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iPhone apps having their own 'file spaces', and the future of mobile office suites

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iPhone apps having their own 'file spaces', and the future of mobile office suites
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Amsterdam
2008-07-15, 04:23

In a telling interview by App Scout with Greg Joswiak, he says that the reason there is no Office Suite for iPhone yet, could be that each app has it's own "file space". "There's no cross-application file structure", he says.

It was already occurring to me that Apple was organizing their iTunes and iLife apps more and more that way as well. You don't really need the Finder or open/save dialogs when using them.
For resource management you use a library, a cross-app media browser, or some combination of both.
For project management you use the column on the left side, where projects are grouped by project type, project view, or maybe date, or whatever.
For sharing and collaboration, you use several share or export commands, tailored to whatever is relevant - like the media browser, a pdf, email or web gallery.

The funny thing is that when I work in Pages, I often wish for the same structure, *because* I exchange especially iWork files a lot and integrate a lot of iLife files in them. I tend to keep my Pages files to myself and export my work as pdfs, since during the past year the compatibility with and between Word versions has been hitting a new low.

What I'm trying to say is that it looks a lot like Apple is moving more and more away from a file handling model where each app depends on the Finder and open/save dialogs - towards apps that are project managers, file handlers and file modifiers themselves, that communicate with the outside world via "export to..." and "share with..." commands - and that this could be a good, worldwide trend.

Since the best way to handle files really is so filetype specific, this wil give developers great opportunities to tweak and refine their apps and distinquish them from their competition.

It also offers great opportunities for scaling down desktop apps to mobile and web versions and keeping them connected via a "cloud" like MobileMe.
Mail, iTunes and iPhoto are actually being fantastic examples of this.

So looking at Google Docs, iWork, .net and Office Mobile, it looks a lot like office apps will go this way as well. This is going to make the battle for office functionality on mobile phones more and more interesting. Who is bringing the best mobile integration? Who makes the best trade-offs when adapting their apps to the desktop, the phone and the web?

Last edited by Doxxic : 2008-07-15 at 04:33.
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