Apple's locked down policies for software and content like movies and TV shows tie everything to your Apple ID, a log-in that you might use for the iTunes store, the Mac App store, .me web services and a few other places. As previously discussed, the Apple ID is becoming ever more central in Mac OS X Lion and the iCloud, where it's now also the log-in for all the new online services like syncing, photo stream and wireless back ups.
But some people have multiple Apple IDs and want to have access to everything under one log-in. Others live with a spouse, partner or larger family and want to share some content and services but not everything -- we want to share our movies with our kids but not our email or file back ups, for example.
And Apple's not making it easy -- it's getting even harder to manager under Lion. TidBits' Glenn Fleishman outlines just how much more inconvenient, complicated and unpleasant the situation is going to get once iCloud arrives. His conclusion is not happy:
However useful a family-level umbrella account might seem or even the capability to merge Apple ID accounts, I fear that Apple simply doesn’t care. They would rather pursue a course of simple action than provide assistance to millions of people who want group accounts for a family or to merge multiple accounts. It’s too much individual hand-holding for a company that thinks like Apple. Sadly, as far as I can tell from past performance, Apple doesn’t think anything is broken at all.
-TidBITS, September 19, 2011