With the introduction of iCloud, Apple has once more managed to revolutionise the experience users have with their Mac/iPad/iPhone/iPod. It is now possible to create an iWork document in any of the iOS devices and it is immediately updated on iCloud and all other iOS devices. You can change the documents on your computer and upload it to iCloud.
This system has many advantages and great features. I like every single one of them… But I have had one big concern. Organising all my different documents in folders. Now iCloud allows the creation of folders, but it is impossible to create subfolders and so on, like it is possible on your desktop/laptop, DropBox, MobileMe… And there is another issue with iCloud. I have many other documents/files that are saved in other formats than iWork (like word, jpg, psd…) that I can’t/don’t want to convert to iWork format.
Up until now, I have been using Mobile Me and, although it was not perfect, it suited me fine. Not only had I access to all of my files, but I could also open any document on the iOS iWork, edit them and upload the new version to Mobile Me. However, as any Apple aficionado knows, this service is going to be discontinued in July, so all the files that are on the Mobile Me server must be safely saved on your computer, otherwise you will lose them all.
Since I heard this news and found out about iCloud’s limitations, I have been trying to find a solution. If you pay adequate attention to the iOS iWork, when you are opening or saving a document, right beside the iTunes share and Mobile Me options there is an option for WebDav [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WebDav]. Up until the birth of iCloud I totally ignored it.
Since then I have tried to find a way to integrate other cloud services with the iOS iWork apps, but I have not been totally successful. For instance, Dropbox [www.dropbox.com] does not have WebDav service. You will need to get it as a Google open source (which has a ridiculous small upload size for the files you want to upload), or you can sign in to DropDav [www.dropdav.com] and obtain WebDav access to Dropbox and other cloud services for $5 (€3.50) per month which means a $60 (€45) annual expense to use Dropbox with WebDav. Other cloud services already have the WebDav protocol available, but are generally too pricy for the average user. But there are other issues… Like many other Apple geeks, I have more than one cloud account. Besides DropBox, there is also Box [www.box.net], CloudMe [www.cloudme.com], Google Docs [www.docs.google.com] or even Sky Drive [www.skydrive.live.com]. And when I am using iWork for iOS, I can only log in to one of these WebDav clouds at a time. So another problem arises… I want to have all of these cloud services connected at the same time with iWork for iOS, but Apple does not provide this…. Yet.
During a boring night of insomnia I decided to do some more research, and I think I found the perfect solution. The name is iSMEStorage [http://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/ismestorage/id359916522?mt=8] It works in all iOS platforms and it has CloudDav (WebDav) automatically activated, when purchased on an iOS device. It allows you to link up to three cloud accounts. The best of it… You log in to the iWork for iOS apps to your iSMEStorage account and you have access to all your three clouds.
If you have more than three cloud accounts, you can go to www.smestorage.com and get a personal lifetime cloud account. This will let you link all your other cloud accounts on a desktop service (may do a review later if I feel the need for it) and these will be available on your CloudDav.
There are many other advanced features, (that’s for another blog entry), but for now the verdict is very positive. Very user friendly, pleasant interface and very quick. The downside is… The app has a cost: €3.99. But if we take in consideration the huge yearly fees that other services would charge for the same service, €3.99 is peanuts…