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The cloud is gaining ground. Despite early hiccups, I signed up for a MobileMe account shortly after purchasing my iPhone and I haven’t looked back since. Yes, the webmail is buggy, and yes, the Push is sometimes more of a playful shove, but it still keeps my information consistent across two Macs and a phone without any significant drawbacks. And it just got better still, thanks to A.I. Disk from Readdle.
The purpose of A.I. Disk is to provide access to your online MobileMe storage via your iPhone, across any data connection (Wi-Fi, 3G, and EDGE are all supported). The app works much like the popular Air Sharing, allowing you to view multiple document types, including Office (both 2007 and earlier formats), PDF, iWork, and TXT files. Files are copied from your iDisk to your phone for offline viewing, and can be attached to an email and sent from within the application.
A.I. Disk’s viewer itself offers a lot of nice features, including the ability to zoom through touch and by manually setting the percentage, and to set bookmarks within documents. It’s actually a very capable eBook reader because of this last point, although it doesn’t perform that job as well as dedicated software like Stanza.
During my test run I found out just how useful it is that A.I. Disk doesn’t require Wi-Fi. My office doesn’t have wireless networking (yes, I work in the 1950s), so I haven’t been able to use Air Sharing here, and have to depend on flash drives for file transfers. Now, however, it’s incredibly easy to transfer files via iDisk over 3G, so my pockets are finally free of USB sticks. My test document was a fairly large PDF (1 MB) and the document loaded and displayed without problem. Closing the app and going back in reveals a short delay while the file is redrawn, but it’s a minor convenience at worst.
Even if you’re not a MobileMe subscriber, A.I. Disk works using the WebDAV protocol, and supports any storage service that employs it, including Box.net.
For me, this is an incredibly useful iPhone app, and at $7.99 (App Store link), quite the bargain too.