Apple iCloud and iMessage take on Dropbox and WhatsApp
Apple has announced new cloud and messaging developments aimed squarely at some of its key competitors.
Apple has announced a raft of new features for its software platforms, all of which appear to be aimed at getting ahead of major competitors such as WhatsApp and cloud-based file-sharing service Dropbox.
Speaking at the Worldwide Developer Conference on 2 June, senior vice-president of software engineering at the firm Craig Federighi told the audience that the upcoming OS X update will include some significant additions to messaging and cloud services.
Cloud storage service iCloud Drive will allow deep integration among devices running the OS X Yosemite system and iOS 8. It will allow users to store any type of file in iCloud, then access it on any Apple device – and crucially, using a web browser, files will even be accessible from devices running Windows.
That level of compatibility could help it to crack some promising business markets, where Microsoft products remain dominant for desktop PCs. But it will also play an important role in keeping Apple brand fans happy, since sharing files between iOS and OS X is a capability they have been craving for some time.
It is clear that Apple is increasing the iCloud functionality so it can take on the immensely popular Dropbox. What’s more, it is finally dropping its prices to a more aggressive rate: ZDNet reports that 200GB storage could be sold for as little as $48 per year, a quarter of the price of similar space on Dropbox Pro.
Other additions were announced to the iMessage platform, including “push to talk” and “push to video” features that many commentators immediately noted were similar to the features announced a few months ago by WhatsApp.
In fact, WhatsApp founder Jan Koum took to Twitter to joke about the additions, saying: “very flattering to see Apple ‘borrow; numerous WhatsApp features into iMessage in iOS 8 #innovation”.
This is not the first time that Apple has been accused of a lack of innovation, and is unlikely to be the last. Acquisitions such as the recent deal to purchase Beats have had some commentators suggesting the tech giant has simply run out of ideas. But it does seem unlikely that the company’s loyal customer base will mind enjoying the features of other platforms without having to give up their Apple operating systems.
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