I don't have another syncing solution to what you want other than what Apple provides, but I'm not saying there isn't one. I too am very concerned about what data I put out over the web. But I think there is a point of trying to be too protective and making things too difficult. If you continue to upgrade the OS for new services, then at some point you will have to give in and use the new technology and learn how to be secure as you can with it.
You must realize that every time you send someone over the internet that it is in the cloud somewheres. Every email or transaction you made is stored somewhere.
Every time you are connected to the internet, you are vunerable to being hacked, even though you are behind a firewall. Using iCloud is no more dangerous than being on the internet or being loged into mail. POP accounts are just as vunerable to attacks as IMAP. Remove important emails from the server and move them to local folders which will remove them from the server. The article from Steve referring to the guy that got hacked is a bit vague. That guy left his account vunerable. If he had not enabled the Find My Mac in iCloud, his devices could not have been wiped clean or hacked. It is a useful feature for mobile devices, but Apple needs to redo some features of it to where people can't gain access to it without additional password info. The fact that his gmail account got deleted is because he had it associated with the Apple ID. You do not have to associated you other email accounts with your Apple ID. I'm sure Apple will address the issue and make changes.
The only data you can store in iCloud is Contacts, Calendars & Reminders, Bookmarks, Notes, and Photos. Documents & Data are only documents for Apple products such as iWorks. You just can't upload files from your computer for storage. Anything you don't want in iCloud can be unchecked. For .me email, that's up to you whether or not you want to use it. It is nothing more than an IMAP account. Your other accounts will have nothing to do with the iCloud storage other than what address you associate with your Apple ID.
My suggestion is one you probably won't like, but it is to go ahead and enable iCloud. Unless you have sensitive data in your Address Book or Calendars or Notes, then it shouldn't be a big deal even if someone does hack your Apple ID provided you take the time to configure it securely. Since you have 6 Apple devices, it would be the most convinient and trouble free way to sync basic information between devices.
I did not see anything other than Notes that iTunes can't sync, so you can continue to use iTunes in conjunction with iCloud to sync only Notes, although I don't see any advantage of that except for music.
If you think you will have better luck with Windows, then that's OK too. However, do you really think you will be more secure with them?
Thanks, Glenn, for your thoughts on iCloud and safety. I do not disagree with your points, I believe it is a personal preference and choice, which Apple sems to be gradually eliminating and I do not like that.
Agree with you on e-mail safety, but e-mail is for sharing with someone, therefore by default you relinquish ownership of the content at least to the recipients, as you cannot control what they will do with it and that is no different from sending a mail through the post. That information is for someone else.
Agree with you on the absolute safety of anything connected to the web....but it is in your hand to deal with it.
What I am against is to have my information (that is for me, to be used on my physical devices) stored on someone else's server, with ownership T&Cs hidden behind an 85 page EULA only decifferable by lawyers.
I am absolutely happy for services like find my iPhone to work through iCloud - there is no other way.
You are right, at the moment it is only Notes that stopped working via iTunes, but the trend at Apple is clear.
What I am looking for is a solution to use my home network to allow devices to sync data when they are connected (like previously with iTunes wifi sync), without having to trust the data to someone else and most importantly to overburden a terribly slow broadband connection in rural Britain (paticularly if it comes to picture syncing). I see no need for that unless I want to have all my devices synced instantly where ever I happen to be. I do not have a need for that.
When I meant Windows, I meant whoever has a solution that bypasses the web. I would not trust Microsoft any more than others. (And do not want the technical hassle I used to have with their system either).
Thanks for you thoughts.
I don't see how Mt Lion and iCloud changes anything that existed before iCloud. Apple hasn't yet (so far as I know) removed WiFi syncing of contact and calendars from iTunes. I haven't checked to see if those options have been removed because I'm not concerned about my calendar and reminder being synced to the cloud - they aren't classified information in my mind. (Other information is, but not those two.) I don't know if iOS 6 changes anything or not.
You are correct. The more the OS evolves, the more reliant those basic syncing functions will be moved to iCloud. That's why I suggested to back up on the OS or go with the flow and use iCloud for only what's needed. Apple can tag my Contacts and Calendars as ownership in the Cloud, but it's still my data and they don't have the right to share or give out that data without my permission. If that changes, then I will pull everything out. And besides, as I've said, I don't have any data in Contacts, Calendars, Reminders, or Notes that contains any personal information and suggest that no-one else puts personal info in there either.
