Now THIS app is very cool: Air Sharing. With it, you can now access (add, delete, open) files on your iPhone from your computer, over the air. It’s free for the next 2 weeks or so, so get it now, or pay for it later.
I just tested it out from my Vista pc and it works really well. I dragged some mp3s, a pdf, a quicktime .mov, and a .wmv file from windows to the shared folder on the phone using windows explorer and they copied very quickly (I’m online on the phone via wifi). The mp3s and the pdf opened and/or played (as appropriate) from the phone. The .mov file curiously played back the audio with a stutter and didn’t show the video. Maybe it was the file? The .wmv didn’t play, so the phone is only good for storing and transporting those, not playing them. The app supports a folder structure, which is nice for organizing stuff. You can also access the files on the phone from a web browser, but there doesn’t seem to be a way to add/remove them that way, just to view them.
You can’t touch or see the iPhone’s internal file structure, mind you, this just creates a shared folder on your phone, a little sandbox. But that sandbox will be very handy for transporting files. If only Apple allowed you to delete music files directly from the phone to make space when you needed it…
You can only access the files on your phone from your PC when you are actively running the app on the phone, which makes sense as per Apple’s “nothing runs in the background” rule.
There is a neat use of this which I could see being very helpful. Here’s a possible scenario:
Say you’re out on the road and a friend wants to send you an MP3 of a cool new song (or a spreadsheet or word doc or whatever) he’s working on. Sure, he could email the file to you, and you could play/open it over the air via gmail or something, but now, you open the app, he could just use the “Public” folder that the app lets you use (you can also disable it), and he can drag and drop the file right onto your phone from his computer. Windows or Mac.
There’s a better write-up here on lifehacker if you want to see pictures and stuff.
This little phone keeps getting more and more useful. Hopefully Apple won’t break this with the next update.