With Apple’s popular Internet-connected devices like the iPhone 4, the iPad, and the recently released Apple TV, there’s an ever increasing demand for cloud storage like never before.

Many companies have recognized this need — as evident by services like DropBox, Evernote, MobileMe, etc. — that they’re virtually as abundant as clouds themselves. So, what’s the best option for you and your iPhone?

Even with big players like Apple pushing their weight around in the cloud storage arena, the solutions offered so far are a bit lacking. If one service does one thing well, then you can bet your bottom dollar that it’s missing a key feature in some other area, and vice versa.

Take for example, DropBox. It’s a great solution for PC and Mac users, but when it comes to the iPhone the application is a bit gimped. MobileMe is nice, because it’s integrated natively into iOS itself, making it easy to upload photos and videos directly to the cloud. But then it costs $99 dollars a year when most of its competitors offer free services.

Just what would make the ultimate cloud storage solution, especially for iPhone users?  We examine 5 essential needs, below.

It must be tightly integrated

Bottom line, convenience is a must when it comes to cloud storage. Some of the more popular cloud apps for the iPhone make you go out of the way to set it up, and then it’s a complete hassle when it comes to actually moving your files to your storage space.

If there’s going to be a mass adoption and regular use of any cloud service, it can’t be cumbersome, and it must not be inconvenient. Unfortunately, the likelihood that any other service outside of MobileMe offering this type of close-knit integration is slim.

It has to be cost effective

This is what makes services like DropBox so nice, because they’re essentially free. If you happen to need more space than the allocated amount, you can shell out a few dollars every year to do so.

MobileMe on the other hand is at the opposite end of the spectrum. You have a fairly limited amount of storage space, and then they want to charge you out the wazoo just to be able to use it. If Apple wants a higher adoption rate of their service, they’re going to have to drop the price, and increase the storage.

It has to be functional

When it comes to the desktop experience, there’s no doubt, these services work great and their functionality is amazing. When it comes to the iPhone though, not so much. One of the main gripes I’ve always maintained with DropBox is the fact that you can’t upload more than one file at once.

Now some have said this is an Apple restriction, but regardless of who’s restriction it is, it needs to be fixed. I can share multiple files with e-mail at once, I can even send multiple files via MMS for crying out loud. Why in the world can’t I send more than one photo to the cloud at the same time?

It must be accessible

This is why I love Evernote. It’s everywhere! I can access it from my Mac, PC, iPad, iPod, Linux, and virtually any other internet connected device. I’m surprised they don’t have an Evernote app for my refrigerator already. Get on it guys!

All joking aside though, Evernote’s popularity is a great example of how imperative it is that cloud storage be accessible from anywhere. If I can access it on my iPhone but nowhere else, then really, what’s the point?

It has to be fun to use

Even the most functional, cost effective, integrated, and accessible app would be a total drab if it wasn’t fun to use and nice to look at. Part of the mass adoption of any application has partly to do with the marketing, communication from the developers, and aesthetic appeal of the app itself.

That’s one thing I can say about DropBox. It features a fun to use GUI, developers who don’t take themselves too seriously, and a user community that has a serious say in the overall developmental process. In today’s socially connected world, this is essential.

What do you think about today’s cloud base storage solutions? Do you find them lacking as well? What app do you use the most?

  • john

    I actually use pogoplug

    I have my own personal could

    Pogoplug.com

  • Justin

    Can someone give a real world example of what you use cloud storage for?
    I’ve thought about getting MobileMe mainly for the locate my IPhone feature in case one of them gets stolen. But I wouldn’t really know what I would use the cloud for. Plus, would I have to have a MobileMe account for each iPhone on my account to use the cloud and the locate service?

    • Dadditude

      One account can be used for as many iDevices as you have, as far as I know. Each device will have access to the same iDrive and will sync the same contacts, calendar, bookmarks, etc.

