Last night we had diner at my parents house, and during coffee and dessert the conversation turned to high school, and how people have changed since those days.
I for one had long hair, was always dressed in black and most students considered me a geek. These days, being a geek is socially accepted, my blacks have turned into colors, and the long hair is long gone.
My girlfriend had never seen any photos of me of those days so I quickly grabbed my iPad so show her some pictures. It’s only today that I realized the significance.
A few months ago I had made the switch from Aperture to Dropbox as my main photo storage. More out of frustration with Aperture, than for my love of Dropbox. But as it turned out, it was a good decision because I now had an archive of my entire live’s worth of photos in the palm of my hand.
People don’t want to be tied to one app for a certain file type, stuck in these app silos where the data only exists within one app. This feels like a dictator telling us how we can use our devices and it understandably rubs advanced users the wrong way. Moreover the huge fear is that if we go the way of obscuring the file system, like it is in iOS, advanced users will be stuck in a world where we lack control over our own creations. — Brooks Review
Apple has PhotoStream as a way to have your last thousand photos readily available on any device. But nowhere to see your older stuff. And with iCloud, more so than Dropbox, files sync between devices without a moments thought. I can start this text as a single sentence on my iPhone, write the article on my iPad and do a final spell check on my Mac before posting it online. But what if I need a draft that's stored on my Mac?
Ben Brooks describes iCloud as app silos, which locks content to a specific app and which hides the file system to users. He proposed open in or move to as a way to solve those file-limitations.
But even so, iCloud lacks. With Dropbox I have all my files available when I need them, but out of sight when I don’t, so I can focus on the ones I’m currently working with.
With iCloud I have all my files here and now in one app, but nowhere to put them when I’m done.
What Dropbox offers, and iCloud doesn’t is an archive. Dropbox is a place to make your content available everywhere, anytime at a moments notice, but only when you need it. iCloud only has storage as an option. Files are in your app, or you delete them, they can’t float just behind the horizon for future use.
This brings me to my current balance:
- iCloud as a moving work in progress between devices.
- Dropbox as an archive, to store data once it’s finished.
If Apple solves the archive, is has a complete iCloud.