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I see that if I use Preview.app its new method to move files to the cloud, I am not able to access it on my iPad or iPod.

I have only one Mac, and an iPad and iPod touch. I use MS Word, Excel, etc., not iWork.

Given the above, am I right that iCloud does not really serve me, with regards to hoping to shift some of my documents and work into the cloud, for nicely synced access and consumption on other devices?

(Note, I understand that iCloud's features syncing calendars and contacts work fine. I am talking about documents syncing and cloud storage features -- whether they do not serve my situation.)

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2 Answers

If you don't use iWork, iCloud will not help you very much for your documents and other files. On an iOS device, you can only open iWork files from iCloud. If you use any other file types, Dropbox would probably be the best alternative to iCloud.

Although Mountain Lion allows you to store other kinds of files on iCloud, the only benefit you get from that is cloud backup of those files. However, if you want more than 5 GB of space, you have to pay for it, so it's likely not worth it.

Update: I read that app developers now have the ability use iCloud to store files used by their apps. So, in the future, Microsoft could allow for you to have an iCloud library for MS Word files so that you could save them to iCloud on your Mac and then open them in your Microsoft Word application on your iPad (which doesn't exist). The catch is that the developer has to make the Mac app and the iOS app for this to be possible. So, as a counterexample, since Apple does not have a TextEdit app for the iPad, you can't open TextEdit files from iCloud on the iPad. Some company, though, could write a Mac app and an iOS app that allows you to edit text files from iCloud on any device.

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iCloud might work for your purposes. Each application is given its own sandbox of storage to store documents. An application's iCloud storage can only be accessed by that application. So Preview can only see Preview's iCloud documents, while Notes can only see Notes' documents on iCloud, and so on.

How this works with iOS is that Mac App Store and iOS developers can have the same 'application' for their iOS and OS X applications. This is how apps that have both iOS and OS X editions are able to sync via iCloud. You can read more about it in Siracusa's Mountain Lion Review.

This brings us to your specific case. If you don't have iWork on both your Mac and your iOS devices, then you can't use iCloud to sync those documents between iWork on your iOS devices and on your Mac as you're not using it on your Mac. You could however, use iCloud and some 3rd party document applications to accomplish this, but offhand I don't know of any.

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