobile app and tune into our weekly podcast.
Join live video Q&A’s
Deep-dive into topics like startups and autonomous vehicles with our top reporters and other executives.
Enjoy a clutter-free experience
Read without any banner ads.
True Value Startups Asia
Microsoft’s Talks to Buy TikTok Follow Headwinds for Investor Plan
Microsoft is in serious talks to acquire TikTok, the hugely popular Chinese-owned video app, The Information has confirmed, after separate talks for a U.S.
Exclusive Venture Capital Startups
Startup HeadSpin to Return Funding After Probe of Financial Statements
HeadSpin, a mobile app testing company recently valued at $1.16 billion, plans to return up to $95 million in funding to investors after an internal review of financial irregularities forced it to restate its financials.
Google Facebook
Tech in 2023: What Will and Won’t Have Changed
The coronavirus will have a lasting impact on business. But from where we sit today, it is difficult to tell which of the changes sparked by the pandemic will be temporary and which permanent.
Exclusive Startups E-commerce
Casper’s Sleep Troubles
Hours after Casper Sleep executives rang the bell at the New York Stock Exchange to inaugurate the mattress maker’s initial public offering in early February, the mood at the company’s downtown New York offices was celebratory.
Exclusive Travel Google
Airbnb’s New Strategy: Living Without Google
Employees who worked on Airbnb’s marketing team in recent years have sometimes pondered a tantalizing question: What would happen to the company’s growth if it stopped spending hundreds of millions of dollars a year on ads that appear high up in Google search results?
Startups to Watch Venture Capital Startups
Four Startups Helping You Network in a Virtual World
A new spate of startups is building video communication and virtual event software for the coronavirus era.