You can continue to use iTunes for syncing. Just notes won't sync. If you need notes synced to all devices, you could look in the app store for another note applicaiton that will sync or an add on syncing application (possibly with iTunes) that will sync notes without iCloud. There are also other syncing applications that may handled all your needs if you want to go that route. Problem is setting those up and keeping up with the updates and problems that may occur.
I suggested earlier to continue iTunes syncing and enable iCloud for note syncing only.
Even though your broadband connection is slow, you will never notice anything going on. Only photostream may take time for uploading and downloading pictures, but you don't have to enable it.
If you decide to try it, do not enable any services to start when signing into iCloud. Once in, you can open iCloud preferences and just enable notes for the accounts used. This will give you the oppurtunity to try it and learn a little about it. Before enabling anything else, you should learn what you can about iCloud and familiarize yourself as much as possible about the next app you will enable. If you become comfortable enough, try adding Contacts to it. If you feel you've made a mistake, you can sign out of iCloud at any time, go to the iCloud.com website and delete any data stored for any application you enabled.
If you decide not to, I understand. I'm not here to push iCloud on anyone.
I'm 58 years old and had my own issues about using iCloud and the way things were evolving. I too was someone who only wanted my data locally. But after a lot of thought, I decided to try it and have never looked back. My data is still only local with the exception of the few app data mentioned in iCloud that can do me no harm. I realized that when using multiple devices, there is really no better way to do this. I'm not going to fight the future progress, but will continue to make sure I'm only putting out basic info and that I know enough about it to make it secure as possible.
Z001, I'm in agreement with you. I don't like the idea of my personal information on a cloud server. I, too, wish Apple had given users the option to sync notes via hardwire at home. Before Mountain Lion, I was able to USB sync via iTunes my Contacts, Notes, Calendars, etc. between my iPhone, my iPad, my wife's iPad, and my MacBook Air without any data leaving the house. The trend seems to be towards iCloud. I may be paranoid, but having had my credit card and identity information hacked and used, I am very wary. Hope that Apple decides to give us non-iCloud options.
Yes, I did indicate that Notes is not available in iTunes syncing. But everything else should be as it was in Lion. The article in the OP first post indicates that Note syncing is not available in iTune syncing.
However, if you are using IMAP accounts for email, then you can sync notes using IMAP. You just need to enable notes for IMAP accounts in Mail, Contacts & Calendars located in system preferences for each account and on each device.
And IMAP mail accounts won't need any additional software or applications to sync mail.
Not specifically addressing you on this:
This is just my opinion, but I believe people are so paranoid about someone hacking into their life that people just believe iCloud is bad. It isn't any worse than loging your computer on the internet, accessing a website, or recieving email. If fact, it really isn't even close to being as dangerous. Everytime your computer is logged into cyberspace, or you are exchanging data, you are vunerable to some threat. You are in the cloud whether you like it or not. Apple's iCloud has very little data exchange and is fully up to the user as to what to enable. And you have full control of what is there. How can you have little trust in iCloud, but go to a website without thinking about it. Practically every website stores a cookie on you computer gathering information, even if you only allow it temproarily.
I would absolutely trust my AB or Calendar in iCloud much more than putting the information on a Yahoo or Google site. People have no issues doing that, even though they are putting their info in the cloud. Only difference is the name doesn't contain Cloud.
My point is instead of being paranoid and missing out on the functionality of iCloud which is designed for people with multiple Apple devices, just learn to use it. Common sense should dictate the information you put there and use only what you need. If you have one device, then you absolutely have no use for iCloud or other syncing options.
What he said.
Unless your personal finances are cash only, you have no insurance and no bank account, you've never gone to the doctor or the hospital, never shopped online, and you have no customer courtesy cards, your personal life is already on computers connected to the Internet. And lets not forget your tax information, driver license, etc. For just a few dollars anyone who cares to can find out every little detail about you. What's a calendar, contacts, and notes adding to that?
Thank you for the different points of view on whether or not to use iCloud. As I mentioned, I believe it is a personal choice and it should remain a personal choice (dear Apple!).
What the initial question aimed at is to find reliable alternative (i.e. non-iCloud or IMAP) based sync solutions for Notes right now and for anything else in the future (I believe the next versions of iTunes and IOS are likely to gradually withdraw direct sync functionalities and push everything towards the cloud).
Thank you for all the contributions.