With today’s reveal of the next version of OS X - OS X 10.8, aka Mountain Lion – Apple is more deeply integrating its iCloud service into the operating system itself. No longer will storing your documents in the cloud feel like an extra, value-added feature – it will feel like part of the OS itself. The cloud is just another drive, Apple seems to say, and saving to the cloud should look and feel no different than saving to your Documents folder or your Desktop.
The idea, of course, is not novel. It’s what startups like Dropbox are doing today: making a drive that appears like any other, but that can be accessed from any machine. While on the surface, it’s easy to dub iCloud “Apple’s version of Dropbox,” the truth is actually more complex: it’s about building a new computing paradigm.
In testing the new iCloud integration in Mountain Lion, a file could be open in multiple locations – say, your Mac, iPad and iPhone – and when a change was made, it would appear almost instantly across all three devices in real time. You don’t have to wait for a notification, or reload the file. It just appears. While the immediate thought is that iCloud is rapidly turning into Apple’s own, improved version of Dropbox, it’s also a fierce competitor to Google Docs, and the long-rumored Google Drive.