      • Justin

        Thanks, I don’t see using the cloud as much of an advantage for me. I might edit a webpage once in awhile with FTP on the go app, but that’s usually only if I can’t get to my computer. Now if the find my iPhone can be used for all the phones on my account, I would think about it more. But if it’s $99 for each one, guess I’ll just risk it

  • I’m using iSMEStorage which let’s me access DropBox, SkyDrive, Google Docs, and my own FTP server in one virtual file system (it actually supports at least 10 other clouds !). I’m happy to say that the developers have given me a custom build of the 2.0 release which I have been testing for them. Believe me this rocks. I can now copy and paste between clouds directly from the App. I can send file links to friend s from several different clouds, sync notes, upload picture, and even sync different directories from different clouds to my iPhone and iPad. This is an App I rarely see mentioned but when it comes to making cloud storage useful on the iPhone and iPad, in my view, there is nothing to touch it.

    • Jeff

      That sounds good, I will have to try that out. Thanks.

  • Jeff

    You can use the same MobileMe account for every device you have. Basically, the cloud is good for when you want to start writing a document on your iPad, and then when you get home you decide to finish that document. It’s all in sync. Then perhaps later you’re on the go and you decide you want to make a correction, but all you have is your iPhone. It’s no problem, because everything is in sync in the cloud.

    It’s pretty useful, but also quite lacking in a few areas that I touched on above. MobileMe does have some benefits with Find My iPhone which is actually scary how well it works. It would be nice if they dropped the price in half.

    • Dadditude

      You can usually get MobileMe on eBay or from online discounters for around $50-$60. Never pay full price from Apple. Just make sure if you go the eBay route to be certain you are getting a full 20GB account and not a 5GB sub-account on someone’s family plan.

  • c0ntr0l

    I just I could access my iTunes library from anywhere over 3g

    • Dadditude

      Check out ZumoCast. It’s free, and should do what you want.

      • c0ntr0l

        Thanks

  • Thomas G

    I use Dropbox, and all in all it’s a fantastic solution for me. Stays free, and I’ve got multiple accounts.

    At work, we all use it for my team (per my recommedation), and it does great for allowing me to read and edit my docs from anywhere (using a compatible app like documents-to-go.)

    For my personal work, I design amateur video games, and I collaborate with quite a few people. Dropbox does great on updating times, and upload is easy.

    UI is simple, easy to understand, and nearly idiot-proof. It’s my favorite solution. As for the multiple upload restriction that Apple has set on, it doesn’t affect me all that much.

    Still waiting for multi-tasking support on the Dropbox app, however. If I go to upload a file and switch to another app either during compression stages (when uploading video) or the upload stage, it will give me an error when coming back and ask me to do it again. A little annoying, but hey, it’s free!

  • Nick

    DropBox works for me. I prefer using it with the AirSharing app for multiple account support, uploading any file type, and transferring or copying to other sharing services, WebDAV, or SFTP servers.

  • Twitef21

    Green poison update devteam just twitted 10/10/10 10:10:10
    Looks like Sunday

  • beowulf

    I think the solution is to take your own cloud with you…

    http://www.airstash.com/

  • Sounds good… Click on my name, its a link to a website that offers free cloud storage service. Its got like 50 gigs its crazy

  • 2meu

    Has anybody try it out what @stink mentioned?

  • Alan Buckley

    I’m using google mostly for documents and pictures and FTP To Go for everything else. Quickoffice saves directly to google docs and web albums uploads multiple photos at once. 20 gig of storage is $5 a year!

  • John Skinner

    I am the IT guy at my company and have been charged with finding a solution for cloud storage for the 13 new iPad 2 users we have (and more to come). Although there are some good 3rd party solutions already out there (Mobile Me, DropBox, Google Doc’s, Box.net, amazon S3 et cetera), I would rather not have company data on a 3rd party service that IT can not manage. I’m looking at using GoodReader and setting up secure WebDAV access to our file server for connections inside and outside out network. This way we can manage accounts, permissions and and files, and we don’t have to pay someone else. Plus we have control of the data.