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Computers are interesting devices. They’re easily one of the most influential inventions mankind has ever produced, and are crucial to almost everything we do today. From smartphones to tablets to Google’s massive servers around the globe, computers come in all shapes and sizes and are used for a mind-boggling array of tasks.

What sets apart computers from the wheel, hammer, engine, and other major inventions of humanity is the varied ways a computer can be put to use. They can calculate the amount of fuel needed to get to the moon, animate characters and render picture-perfect landscapes, and let you talk with friends around the globe. Computers don’t do this on their own, though. The special thing is the software or apps that run on them. Without software, computers are simply black boxes.

So what makes one type of software different from another? Why would you choose web apps over native applications, and why does it really matter?


Last week at Apple’s annual WWDC, Steve Jobs took the stage during the keynote address to unveil Apple’s latest product:¬†iCloud. The successor of .Mac and MobileMe, iCloud was pitched as the unifier between Apple’s disparate computing devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, and Macs. With it, your data would be accessible anytime, no matter which of your devices you’re using.

After giving an initial description of the service, Jobs went on to describe the his views on files and the cloud around 82 minutes into the keynote:

Now some people think the cloud is just a hard disk in the sky, right? And you take a bunch of stuff, and you put it in your Dropbox or your iDisk or whatever, and it transfers it up to the cloud and stores it. Then you drag whatever you want back out and store it on your devices.

We think it’s way more than that, and we call it iCloud.

~ Steve Jobs, June 6, 2011