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Dropbox Updated for iPad

The Dropbox iPhone application has been updated to work better with the iPad. Along with the usual cosmetic changes, it also adds one essential feature: the ability to choose an application with which to open your documents.

Dropbox is a cross platform file-syncing service. You install it on your OS X, Windows or Linux machine and what you see is a folder. Anything you keep in this folder is mirrored across machines, and stored in the cloud. You can also access these files at any time from your iPhone and now, your iPad.

Last week we brought you a guide to keeping plain text files in sync between your iPad and your Mac using Simplenote and Notational Velocity. The most commonly suggested alternative in the comments was Dropbox. Until today, though, that was messy, as there was no way to get files out of your Dropbox to edit them on the iPad.

This update does just that. Pick a file: a photo, text document, PDF, spreadsheet or anything supported on the iPad. Tap the “Open In” icon and choose from the list of available apps. You’re done.

The problem is that you can’t yet save anything back into Dropbox. This is a limit of the other apps, but we can foresee a third-party text-editor, say, that would offer to send the file to Dropbox. There are also hacks to let you email your files into Dropbox, but this still creates the problem of duplicate files, essentially a new version of your file every time you save. Messy.

Still, we know a lot of Gadget Lab readers are Dropbox users, so enjoy the new interface and the new “Open In” command, and join us in quietly grumbling that Apple really messed up file-organization on the iPad. Free, available now.


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