Weekly Poll: Will Apple Compete With Dropbox?

Much has been speculated over the idea of Apple creating a competing service to Dropbox – either under the MobileMe/iDisk banner, or through a completely new service. Some people think it would be great for competition, and others think that Dropbox already has the market sewn up.

I’d hazard a guess that the majority of AppStorm readers are Dropbox users in some form or another (if not, you should be!) It’s hands down one of the most useful applications I’ve ever had the pleasure of using.

Will Apple launch a competing service? My hunch is no – at least not directly. There’s little reason for them to create a like-for-like competitor that allows storage of all your files in the cloud.

There is, however, a good opportunity for them to create a better sync platform, so that developers don’t feel the need to use Dropbox as a central storage location for syncing between multiple Macs/iOS devices. This would be much better handled by the OS, and it’s an area where I’d love to see some innovation from Apple.

What do you think? Have your say in the comments, and let me know whether you think Apple has a plan to get into this market!


  • http://www.perezfox.com Prescott Perez-Fox

    Dropbox is one of the few apps/services that has changed my workflow in a most fundamental way. It is absolutely great in that it simultaneously provides sync, off-site (cloud) hosting, and versioning. I doubt that Apple could introduce a single service to capture all of these aspects without messing up severely.

    For sync, MobileMe is getting better for contacts/calendars, but still has a way to go. As a geek, I never bothered with Time Machine, seeing as a solution for my parents, not for the expert user who wants to get under the hood.

    I would be perfectly happy to see something “powered by Dropbox” as part of the MobileMe suite or even part of the OS. Perhaps they’d arrange a way to have true, real-time syncing over a local network, with the ability to work offline when not connected. I can’t see Apple giving away a could-based service for free and having it be any good.

  • Jow

    Apple iDisk that comes with Mobile Me already competes with Dropbox, it’s not as good but it definitely competes for the same market.

    • Rob

      I’ve both mobileme and Dropbox Pro (100G) and after months of use I’d say there is no way iDisk can compare even remotely with Dropbox. Backup, sharing on web, sharing on a LAN, is seamless. On the other side my MBP slows down every time mobileme sync to the cloud!

  • http://twitter.com/seegee seegee

    if apple can make mobileme free of charge, then i guess many of IOS user and mac user will go for it. so far mobileme cannot compete with Dropbox.

    • http://digitalformula.net Chris

      +1

      If Apple created a cloud-based storage service that was *free*, I’d use it. It’d have to have at least the same storage as Dropbox gives for free, though (obviously). I’d also prefer it to be a separate service that doesn’t require MobileMe but that’s only because I’ve had a couple of bad experiences with MobileMe.

  • http://nerdramblings.Tumblr.com Jden

    The only thing that worries me with an Apple version is that they may not support Windows and Linux with a native solution.

    • http://davidappleyard.net David Appleyard

      That’s a really good point. I’m sure they’d have a web version, but a native Windows client would be unlikely.

      It wouldn’t be a problem for me, but I can see it being a major deal-breaker for anyone who uses both platforms…

    • http://digitalformula.net Chris

      Agreed – was just about to write the same thing after my previous comment.

      It would be cool if Apple *did* create a Windows and Linux version of a cloud-based storage client. I’ve heard mention of an app store for Windows being in the works (second hand info, I have no proof). Maybe Apple could make their Windows client available there, if they make one.

    • Zidizei

      I agree.
      that was actually the reason I found out about Dropbox, since I was looking for an easy way to move files between my Windows/Linux machine and my MacBook.

      And it’s not only Win/Linux/Mac, there’s also Android and Blackberry that Dropbox supports… doubt that Apple would be serving them a native App.

  • Vivek

    I’ve heard about the new AirDrop in Lion which is Mac and Peer-Peer only. So I think Dropbox is still the best free 2GB cloud/peer-peer service.

  • skz

    dropbox is cross-platform so I can work with people with win and linux…dropbox win

  • http://miasmi.com Miasmi

    I’ve been a MobileMe subscriber since it was .Mac. Signed up for a free Dropbox account over a year ago and just upgraded to a 50 GB Pro account. Having serious thoughts about dropping MobileMe when my account is up for renewal this October. Dropbox is much more frictionless, faster, and reliable. The only advantage MobileMe has is photo galleries, which are very well done. Plus, my Omni apps and Yojimbo only sync with MobileMe (to my knowledge).

    Unless Apple acts soon to improve, I’ll likely be dropping MobileMe this fall.

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  • http://cueburst.com Adrian

    I’m the only person in my Family with a Mac, and i tend to share files with friends/family who use Windows, so for this reason i’ll stick to what i’m currently using.

    If Apple added the functionality for other operating systems, then maybe.
    But at the moment, i can’t see it competing.

  • Pimpology

    Dropbox has its uses for me but but there’s plenty of room for a solid competitor. The primary benefit of Dropbox is also its limitation. It’s simplicity in integrating into the computer means that I’ve got to be careful to make sure that if I’m sharing a library or database in Dropbox I can’t have the same app open and writing to that DB or corruption could happen.

    So what I need is smarter sync system that sends the delta changes to a file including storing the versions yet doesn’t encumber me with fretting over “did I close down my app on my home computer?”

    I would like better encryption and the ability to compress some files to save storage space.

    I would like http access so that I can access my files from all computers. I would like the ability to take an iOS 5.0 device and backup the entire library to iCloud. I could choose between actually backing up my applications and iTunes music or I could create a backup that only saves the documents and preferences of apps and links to iTunes music reducing the size of the backup.

    I would like to be able to make purchases an save them to my Locker so that I can save them to my Mac/PC/iOS device at a later time. This would allow me to make a purchase from ANY computer without the need for iTunes running on said computer.

    There’s lots of room for improvement. Dropbox is king because of simplicity…if Apple can ante up on the features yet still keep simplicity they could have a winner.

  • http://kyrenedesigns.com KatherineJ

    I currently use dropbox but it could be made a bit easier to use – copying and moving are not as great as I’d like. It’s not my fave app to use!

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