Upthere, a new cloud service designed by former Apple engineers including former Mac software engineering chief Bertrand Serlet, has exited a seven month long beta program on iOS and macOS, and is promising to change how users utilize and think about cloud storage.
The new cloud service eschews normal file syncing utilized by nearly every other cloud storage provider. The company claims that the user's files are on their servers, rather than on a home folder on a host computer and on the company's hardware. Through the "Upthere Home" application for macOS, users can edit files stored on the service, and save edited versions directly back to the cloud account.
When a file is shared, authorized users have immediate access, with the company saying that no copies are made, links created, or downloads required. Organization is accomplished with "loops," collections of Upthere-hosted files, that can include documents that have been shared with the user, by other users.
Upthere makes no ownership claims on a user's stored files and photos, and promises that customer data will always be kept "safe, accessible, and shareable."
Initial AppleInsider testing of the service on a FiOS 150 Mbps connection both up and downstream shows good flexibility across three iOS devices with the service. Files open up in applications very quickly, but slower than if stored on a local network, or on the device itself, as expected.
However, while the Home app performs very well in our limited testing on the same connection, the same cannot be said for the files on a low-signal 4G connection. In a -102 dBm to -116 dBm Reference Signal Received Power (RSRP) signal strength environment roughly analogous to two bars displayed on the iPhone screen, 12MP photos uploaded to the service through the Upthere Home app take nearly 10 seconds to save per photo, a bit slower than the network provisioning at that signal strength should allow.
The performance on a low-signal network can't be attributed directly to the service, but the situation may pose a problem for users who need access to a file stored only on the service, instead of synced to an iPhone itself.
The Upthere Home app is available now on the iOS App Store, and requires iOS 8.1 or newer. Upthere charges $4 per month for 200GB of storage. A $2 per month charge is added for each increment of 100GB the initial allotment is exceeded. Users do not need to purchase storage in advance, as the allotment will grow as users' demands on the service do.