Apple iCloud Drive aims for better content access

The feature will find its way to OS X Yosemite and will have the ability to synchronize content across devices including Windows PCs.

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iCloud Drive is coming to OS X 10.10 Yosemite. Tim Stevens/CNET

Apple on Monday at its Worldwide Developers Conference showed off a new feature in OS X Yosemite, its upcoming operating system launch, that should make iCloud a bit more useful to users.

The feature, called iCloud Drive, provides access to documents and content saved in iCloud within OS X Yosemite's Finder window. The feature lets users work within the document and store files however they want with help from folders and tags.

Synching also has been added. When users add content to the iCloud folder, it automatically syncs to other Macs. That information is also accessible via iCloud on iOS devices, as well as Windows-based PCs.

When iCloud Drive is used, it can work across applications. Indeed, when users open documents from a third-party app, edits are automatically saved and synched across devices.

The Cupertino, Calif.-based company holds only two or three major events a year, and WWDC is one of them. The annual confab for developers takes place June 2 to 6 in San Francisco's Moscone Center, with about 5,000 lucky, lottery-winning app makers descending on the city. Apple kicked off the event Monday with its highly anticipated, two-hour keynote event featuring CEO Tim Cook and other executives.

For Apple, this year's developer conference comes at a critical time. Apple continues to sell millions of iPhones and iPads, but demand for the devices has started to slow. Google's Android software, and particularly vendors such as Samsung, have been gaining market share and have made inroads in former Apple strongholds like education. Apple also hasn't released any truly revolutionary products since the iPad in 2010, while rivals such as Samsung introduce new devices every few months.

Apple has used its WWDC keynote event as a chance to introduce new products in the past. But it more recently has focused on software, saving new mobile device announcements for separate events. The company is expected to launch many new devices in the fall as part of what it calls its "best product pipeline in 25 years." However, concerns have emerged that Apple may have lost some of its innovation edge -- a worry that Cook and his team have tried to quell by promising "exciting new product categories" for 2014.

The new iCloud Drive feature shown off by Craig Federighi, Apple's senior vice president of software engineering, should make those seeking improved, albeit simple, data storage happy. But Apple failed to point out what kind of size restrictions might apply to the service. The company also did not say whether the feature would cost an additional sum.

This story is being updated. To read more about news from the event, follow along in the CNET liveblog. Check out all of our WWDC coverage here.

About the author

Shara Tibken is a senior writer for CNET focused on Samsung and Apple. She previously wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and the Wall Street Journal. She's a native Midwesterner who still prefers "pop" over "soda."

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications. See full bio

 

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