Apple revamps MobileMe iDisk features

Posted:
in Mac Software edited January 2014
MobileMe web applications have received another facelift, with new features including a revised iDisk module that enables easy file sharing using a system Apple first debuted with its iWork.com experiment at Macworld Expo.



Using iDisk



MobileMe's iDisk is a WebDAV-based cloud file share that subscribers can access from the me.com website or mount on their desktop as a volume. Support for iDisk is automatically configured when a user sets up his or her MobileMe account in System Preferences or the MobileMe Control Panel for Windows. In Mac OS X, users can even sync their iDisk locally, so that its files are available even when the system is not connected to the Internet.



Files uploaded to iDisk are private to the MobileMe user, outside of two special folders: Web and Public. Documents copied to the Web folder, including sites posted by the iWeb application, are hosted by the MobileMe web service.



Files copied to Public are available to anyone via http://public.me.com/user. The subscriber may choose to only allow visitors read access, or can enable read and write access via the MobileMe pane of System Preferences. The Public folder can also be assigned an access password for more selective sharing.



Shared Files



The newly enhanced Shared Files feature allows users to select a specific file from the iDisk web interface and share it using the same system Apple debuted in iWork.com. The system sets up a short URL to the shared file along the lines of http://files.me.com/user/31sk02. You can manually email the link to others, or you can enter email addresses directly in the sharing configuration sheet (below) and enter a brief message.







Unlike sharing access to the Public folder, Shared Files allows the subscriber to make the link valid only for a set number of days, weeks or months, with the default being 30 days. The shared file can also be assigned password protection.



If shared users are specified at creation, they will receive an email with a download link. Otherwise, the file is highlighted in a new Shared Files section on the iDisk webpage (below) for keeping track of the currently shared files. The user can click a Sharing Options button to resend the file to new users, extend its valid sharing period, change its password, or stop sharing the file.







Along with the change, Apple also updated the iDisk icon to closer match the iDisk icon presented in the Finder of a volume with a cloud on it. Apple also changed the Account pane from a user silhouette to a gear icon similar to that used by System Preferences or the iPhone's Settings. The previous iDisk interface is shown below. Note that HomePage and Groups features under web sharing, held over from the .Mac era, are slated to disappear at the end of July.







iPhone Integration



Apple has also outlined plans to expand iDisk features to allow iPhone users to access their iDisk files and to directly share files with other iPhone users via the Public folder.



Apple highlights Office and iWork documents, PDFs, and video files as examples of documents users can share via iDisk if they are too big to send via email. Other users can then receive a shared link for downloading directly from their own iPhone, or browse other users' published files using the Public Folders feature.



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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 62
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member
    iDisk performance is extremely poor. My Internet connection is 16Mbit down/1Mbit up, and yet while browsing iDisk, a painful experience, Activity Monitor says there is only 5-6k a second coming down.



    Is it the Webdav protocol? Are there not enough servers or bandwidth allocated to the service? I don't know, but features such as the above are wasted development effort if the basics (performance) aren't there.
  • Reply 2 of 62
    elliots11elliots11 Posts: 270member
    So if trying to view .doc or or rtf or PDFs using this iDisk for iPhone, would it look at them via the Internet or download them to a cache for reading?
  • Reply 3 of 62
    tadunnetadunne Posts: 175member
    but the better sharing features were added back in Feb!?!?!



    http://www.apple.com/mobileme/news/2...ith-idisk.html
  • Reply 4 of 62
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by elliots11 View Post


    So if trying to view .doc or or rtf or PDFs using this iDisk for iPhone, would it look at them via the Internet or download them to a cache for reading?



    It will be a cache.



    It doesn't matter what OS or what software you run, anything opened across a network will be opened in a file that is cached to the local machine. Any changes made get written back to the original file however.
  • Reply 5 of 62
    sinxsinx Posts: 4member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tadunne View Post


    but the better sharing features were added back in Feb!?!?!



    http://www.apple.com/mobileme/news/2...ith-idisk.html



    Ya, they were. I think they got confused with the recent changes.
  • Reply 6 of 62
    virgil-tb2virgil-tb2 Posts: 1,416member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by lowededwookie View Post


    It will be a cache.



    It doesn't matter what OS or what software you run, anything opened across a network will be opened in a file that is cached to the local machine. Any changes made get written back to the original file however.



    Except you can't change the files on the iPhone anyway.



    This is all nice and all but I wish Apple would get their finger out and put together a mobile device that can actually edit files and has a file system and so forth. There are lots of folks that don't want or need the full laptop experience and laptops are so last century anyway.



    No documents and no document editing is iPhone's Achilles heel IMO.



