One of the first things I did once I got iOS 5 and the update to OS X Lion was get iCloud set up and running. I think iCloud is great and I like how well contacts sync up, but, frankly, iCloud isn’t indispensable to my life right now. What is indispensable? Dropbox. I’ve lost count of the number of my essential apps that I sync through Dropbox. Just this morning I finished a newsletter draft and I didn’t have to email it around, I just let the team know that I had finished the draft and they could check it out in the shared Dropbox folder (not that they couldn’t have read it before).
I share files between computers. I share files back and forth to my iOS devices. I save work in progress there knowing that, in addition to Time Machine and Crashplan, Dropbox is backing up the files too (with versions!). I have shared folders with people who use Macs and PCs and maybe even some Linux folks thrown in there too. I have 50+ GB of space on Dropbox thanks to paying extra for it plus all the referral bonuses.
Yes, no question, Dropbox is essential.
Right now iCloud isn’t.
But it could be.
All Apple needs to do is offer to buy Dropbox (again). I know Apple tried to buy Dropbox before, and maybe the price and timing wasn’t right to make it come together. I think Apple should try again.
Apple is betting a lot on iCloud and while they have their sights set on Dropbox (and other services), they just can’t compete right now. Scooping up Dropbox, game over. To compete iCloud needs storage that I can get to on my Mac and iOS devices. I need to be able to share folders with other users—regardless of platform. I need apps that seamlessly sync to a Dropbox folder so I can have updated data on the go.
It will take Apple a long while for iCloud to get there. Not to mention those of us who are already invested in Dropbox aren’t going to switch overnight. Reach out to Windows users? Apple is going to have a hard time getting PC Dropbox users to iCloud—no matter how much PC users love their iPhones and iPads. The smart move is for Apple to take some of its billions in cash and gold-plated stock and woo Dropbox again. If they succeed, I think all of us are going to find that iCloud’s lining isn’t silver, but platinum.