iCloud Drive almost as good as iDisk

Viticci on iCloud drive:

With iCloud Drive, document sharing, a new document picker, and storage providers from third-party services, Apple is betting on a solution that combines aspects of traditional document organization with a more versatile sandboxing model designed for security and collaboration. It’s too early to tell whether the company may have finally solved inter-app document management on iOS, but – just like extensions – developers are excited, and I’m optimistic.

This is a major step forward from where we are in iOS and I can, sort of, understand why some are getting excited about this (Dropbox killer!) but there are some restrictions and limitations to the iCloud drive service:

As I mentioned above, the document picker will be the only way for users to access documents outside of an app’s container and developers will have to set the scope of their app containers to public. Furthermore, apps that decide to access a document from external app containers won’t simply bypass the sandbox to access the file: rather, apps will store a reference to the file, which will include a security-scoped URL that grants access to the file. The concept of security-scoped URLs isn’t new, as it’s the same technology that Apple uses on OS X to give apps access to files outside their sandbox across relaunches and system restarts.

..or in other words you won't be able to just drag an Excel file from one folder another and rename it - like a grown up.

On reading the excitement, I can't help but reflect on iDisk the service I used to buy from Apple as part of the .Mac package. As Wikipedia reminds us:

iDisk was a file hosting service offered by Apple to all MobileMe members that enabled them to store their digital photos, films and personal files on-line so they could be accessed remotely. With a standard subscription, MobileMe users received a 20 GB iDisk.

iDisk integrated with Mac OS X, appearing as a network drive. Mac OS X v10.3 through v10.6 could cache updates to an iDisk volume while off-line and synchronize updates later. Any WebDAV client could also access an iDisk volume.

Whilst many reported problems with mobile me, my iDisk kept all my key files in sync between multiple Macs and it even had an iOS client. When Apple binned the service in 2012, I was forced to run into the arms of Dropbox. Given the faultless service provided by Dropbox since then, I'm less keen to jilt them and run back into the arms of iCloud Drive. Partly through loyalty to Dropbox who saved my bacon when iDisk was arbitrarily scrapped and partly through the feeling I have of iCloud Drive still being designed to make life frictionless if you live totally in the Apple Eco system and a bit difficult if you don't.