    Edit: If they at least came out with an iDisk app for the iPhone and had an area to hold the files, then others could write word processors.
  • Reply 7 of 62
    dreyfus2dreyfus2 Posts: 1,071member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ascii View Post


    Is it the Webdav protocol? Are there not enough servers or bandwidth allocated to the service? I don't know, but features such as the above are wasted development effort if the basics (performance) aren't there.



    It is a mix of both, as far as I can tell. I normally see a significant performance increase when accessing the iDisk though a third-party software such as SpeedDownload or Cyberduck. The Webdav implementation in the Finder is awful. But even using these tools, the iDisk is still a lot slower than some free services like Dropbox. Heck, even "free" downloads from services like RapidShare are faster.





    I am not really getting the article, too. Besides the changed icons, all these features are available since months?
  • Reply 8 of 62
    virgil-tb2virgil-tb2 Posts: 1,416member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dreyfus2 View Post


    ... I am not really getting the article, too. Besides the changed icons, all these features are available since months?



    Exactly. And if we want to be picky, the desktop icon is still pink and the web icon is still blue, so it's not that "unified" anyway. Even the news about the "expected" iDisk for iPhone app is weeks old.
  • Reply 9 of 62
    pxtpxt Posts: 683member
    Is the use of WebDAV the reason I can't access my iDisk folders from the office, where they use IE6? If the content isn't available on all browsers then you can't rely on it. TMT ( too much technology ).
  • Reply 10 of 62
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by PXT View Post


    Is the use of WebDAV the reason I can't access my iDisk folders from the office, where they use IE6? If the content isn't available on all browsers then you can't rely on it. TMT ( too much technology ).



    I have accessed iDisk folders from Windows before, but that may have been with mapped network drives, not through a web browser.
  • Reply 11 of 62
    cubertcubert Posts: 728member
    I think Apple is very close to justifying the $99 price tag for most users. Currently, MobileMe has a narrow audience, and I think a lot of people will choose to not renew their membership after a year unless Apple adds and refines its features - which, thankfully, they are still doing.
  • Reply 12 of 62
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Cubert View Post


    I think Apple is very close to justifying the $99 price tag for most users. Currently, MobileMe has a narrow audience, and I think a lot of people will choose to not renew their membership after a year unless Apple adds and refines its features - which, thankfully, they are still doing.



    I?ve had it for 5 years and have never once paid $99. Last year I found a .Mac family pack for sale for $69. I?m sure it was a mistake that was meant to be for a single license, which is the common price for .Mac/MM. I bought 3 copies, put in all serials and got an additional 36 months plus the 3 free months we got for the initial MM hiccup when it went live in 2008.



    Considering all the services you get ?the best ones for me are rarely ever even mentioned? I find the price well within reason. Though, now that I back up with TimeMachine, the backing up of all my settings is less important than it used to be.
  • Reply 13 of 62
    This is all old news for the most part. Hey it's a holiday what should we expect. LOL Anyway, I have a synchronous 4MB connection. uploads have worked very well since I upgraded, but I have noticed that 3rd party utilities did make it more reliable before I upgraded. I've been using dotmac since they first released it and I think they've done a pretty good job of making the service worthwhile. I questioned it for years but with so much space, better finder integration, easier file sharing etc. I don't wonder if I should be paying for it any longer. All they need now is better iphone integration and extended "cloud" services.



    Only thing I wonder now is why they ignored it for so long though It makes me think they felt that "technology" (broadband) and users needed to upgrade before it really became a major concern for them. That sounds like "apple philosophy." LOL I paid $100 a year to be a beta tester for the first 9 or so years. Ah what we can only observe in hindsight.
  • Reply 14 of 62
    virgil-tb2virgil-tb2 Posts: 1,416member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by PXT View Post


    Is the use of WebDAV the reason I can't access my iDisk folders from the office, where they use IE6? If the content isn't available on all browsers then you can't rely on it. TMT ( too much technology ).



    IE 6? You have to be joking. That's barely even a browser.



    If you want to use ten year old technology, you can't expect things to always work. The computer world moves a tad faster than that.
  • Reply 15 of 62
    virgil-tb2virgil-tb2 Posts: 1,416member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    ... Considering all the services you get ?the best ones for me are rarely ever even mentioned? I find the price well within reason. Though, now that I back up with TimeMachine, the backing up of all my settings is less important than it used to be.



    Indeed. People are always complaining about the price of MobileMe, but even at full price it's less than the price of a couple of cups of coffee per month.



    People will pay a hundred a month for cable, but will balk at $8.00 for MobileMe.
  • Reply 16 of 62
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Virgil-TB2 View Post


    IE 6? You have to be joking. That's barely even a browser.



