Dropbox: The Linchpin

Warren Ellis, after describing his process for writing using an iPad:

Why do I do this? I’ve always hated lugging laptops around, and have always looked for efficient mobile solutions. I had one of those early Asus netbooks. I had a Treo. Hell, in the 90s, I had a Handspring Visor. And I figured that since the iPad was light, instant-on, built for wifi and supposedly fucking magical, I should be able to make it work as a mobile work solution without having to screw around with laptops and crappy batteries and all the rest of it. In the mornings, I just grab the iPad and case and go out into the back garden and sit at the table and am ready to go. I go back to the office, wake up the laptop, and thanks to Dropbox everything I’ve done is already there. It works for me.

The good news for Apple is that not only do many people work on their iPads, they enjoy doing so. The whole key to the growing popularity of iPads is that people enjoy using them instead of PCs (including Macs) for numerous tasks.

The scary part though, is that one recurrent theme I see in nearly every single “how I write on the iPad” story is Dropbox. It’s the linchpin in the workflow. Scary, because Dropbox is outside Apple’s control. Scary, because if not for Dropbox, many of these people would not be using their iPads as much as they are. Scary, because Apple’s iCloud falls short of Dropbox.

Long-time readers know that I seldom opine that Apple should acquire other companies. But Apple should buy Dropbox.

Update: Ideally, Dropbox will simply remain a thriving independent company, and iOS and Mac users will continue to use it as it is. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. I can even see how Apple buying Dropbox might make things worse, if Dropbox were “improved” to be more iCloud-like rather than vice-versa. Or if Apple turned it into an iCloud-only feature, locking out other platforms. Why I think Apple should buy Dropbox, though, is that if they don’t, someone else might. Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook? (Microsoft is the only one of those that wouldn’t worry me, actually.)

Monday, 17 December 2012