What are the chances of a unified file system, where all apps can see the stored data

Discussion in 'iPad' started by Piggie, Dec 13, 2010.

  1. Piggie macrumors 604

    Piggie

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    Feb 23, 2010
    #1
    I believe what I'm talking about is a Unified File system, but please correct me if I'm wrong.

    One thing that does seem crazy, and quite illogical is that files, and by files I mean generic files, not a file specific to just 1 and only 1 app, cannot be seen by all other apps.

    Best example I suppose would be Photo's, Videos, Documents.

    At the moment, I have the Photo app with all my photo's

    I install another photo app and it does not have access to my library of photo's on the device. Instead I have to copy one of more photo's from one all into another app.

    So choose to have two or more copies of everything, or some photo's on one app and other photo's on another app.

    Sure, you can load up a photo, and move them between apps, but they have different storage areas.

    Same with Video's We have a few different video apps, mainly because of Apples strange reasoning to make their app only play back one or a least an incredibly limited type of video file.

    You have to copy videos to each video app individually rather than just 1 place and all the apps can see all the files.

    I can't see how this is a great idea, it just confuses things and could mean you store duplicates of files.

    I know there are people here who will say how this is right and any other way would be foolish.

    But is there any chance Apple may make life easier and make one central place in the machine where all data if filed, so any apps that can read the data can see it and load it, without having to mess around copying to different areas, and perhaps duplicate copies.
     
  2. Dalton63841 macrumors 65816

    Dalton63841

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    #2
    To my knowledge most apps, I know Itunes does for sure, have a preference option to NOT move your videos/music from where you choose to have them stored. So that however I have the file structure for my music/videos, after importing it doesn't change that.

    Or am I off on a tangent and this isn't even close to what you are referring to?
     
  3. anthonymoody macrumors 68020

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    #3
    Right now apps like Goodreader are the best substitute for what you're talking about. For many (myself included) the lack of a centralized file system (or at least an app with full file-in/out capability) is the final frontier preventing the iPad from being a workaround-free computer.

    As my signature indicates it's already my primary computer. But when (IMO not if) Apple addresses this issue, i wont have a single workaround left in my workflows.

    My guess is it comes in some combination of a MobileMe/iDisk redo, and/or iOS 5.
     
  4. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

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    #4
    You are talking about how iTunes works on a computer, Piggie is talking about how things work on iPad.

    I believe when iOS 3.2 was in beta, there were reports that it had an unified file system like what Piggie is talking about, but then Apple removed it from the official release and never explained why. If it was there once, they could put it back sometime. But who knows when or if they would ever do it.
     
  5. Piggie thread starter macrumors 604

    Piggie

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    Feb 23, 2010
    #5
    Thanks for the reply, but no it's not that.

    Say you have some video's on your iPad in one app.

    You then have another video all which may have other features. This other app can't see any of the video's on your iPad.

    You have to upload videos again specifically into this new apps storage area.

    Common sense would tell you that, Video's would all be stored in one area in the iPad's memory, then no matter what video app you had, they could all access the same files.

    Just like on your Mac, PC, Linux machine, going back to the Days of the Commodore Amiga ect.

    Files just exist, and any app you put on your system can see all the files.
     
  6. Dalton63841 macrumors 65816

    Dalton63841

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    #6
    LOL jeez. Im on a role for doing stupid things today. Didn't even realize this was the iPad forum.
     
  7. SatyMahajan, Dec 13, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 13, 2010

    SatyMahajan macrumors regular

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    #7
    This feature will be rolled out in iOS 5 or 6 and Steve Jobs will put up a slide with a picture of a file and a brand new revolutionary feature called "Files"
     

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  8. Piggie thread starter macrumors 604

    Piggie

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    #8

    That's Brilliant :D

    Whilst doing it the "other way" I guess is ok on a tiny limited device, which is only for widget type things.

    I'm baffled why anyone would seriously feel the current system where, as I said, all Video playback apps cannot see all the video files is a good way to do it.
     
  9. Syk macrumors 6502a

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  10. Dr Kevorkian94 macrumors 68020

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    #10
    it would be nice if apple came out with basically a goodreader, with the ability to download files. then be able play the files or media in the app and if i like it or not export it to say the photos app. but sill be able to manage and see retrieve (whatever u want to call it) from the app whenever i want. but this wont happen to its fullest extent if apple does it because they don't and wont support other file formats. but as for now goodreader is fine
     
  11. EssentialParado, Dec 13, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2010

    EssentialParado macrumors 65816

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    #11
    ^ LOL. yes.

    I think people have come to overestimate Apple's capabilities a lot of the time, and even I do it too occasionally. But I think what copy/paste, multitasking, and especially the App Store (none of which existed on iOS 1.0) prove is that Apple take their time doing features, but when it comes, it's an absolutely brilliant solution and generally the best option out there.

    What I like about the iPad is that it seems Apple have taken all their knowledge of software and hardware design and have started a brand new platform from scratch. And instead of putting a bunch of antique features inside, they're forcing themselves to look at each individual feature and necessary user function and decide: 1) if its necessary, and 2) if it can be improved on.

    In short: unified file system I'm expecting soon, probably iOS5. And when it does come it'll be nothing like desktop file systems. For one thing, I don't think we'll ever see such things as directories and file extensions.
     
