However, there is never any confusion about Google Docs synchronizing to your account and it being available on every platform. Need it on your iPhone or iPad? No problem -- the Google Docs are eminently available.
In contrast, what about accessing and editing iCloud documents on your Android smartphone or tablet? Whoops. Good luck on an elegant solution to that one.
Apple's comparative problem doesn't end with the initial account setup. Depending on how many iCloud accounts you set up -- using the new iCloud email address, plus something based on your Gmail address, perhaps something else as well -- you could get them mixed up between all of your Apple devices over time.
For example, you may have signed in under one iCloud account on your Mac PC. Then under another iCloud account when you set up your iPhone, and on another when you set up your iPad. I hear these kinds of scenarios from iCloud users all the time.I think most people would agree that these kinds of scenarios almost never happen with Android devices. The reason for this is that you're not creating one (or more) new account IDs, and you're not confused which is which. You sign in with your existing Gmail account everywhere and you're not induced to try something else. No confusion. I can hear the cries from the Apple back-benchers already: I have never had this problem! And you may be right. Clearly, some Apple users "just pick" one iCloud ID, stick to it or only use Apple devices and never look back. Some would refer to these people as the most loyal of iSheep; others perhaps don't rely on the Apple devices for everything they do. Yet, others have encountered a problem of conflicting or suboptimal Apple IDs chosen, go to the Apple Store and find some help in changing or consolidating these accounts. And that's great. In the end, they get it to work -- after some technical support. But it's not a matter of it working or not. The issue was ease of use. Whatever other issues there are with these devices, at the core is account management -- your choice of user identity and email address, and on this point it seems Google leaves almost no source for confusion. In this aspect, Google does have a somewhat "unfair" advantage over Apple: The issue of ID management is greatly enhanced when you already are using that company's email as your primary email to begin with. At over 425 million users, Google easily trumps Apple in this regard. Google's email ID advantage then translates into the less-confusing device setup and synchronization experience on smartphones, tablets and PCs. The problem I describe is perhaps not easily seen by someone who has only had one or two iOS devices, set them up once and have been happy campers since. They're going to ask, "What the heck is he talking about?" It is true this problem exposes itself more clearly the more devices you use, including more devices on more platforms -- so you can compare setting up new devices every day on Android, iOS, Mac, Chrome OS and more. With that, I buckle up and brace for the worst. At the time of publication the author was long AAPL and GOOG. Follow @antonwahlman This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.
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