|Available In: App Store||Price: $4.99|
Upon browsing the App Store one day, I remember stumbling upon Air Sharing, a file storage solution and document viewer for the iPhone. Since it was being offered for free as a promotion, I downloaded it, but didn’t really explore the program until a few weeks later. Since that time, I have reviewed two other similar programs for AppleiPhoneSchool: iDownload and ReaddleDocs. What follows below is a pre-release review of Air Sharing Pro, the major update to the original Air Sharing application. While the application has a plethora of options and features, I will choose to focus on ones that are included in the update and ones that appealed directly to me.
Air Sharing Pro offers similar functionality as the original application. The major components of the app allow you to view documents on your iPhone/iPod touch, and use the device as a wireless hard disk, including copy/pasting files into and out of folders on your computer. The update also allows you to email documents straight from your iPhone/iPod, organize your files into folders, print, zip/unzip, rename, and delete files all directly from your iPhone/iPod.
Closer to the Ultimate Data Storage Answer
At first, I wasn’t all that impressed with this application update, especially with the exciting pre release notes that came with it. However, after taking a closer look, I soon appreciated the amount of detail that went into this update. First off, just like the original Air Sharing app, Air Sharing Pro was pleasantly easy to set up. Within minutes, I mounted my iPhone as a wireless disk on both my Macbook and PC netbook. Now, I won’t focus too long on the features of Air Sharing that were present in the original application. The interface is still very intuitive and easy on the eyes. Viewing documents is easy and fast. I found it very simple and quite handy to have file options such as move, copy, rename, delete, all of which allowed me to organize my documents directly on the iPhone. Also impressive was the ability to email a file immediately from the application. It is now very easy to send a document using the built-in mail program and thus, tapping into your contacts as email recipients.
Other features that came touted by the developer included a secure connection (HTTPS), better stability as a pdf viewer, and the option to print documents directly from the application. Although I don’t think much about security in my home wireless network, it is assuring to know that the application communicates with a secure connection in times when I’m away from the house. I can attest to the smooth interface of the pdf viewer. I have numerous PDF’s that are quite large, and Air Sharing Pro seemed to handle these with ease. I don’t have a network printer at home, so I was unable to test this feature, but it speaks to the detail that the developer is striving for in trying to make the iPhone (along with Air Sharing Pro) that much closer to being a complete package in the world of portable computing.
What’s still missing?
As I’ve mentioned in other reviews of similar applications (iDownload, ReaddleDocs), I will still be using my USB flash drive until I can get access to my documents through a non-WiFi connection. The minute I turn off my iPhone or lose the connection (several times already while writing this review), I’m unable to access my documents. This can be especially problematic when I’m working on an important paper and all of a sudden I can’t save the document. Granted, it was simple to reconnect, but this downside would be limited if the 3G connection could somehow be used when WiFi is no longer available (or when the iPhone suddenly decides on its own to switch out).
I imagine the next logical extension for applications such as Air Sharing Pro would be to allow for editing of documents and spreadsheets. Existing documents such as QuickOffice or Documents seem to have a leg up on Air Sharing Pro in this arena. However, where Air Sharing Pro excels is how easy and simple it is to setup and subsequently use. The developers take pride in the elegant interface that they have created, and I will agree that the program is very easy to use, and when you get stuck, there’s a nice help option available within the program.
As mentioned above, the App Store is getting quite crowded with file storage applications. However, Air Sharing has been a major competitor from the early stages, and it shows in what has proven to be a solidly developed and quite refined application. The update to Air Sharing continues this dedication to excellence, though it remains to be seen whether the update to Pro is worth an additional $4.99. Similar to deciding whether one wants to update to the latest MacBook Pro, you have to weigh whether you need the additional features that the update provides. If you are not already an owner of Air Sharing and are looking for a solid file storage app and document viewer, then I’d be comfortable recommending this application, especially at a competitively priced $4.99.