    If you want to use ten year old technology, you can't expect things to always work. The computer world moves a tad faster than that.



    You do have a valid point. Even IE7 isn?t fully supported, though I don?t recall any specific issues or limitations with using it.



    Quote:

    Supported browsers for me.com are Safari 3 or later (Mac OS X and Windows) and Firefox 2 or later (Mac OS X and Windows). Internet Explorer 7 (Windows) is not fully supported.



    And the reason for the browser limitations are?



    Quote:

    MobileMe uses Ajax and Dynamic HTML to simulate the look and feel of desktop applications within the user's web browser. Applications on me.com include Mail, Contacts, Calendar, Gallery and iDisk access. Most of the me.com web applications are built on top of the open source SproutCore Javascript framework.



  • Reply 17 of 62
    anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,581member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    And the reason for the browser limitations are?



    Quote:

    MobileMe uses Ajax and Dynamic HTML to simulate the look and feel of desktop applications within the user's web browser. Applications on me.com include Mail, Contacts, Calendar, Gallery and iDisk access. Most of the me.com web applications are built on top of the open source SproutCore Javascript framework.





    IE (all versions) is pretty much a nightmare to code for in an AJAX/DHTML situation. This is ironically, among other reasons, because MS rigidly adheres to the wording of standards in some important instances (while flagrantly disregarding it in others). So, to achieve certain effects in IE, you may need to, for example, iterate over, in JavaScript code (i.e., very slowly), the entire DOM structure of a page to find a set of elements you need to perform some action on whereas in Firefox and Safari you can find these quite easily using DOM methods. Setting element style attributes can also be problematic.



    Frankly, I'm not surprised that they don't bother to try to fully support IE.
  • Reply 18 of 62
    nasseraenasserae Posts: 3,158member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    I’ve had it for 5 years and have never once paid $99. Last year I found a .Mac family pack for sale for $69. I’m sure it was a mistake that was meant to be for a single license, which is the common price for .Mac/MM. I bought 3 copies, put in all serials and got an additional 36 months plus the 3 free months we got for the initial MM hiccup when it went live in 2008.



    Considering all the services you get —the best ones for me are rarely ever even mentioned— I find the price well within reason. Though, now that I back up with TimeMachine, the backing up of all my settings is less important than it used to be.



    You still can get MM family pack for around $85 on Amazon (sometimes) and ebay. I bought a family pack last year for $65 and I wish I bought more than one.
  • Reply 19 of 62
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Virgil-TB2 View Post


    Indeed. People are always complaining about the price of MobileMe, but even at full price it's less than the price of a couple of cups of coffee per month.



    People will pay a hundred a month for cable, but will balk at $8.00 for MobileMe.



    Hell, push email to my iPhone is worth the $100. I pay that for 3 fully hosted domains, though. .Mac was not worth the money, but I had it anyway (been on it since '04.) Now that the iPhone is out, MobileMe syncs everything, and it's push. Those two features are IMO, necessary, and I just think back to what I was paying for prior to MobileMe. .Mac sucked, MobileMe ==roxx0rz.



    Edit: What I meant to say about the domains is that for $100 a year I get good disk storage and ample bandwidth, FTP, domains of my choosing, etc., etc. The features of a webhost for $100 are far, far superior to the options you get with iDisk and MobileMe. That said, push email has no substitute and $100 a year is worth every penny.
  • Reply 20 of 62
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by technohermit View Post


    Hell, push email to my iPhone is worth the $100. I pay that for 3 fully hosted domains, though. .Mac was not worth the money, but I had it anyway (been on it since '04.) Now that the iPhone is out, MobileMe syncs everything, and it's push. Those two features are IMO, necessary, and I just think back to what I was paying for prior to MobileMe. .Mac sucked, MobileMe ==roxx0rz.



    Edit: What I meant to say about the domains is that for $100 a year I get good disk storage and ample bandwidth, FTP, domains of my choosing, etc., etc. The features of a webhost for $100 are far, far superior to the options you get with iDisk and MobileMe. That said, push email has no substitute and $100 a year is worth every penny.



    Yahoo has Push email for the iPhone which I believe is free, though last time I tried it with the original iPhone it was far from reliable. There are plenty of services that will push your email for free, I think many use Exchange so you get the sync support of contacts and calendars, too. If the free ones come with caveats then you can get simply that push feature for small price that is well under the $69 average price for MM.



    I personally use Gmail, but I like the Push so my Gmail forwards all my mail to MM, which usually gets sent to my iPhone before my Mac gets it from Gmail checking every minute. For sending back from my iPhone I have set up Gmail as my SMTPs so my MM is invisible to everyone.
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