iPhone File Frustration: Solution Impending?

By  |  Tuesday, February 2, 2010 at 5:31 pm

Everybody grouses about the lack of multitasking for third-party apps on the iPhone (and iPad). But another limitation of the current platform is at least as limiting: The data sandboxing files that hobbles third-party apps’ ability to move files on and off the iPhone or share them with other applications.

Today, there’s both bad news and good news on this front. Bad news: Apple made e-book reader Stanza (owned by Amazon.com) remove a feature for transferring books via USB, on the grounds that it violated the iPhone developer agreement.

Good news: Ars Technica is reporting that iPhone OS 3.2, the version on the iPad, has a shared-storage folder that’s accessible to third-party apps–including computer apps that can see the folder when the iPhone is attached via USB. If that shows up on the iPhone (which it presumably will) it’ll go a significant way towards reducing the every-app-is-an-island feel that iPhone software tends to have.

As long as I’m at it, another request: The iPhone/iPad e-mail clients should allow detaching of attachments into this shared folder, so that applications such as word processors and spreadsheets can get easy access to documents for editing. Maybe this is in iPhone OS 3.2 and I just don’t know about it yet–I’d assume that Apple would want it for the iPad versions of the iWork apps, and it would be a major bummer if Apple apps could get at attachments and other programs couldn’t…



2 Comments For This Post

  1. ceebee Says:

    Now I realize why there is no USB port on the Ipad. To prevent from being sued by the stupid DMCA laws. DMCA should have NEVER existed in the first place.

    Instead of people pointing the finger at Apple and putting a negative spin on the Ipad, put the blame where it really belongs. And that’s on the government and big name corporations that control the government.

  2. Bob Van Valzah Says:

    I’ve picked up a subtly different spin from developers. I understand that there will be one shared folder per app. The question is what it’s shared with. I’m thinking they’ll keep the walls between applications on the iPhone/iPad, but allow desktop access to the shared folders. So I’m thinking copy/paste will be the only way to move between say Keynote and Pages on the iPad if you’re on the iPad. But if you plug your iPad into your desktop, you’ll see a shared folder that in turn contains one folder per application (e.g. one for Keynote files and one for Pages files). I think Apple is trying to keep a very tight binding between iPad files and the apps that created them or open them. No hierarchy. No need to worry about where you saved it since you can save it in only one spot. No creator types. No worries about file extensions. When you delete the app, all the files go with it.