Apple your idea about iPad file syncing using the manual file-sharing capabilities of iTunes is disappointing. Especially in my case — I sync my media content with my iMac, which by the way isn’t very easy to carry around, and I cannot sync that same content on my Macbook Pro. If I try to sync using iTunes on another computer my syncing options are to Cancel, Transfer Purchases, or Erase and Sync. None of these options are useful, but if I click Cancel eventually I can manually access the files shared on my iPad even on my Macbook Pro.
It isn’t clear why Apple didn’t add a simple thing like automatic file syncing, but that doesn’t matter now after I discovered Ecamm Network’s new Mac application, PadSync, which adds automatic syncing capabilities to the file sharing feature of the iPad.
PadSync co-exists with iTunes and it is able to tell if a document is more recent on your iPad or Mac. It will then synchronize the files so that the versions on both devices match. I plugged it in the first time and PadSync generated a list of apps installed on my iPad that support file sharing. If you select one of those apps then the files belonging to that app are displayed. You can see these in either icon or list view. The icon view is my favorite since it includes a thumbnail view. Double-clicking any of these files will open the filing using the proper application on your Mac. If I need to add a file I just drag and drop it and PadSync takes care of the rest. It is all really seamless.
What I like the most is that I can take my iPad to any Mac that has PadSync installed and synch my files. Once the files are synced I’ll always have the most recent version on all my devices. If there are any conflicts PadSync will let you know and you can decide which file you want to use. I can do all this without iTunes.
PadSync isn’t perfect, since I encountered a minor conflict with iTunes. Sometimes the two programs seemed to struggle over who had access to the file system on the iPad. It wasn’t a show stopper, but it did catch my attention.
PadSync is new and I’m sure that like it’s cousin PhoneView there will be updates with new features added in the future and that the iTunes conflicts will be ironed out. PadSync is only $10 and requires Mac OS X 10.6 or later and iTunes 9.1 or later. If you want to try it out then download the fully functioning seven day demo or buy it now.
I use PadSync on my iMac to sync documents to my iPad and since the iPad is definitely easier to carry around I’m very happy.