  12. Night Spring, Dec 13, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2010

    Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

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    #12
    I doubt anyone thinks it's a good idea, but we put up with it because the iPad and other iDevices are so good at most of what they do.

    Well, to be exact, the process didn't start "from scratch" with the iPad, it started from iPhone OS 1.0, but other than that, I totally agree with you. Apple is reinventing the touch OS from the grounds up, and while this means that a lot of functions people take for granted on desktop computers are currently missing, the overall user experience is much better than what Microsoft tried to do for so long, which was to try to modify a desktop OS to work on touch interfaces.
     
  13. parseckadet macrumors 6502a

    parseckadet

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    #13
    You need to keep in mind where the iPad came from. Namely, the iPod/iPhone universe. Most users don't want to deal with file management on mobile devices. They just want to pick it up and start using it. When Apple figures out how to make files available to all apps, while still keeping things simple and secure, that's when we'll see it happen. I honestly think the whole iTunes file management nightmare is just a stopgap while Apple works on a better solution.
     
  14. petvas macrumors 601

    petvas

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    #14
    At the moment every app works fairly isolated from the others. Apple does that to ensure system stability and to protect users from potential viruses.
    Of course it isn't nice having a copy of the same file more than one time, just because you wanted to open it with more than one app. This is something that needs to come in iOS 5, along with a better notification system (like the one found in WebOS) and native access to Dropbox and MobileMe. Why have a file always copied to the ipad and not just open it directly from the web?
     
  15. Nishi100 macrumors 6502a

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    #15
    Before Apple can implement the "file system"; they will have to consider
    • 1) Photos; photos are currently organised in a computerised way (a average user won't be able to find any photos); therefore, Apple will need to make it so that iOS puts photos into folders, based on the "events" that they are in.
    • Copyrighted videos; videos/movies from iTunes - speaks for itself.
    • Apple thinks that the user doesn't want to mess around with deleting unessential files (assets for iMovie / After Effects?). I know when I make a movie, I have a lot of assests - to create "masks" from, "grab" colour from, extract music / beat from etc.
    • Simplicity.
    • How much access the user has to the file system?
    :
     
  16. SatyMahajan macrumors regular

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    #16
    There is a simple solution to this. I'm a software engineer/designer by trade, so here's how I'd solve it without getting in the way of the elegance and simplicity of iOS.

    Add one single feature available to any application:

    "Share with other apps"

    When you do that, a link to that data is made in your "Files" browser (which is available to apps that support it). Any app that is able to read that type of file, will then be able to see it when you access the "Files" section.

    Problem solved. Steve, pay me.
     
  17. petvas macrumors 601

    petvas

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    #17
    A small clarification: the iPad does have a unified file system. It is just the apps which work in silos.
     
  18. QuarterSwede macrumors G3

    QuarterSwede

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    #18
    That's freaking hilarious!

    I agree. The user file structure came out of UNIX and it's one of those things that I can't believe Apple hasn't really taken advantage of in iOS yet.
     
  19. petvas macrumors 601

    petvas

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    #19
    Actually that would be cool :)
    Maybe you should email Steve.
     
  20. parseckadet macrumors 6502a

    parseckadet

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    #20
    I'm a software engineer too, and honestly I don't think your idea is fleshed out enough (at least the way you described it here, perhaps you haven't voiced some additional details). It's the typical "just add another button" thinking that makes so many programs difficult to use for non-developers. What happens after the user has pressed that button hundreds of times? Does he just get a giant list? If not, how do you organize it in a way that works for most users, yet is still customizable for those who want to do things differently? How do users "unshare" a file? Is your solution so much better than just creating an iPad version of the Finder that it's worth Apple's time to develop it? I'm not pretending to know what the solution is, but I do know that this problem took more than 5 seconds to be created, and it's going to take more than 5 seconds of thought/effort to solve it.
     
  21. SatyMahajan macrumors regular

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    #21
    You're right, the idea needs more work. But unfortunately, I don't work for Apple, so my 5 second concept is all you get. :p
     
  22. darngooddesign macrumors G3

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    Atlanta, GA
    #22
    I think the simplest solution would be a list of files. When you press, either short or long press, the list of applications that can open that file appears. Choose your app and there you go.
     
  23. BergerFan, Dec 13, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2010

    BergerFan macrumors 68020

    BergerFan

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    #23
    Like ByteOfApple said, iOS just needs a first-party, 'Files' app, where all downloads from Safari and email attachments are stored. When you click 'browse' in a web page, a picker pops up from the Files app to select the files you wish to upload. The picker should have an 'Images' & 'Files' toggled button. Tapping that, switches it to the image picker and vice-versa.
    Whether iOS can run a particular filetype should be irrelevant, it should still be able to download/upload it.
     
  24. Reddkryten macrumors 6502

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    Sep 10, 2009
    #24
    Slightly off topic, but can I just recommend an app called Filer? It can download, unzip and send files to other applications.

    I know a lot of people have recommended goodreader, But I haven't used that so can't comment.

    It's no replacement for a first party file system, but it does a pretty good job in the meantime.
     
  25. Amazing Iceman macrumors 68040

    Amazing Iceman

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    #25
    Unified File System is #1 on my wish list.
    #2 is saving to USB flash drive and SD Card via CCK.
     

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