Dropbox for iPad Ubiquity and Usefulness for storing and moving files to iPad
What a brilliant Tool to use – Dropbox for iPad
Quite a few users that are coming across to the iPad, either from the Windows world or even from using the Mac, do sometimes get a little bit confused about the way that you work with files on the iPad. Files are Sandboxed to an application, so that generally when you are looking inside an application for files to open, or to work with, you will only see those files that are applicable to that app. There are some applications that will work with applications that have different endings such as an .rtf file or a doc file or a .txt file. In these sort of applications you will have the opportunity to open whichever these type of files you want from that list in that application. You don’t have to worry about things like, where the file actually are in the system, as the iOS will sort that out for you. On the other hand though, sometimes it can be handy to keep certain files in certain places, i.e. as in a special folder for that group of files and Dropbox gives us a way for us to do that.
Moving files around with Dropbox
There is an application called Dropbox for iPad and this app will synchronise files across multiple devices and systems, so that you always have your files with you when you need them. One way that this works is, for example you might have worked on a file in a Keynote on your Mac. You will have saved this Keynote file to your Dropbox account and this is as simple as saving it to a Dropbox folder on your Mac. You can have subfolders within the Dropbox folder and when you go to the Dropbox iPad application, you will see those same subfolders. Within the iPad Dropbox app you can download the file that you want to work with, such as that Keynote file that you started on your Mac. Then you can send it from Dropbox to your Keynote application on the iPad. This is an extremely easy way to move your files to iPad or to copy your files to the iPad.
Could be quicker to use iTunes and your sync cable
Within Dropbox iPad when you have the iPad in the landscape orientation, you will see a list of files on the left-hand side or a list of folders and files and it is simple to work your way to wherever the file is within that file organisation. Tap on the file that you want and it will be downloaded into Dropbox. Of course you will need to have a Wi-Fi connection to do this or you will need to be connected to a 3G Internet connection through a mobile phone network. When the file is fully downloaded to your iPad you can use the icon which is in the top right-hand corner, which looks like a small square or box with a arrow flowing out to the right. This will give you a number of options of what you are going to be able to do with that file. In the case of the file that is a Keynote file from your Mac, you will be to open that up in Keynote on the iPad. If you are in your office or home and able to use a cable to connect your iPad through USB, then you might find it quicker to move the file to the iPad using iTunes. If you are downloading the file to the iPad through Dropbox it is going to go via the Internet, so that is up to the cloud from your Mac and then down through the Internet and Wi-Fi back to your iPad. Easier or at least quicker to just get out the cable.
Choice of which app to open the file in
When you see the Open In menu there will be a number of options depending upon the applications you have installed on your iPad. On my iPad I can see that I can open the Keynote presentation in GoodReader, Files, Evernote, Team Viewer and a BlueNube as well of course as the Keynote for iPad app. If I don’t need to do any editing of the Keynote presentation and I just need to look at it, then I can do that in Dropbox.
iCloud Aiming for the Ubiquity that Dropbox now has
There are many applications that have dropbox included as part of their capabilities, because Dropbox have made their API available to many software developers. Due to this approach by Dropbox, this way of working with files, has to a certain extent has become the de facto standard using the iPad and other iOS devices. Over time there is the possibility that this may change slightly, because Apple have released iCloud and they also making it available to all of the developers for the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. For the moment, Apple iCloud is not available in many applications and also we can see that the way that it works is not yet fully baked. It need some refining to get to being as useful as Dropbox. It does seem to need some more work doing to it, in order for it to become as ubiquitous as Dropbox has already become.
The Apple way or the Highway
There are some confirmed rumours going around about Apple wanting to buy Dropbox, the company and the technology to integrate into their own iCloud offering. In one way it is a shame that Dropbox didn’t become integrated into iCloud, but on the other hand perhaps it is a good thing that it is separate and offers a different way of doing things from the Apple way. As you know, some of the detractors of Apple have the saying of – It’s the Apple way or the highway. That’s just a way of saying that Apple knows best. Often Apple does know best but not always and then there will always be the mavericks.