FSpaceRPG article

Status: Official

The iTunes AppStore is filled with both paid and free solutions for you to store and view documents of various kinds, such as:

  • PDF
  • Word (.doc and .docx)
  • Excel (.xls and .xlsx)
  • Powerpoint (.ppt and .pptx)
  • RTF
  • TXT
  • Numbers
  • Keynote
  • Pages
  • HTML
The only problem with these applications is there is no direct access using iTunes to synchronise documents from your Mac or PC to an iPhone or iPod Touch. You have to use what the application you procure provides you. Most work using Wifi to set up a sharing server on the iPhone that you use your PC, Mac (or other device) to connect to using protocols such as AFP or FTP for instance to access a private application folder to drop documents into.

    Some examples include:
  • Air Sharing
  • Datacase
  • Discover
  • Documents to Go
  • Filemagnet
The documents aren’t shared by the various applications, instead residing in a private folder belonging to that application alone.

Apple provides no tools to access these private areas for simplicity, security and other reasons. Even many of the 3rd party phone managers out there such as iPhone Explorer or Phone Disk access only the public parts of the phone. You need to jailbreak the phone to access the private parts. This isn’t advisable because it may cause incompatibilities with future Apple firmware upgrades, or you may change things that disrupt the functioning of elements of the phone.

So you’ll need to decide which application you like as your reader the best and transfer your documents to it.

Of course Apple offers the paid MobileMe online storage service (cloud storage) where you can load documents and media for access on phones. Such a service is great if you’re prepared to pay for it. Data fees in some countries can be expensive, and are horrendous if you’re roaming away from home. So looking for a solution to keep information directly on your phone still appeals to many users.

If you were thinking that the inbuilt Safari allows you to save a PDF or similar to your iPhone, then you’re out of luck. Apple provides no such facility. You need a serrate application to do that kind of work.

Apple while making a simple to use and powerful mobile device has changed the model around how a user deals with documents and downloads.

For users without a PC or Mac, so as many smartphone users in Japan, content needs to be reviewed purchased and downloaded directly to the phone. Apple provides support for this with iTunes and the AppStore. Both are present on the iPhone and users can get Music, Video and Application content via this mechanism. This is why the advent of the Ebook Application has been so popular.

Many authors and publishers have been packaging their books up in an ebook engine and selling the package as a ‘book’ available directly from the AppStore.

Other vendors with large online repositories have built their own readers which include in App purchasing of content or access to an cloud storage facility of your paid content.

With the release of the iPad and iPhoneOS 3.2, Apple will no doubt be providing some relief in terms of at least ePub synchronization because of the new ibooks service. It should be possible to include ePubs from sources outside the bookstore to your ibooks collection (no doubt in iTunes) and have that transferred.

It remains small comfort to those using Word, RTF, PDF and other documents.

It would be nice for Apple to provide a public folder for documents, provide a simple Preview style reader themselves, and allow Applications developers to access this public repository.

Categories: iPhone Support

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