10 Trends for 2007: 4. Communications: The Network is the computer

Since they are online, your applications and information will always be available anywhere, regardless of the device you use to access them. But will they replace the applications on your Mac? Probably not.

Office 2.0

When Yahoo began offering its email accounts ten years ago, it was one of the first elements in what has come to be known as Office 2.0. Since then, dozens of other web-based applications and data warehousing services have jumped on the bandwagon.

However, such online applications have their own drawbacks. A fast and reliable connection is required. If the connection is slow or intermittent, the app may crash; And even if you have a really fast network connection, such applications can still seem slow. “Web application interfaces are going to be slower compared to desktop applications,” as Jason Fried notes in 37 Signals. They also require a certain amount of faith. You will need to trust the security of the data and the stability of your providers. “You must believe that they will be in charge of protecting your data and that they will remain in business for as long as they can meet your needs,” as Ismael Chang Ghalimi, CEO of Intaglio and founder of the Office 2.0 conference, points out.

For these and other reasons, it is quite likely that online applications will supplement your Mac applications rather than replace them. Ghalimi points out that no matter how good web applications get, users will always want to sync data between them and their desktops (or in the case of mobile users, between online applications and their smartphones or laptops).

Fried says, “I think there will be some applications that work better online and others that work better on the desktop. It’s a matter of finding what works best for each one.” He cites Apple’s iTunes application as an example of how people can eventually move between online applications and desktop applications: the application obtains data from the web, while still allowing users to work with materials stored on the hard drive. local. “The desk is still a great place to get work done. The Internet is a great place where you can save completed materials.”

One of the keys to this hybrid world of local and online applications is data synchronization. Right now is an area in which Apple could improve dramatically.

Buying advice

Don’t get rid of Apple iLife or Microsoft Office. But if you haven’t already, you should try some web-based services and see how they can complement the applications you have on your Mac.

You can comment on this trend in the Macworld Forum