iCloud is well-integrated into Mac OS X and iOS, however it is much less versatile as other cloud services such as Dropbox. Unfortunately, Dropbox doesn’t give you a whole lot of storage without referring many people. Today Microsoft’s cloud service, Skydrive
, gets its own Mac client to help it compete with services like Dropbox for Apple users. Until now, Mac users needed to use the Web interface to use SkyDrive. Apart from the client for Mac, Microsoft also released an update for the App Store version
of the SkyDrive client for iOS devices.
As made evident by the screenshot above, the SkyDrive client for Mac brings a drag-and-drop folder interface to the Mac OS X user folder just like Dropbox does. It also adds a pane to the left side of the window. This allows the user to easily move files from one place into the folder and they immediately become available on the SkyDrive server for other devices (such as your iOS devices with the SkyDrive application installed on them) under the same account to see and use.
Older Windows Live users will be able to take advantage of 25GB of free cloud space, which is a large amount of space for free considering Apple only gives you 5GB of free iCloud space for all of your devices connected to your Apple ID. To get the same amount of storage from iCloud, Apple will charge you $40 per year. Newcomers will only get 7GB to play with. Just like Dropbox, Microsoft's SkyDrive client places an icon on the Menu Bar, shown below:
Clicking on the Menu Bar icon brings up a drop-down menu, which gives you the option to update the SkyDrive client, quickly launch either the SkyDrive local folder or Web client, manage your storage, access the preferences, or quit the application. One major turn off with the Mac SkyDrive client is that it keeps an icon on the Mac OS X dock as long as the application is open and unfortunately, the only way to get rid of the icon is to quit SkyDrive altogether, which closes it and ends your session with it until you launch the application again.
The preferences for the SkyDrive client are also limited, offering only two options: 1. sending anonymous data to Microsoft to help improve the application; and 2. launching the application automatically when you power your Mac on and log in.
For 25GB (7GB if you're new) of absolutely free cloud storage, I can’t see why anyone wouldn’t want to take advantage of this client. If you think you might use it and you can get over the slightly less-polished interface, then be sure to head over to Microsoft’s site and give it a try.