Apple’s umbrella of cloud services dubbed iCloud will soon receive a major upgrade. SVP of Software Engineering Craig Federighi just introduced the new feature at WWDC. Basically, the company just copied Dropbox, Microsoft’s OneDrive, Google Drive, Box, and every other cloud storage service out there. In OS X Yosemite, you’ll find a new magic folder called iCloud Drive and that acts exactly as you expect.
Whenever you put a file in iCloud Drive, it will sync this file with Apple’s servers. Of course, you can access your files on your other devices, including your iPhone and iPad. But that’s not all, iCloud Drive will also be available on Windows and the web.
The most interesting aspect of the new feature is that iCloud Drive uses the traditional folder interface. Apple has tried for years to make the file system disappear in iOS and later in OS X. It looks like the company is backing down on this strategy. Previously, you had to open the Pages app to find your Pages documents that were stored in iCloud.
Another new feature related to iCloud is Mail Drop. In OS X’s mail app, you will be able to send a 5GB encrypted attachment with your email. The attachment won’t exactly be linked to your mail. You will receive a link to download your file.
There is no word on how much space you will get. OS X Yosemite will be available in the Fall for free. Developers will receive a preview version of the OS today.
Interestingly, Box co-founder and CEO Aaron Levie is currently sitting in the front row of the Moscone Center in San Francisco. While Box is mostly targeted toward enterprise users, Apple is clearly getting serious about cloud storage with today’s presentation. It’s unclear whether Levie clapped after Federighi announced iCloud Drive on stage.
Update: Box sent us the following statement.
“iCloud Drive looks like an incredibly compelling option for consumers. At Box, we’re focused on providing the scale, security and platform capabilities required to power content collaboration for businesses with hundreds of thousands of employees.
With extensibility in iOS 8, we’re excited to bring our users more options and the ability to seamlessly access all of their Box files right from within their favorite apps, eliminating the need to create additional copies. This is a major milestone for the Post-PC enterprise, and a bellwether moment for openness.”