By Harry McCracken | Tuesday, February 2, 2010 at 5:31 pm
Everybody grouses about the lack of multitasking for third-party apps on the iPhone (and iPad). But another limitation of the current platform is at least as limiting: The data sandboxing files that hobbles third-party apps’ ability to move files on and off the iPhone or share them with other applications.
Today, there’s both bad news and good news on this front. Bad news: Apple made e-book reader Stanza (owned by Amazon.com) remove a feature for transferring books via USB, on the grounds that it violated the iPhone developer agreement.
Good news: Ars Technica is reporting that iPhone OS 3.2, the version on the iPad, has a shared-storage folder that’s accessible to third-party apps–including computer apps that can see the folder when the iPhone is attached via USB. If that shows up on the iPhone (which it presumably will) it’ll go a significant way towards reducing the every-app-is-an-island feel that iPhone software tends to have.
As long as I’m at it, another request: The iPhone/iPad e-mail clients should allow detaching of attachments into this shared folder, so that applications such as word processors and spreadsheets can get easy access to documents for editing. Maybe this is in iPhone OS 3.2 and I just don’t know about it yet–I’d assume that Apple would want it for the iPad versions of the iWork apps, and it would be a major bummer if Apple apps could get at attachments and other programs couldn’t…