Will iPhone 2.0/SDK mean we can save files?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by cedricstudio, Mar 7, 2008.

  1. cedricstudio macrumors newbie

    Jun 19, 2007
    One of the features I would love to have on my iPhone is the ability to save attachments and files to the hard drive. With the release of the SDK, does that mean that third-party apps can be written that will allow me to finally save or download files?
  2. MikeDTyke macrumors 6502a

    Sep 7, 2005
    I was curious about this too, so i've had a root around in the SDk documentation.

    As it stands there's no function in the existing apps, ie. Mail or Safari to download to the flash drive. Similarly there's no concept of a finder app within the public side of the iPhone OS. However, there are all the regular system calls for viewing the contents of a directory, opening files, saving them etc. So yes i could see somone build u an email app, a FTP client or a browser that can show u an area of the filesystem and save downloaded content to it.

    I'm just wondering is Apple going to step up and provide a mobile finder, or are we going to have to rely on a third party to do it for them?

  3. edesignuk Moderator emeritus


    Mar 25, 2002
    London, England
    Someone might build an app to do it, but since Apple need to approve all SDK apps if they don't want that facility out there you won't get it.

    Very irritating, I don't know why the hell they don't give you a normal, readable, browsable file system.
  4. wolfpackfan macrumors 68000

    Jun 10, 2007
    Cary, NC
    I was wondering about this also. One of the first apps I hope to see developed is some form of eBook reader. This would require some way to get eBooks to the iPhone, so there would have to be some way to save files to the iPhone.
  5. goosnarrggh macrumors 68000

    May 16, 2006
    They do provide a built-in SQLite database interface, so I suppose you could save each eBook (or each email attachment, or whatever) as a binary blob in the database for storage and retrieval.
  6. wizard macrumors 68040

    May 29, 2003
    This is something I'm very interested in myself. There area a number of application Ideas that this would make possible. Obviously to leverage such features you really need a "finder" or other file browser or a way to load files from you PC (diskmode). Actually I think there is enough power within the iPhone that they could share a directory over the WiFi connection.

    There is two issues in my mind, getting the files onto the unit and also managing them while they are there. I just hope Apple realizes the huge potential for the device if the file system is exposed.

  7. wackymacky macrumors 65832


    I do wonder about Apple's reluctance for this.

    Surely the way that the iPone OS is structured it would be quite possible to 1) save via a download manager to the Flash drive, 2) use finder/cover-flow to find the documents, 3) us a version Quick Look to view the documents.

    It won't take long fore someone to put something together, but it would have been nice to have it out of the box with a little finder icon on the home screen.

    It surely would help selling quite a few more phones!
  8. brandonzar macrumors regular

    Mar 18, 2008
    I would think that there has to be some way of putting files on and accessing them with SDK developed programs. During the keynote one company showed off the medical imaging software that they had developed and I don't think streaming files that big from a server would work very well. This is still just more speculation though.
  9. robhedin macrumors regular

    Dec 14, 2006
    SDK applications can read and write to the device... they have their own sandbox and files should be placed in $APP_HOME/Documents. The app cannot access other applications sandboxes, however (sort of-- there is a bit of a work-around with regards to photos). This directory is generally where one would place their SQLite database file, for example. iTunes will backup files stored in the Documents directory, and restore them later on if needed.

    Getting files *onto* the device is a bit more difficult, since iTunes will not sync arbitrary directories. However I can think of at least two ways to do so that do not violate the SDK rules:
    1) have the application download items from a web service somewhere
    2) have the application implement Bonjour and write a corresponding Bonjour application for Windows/Mac. This would allow transfer of files directly over the local WiFi network.

    In both cases, the application would have to be running, but for the case of an ebook reader, that's probably not too big a deal.

  10. brandonzar macrumors regular

    Mar 18, 2008
    Thanks Rob,

    Is it likely that apple will build in a new tab into the iTunes sync screen for all of the apps you buy and each one could have its own little section where you could put in files accessible only to that app, kind of like the tab for e-mails, contacts, and stuff? This would seem to be the easiest solution to me, but then again I have absolutely no experience programming. It would be hard to imagine that someone at Apple hasn't thought of this, but then again they might just leave the feature off to spite me like so many other features I have wanted. ;)
  11. Rojo macrumors 65816


    Sep 26, 2006
    This sounds like the most logical solution. Applicable apps could have a section where you can drag and drop appropriate files to, and then they move them onto your phone when you sync. Man, the possibilities are endless. Make it happen, Apple!!
  12. Niiro13 macrumors 68000

    Feb 12, 2008
    True, but I doubt it.

    Apps can edit their own directory.

    Therefore, at best you can do what Notes does. Save the notes, but the only way to get them on the computer is to email it to yourself.

    It's possible for the tabs thing, though as I was surprised when developers could put application settings into the Settings application.

    But like I said, I doubt it. Apple would be jailbreaking for us. Hackers could easily pick at the iTunes until they found out how iTunes adds the files to the application directory. Bad things can happen then.
  13. brandonzar macrumors regular

    Mar 18, 2008
    What do you mean by bad things could happen then? I don't have much experience so excuse my ignorance but if you had to have an application on the phone to have a place to put the files in iTunes it seems like you wouldn't be able to add whole programs through that method. A more likely jailbreak scenario to me would be to find out how apple gets apps onto your computer in itunes and then just make that happen locally with an app on your computer. I would guess that someone will figure this out, but I don't know how popular jailbreaking is going to be after the app store is introduced. I have a jailbroken touch right now, but I doubt I will jailbreak the new iPhone.
  14. bacaramac macrumors 65816


    Dec 29, 2007
    I had a thought since Apple will be pushing .Me (which I use now .Mac) maybe they will offer over the air connection with iDisk. That would allow you to have access iDisk and use it as a local drive. It would be hard for those without connectivity, but would be better then nothing.
  15. Niiro13 macrumors 68000

    Feb 12, 2008
    Actually, that's what I meant.

    Someone can figure out how iTunes even connects to the iPhone to put the app files. If it can put files into the application's directory, I'm sure it can browse the entire iPhone.
  16. brandonzar macrumors regular

    Mar 18, 2008
    Oh okay, I seem to be imagining some barrier between adding files to a program directory and adding program files to the directory, but i guess that doesn't make much sense now that I think about it. I really don't know why apple would be to concerned about jailbreaking after 2.0 is released as long as people don't figure out a way to steal all of the applications from the app store. I am guessing that most people will just go for the convenience of the app store, in the end it's just a couple bucks to get the stuff you want and some of it will be free. But then again if someone could figure out a jailbreak that would allow over the air file syncing with my MBP I would probably do that in a heart beat.
  17. Niiro13 macrumors 68000

    Feb 12, 2008
    Well, the DRM in iTunes is non-unlockable. So I'm guessing that Apple's not worry too much about people stealing applications. The only way to get past the DRM is to burn a Music CD then rip it back...unfortunately, there's no such thing as burning an application CD.

    I wonder if jailbreaking will even work. Last I heard, the firmware that the 3G iPhone testers have now checks for unsigned applications and will only allow signed to run. So even if you could SSH or whatever...nothing would run.
  18. wackymacky macrumors 65832


    It would make my little heart very happy if I could save docs/PDFs on to the iPhone, to abe able to print them later, say, to my WiFi printer.

    Oh well, a guy can dream.

    Not sure why there can't be a "dedicated area" like a "sand box" where a program like preview can't save/open files which then would not have the capacity to run and affect other components/apps on the phone.

    I agree that :apple:.inc might hope that we would use the "clouds" (barf) of .Me as moblie drives to take stuff around with us, but it is'nt quite that same.

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