Former Apple engineers build app to take on iCloud

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iCloud offers lots of great things to Mac users.
iCloud has a new rival.
Photo: Apple

Apple’s iCloud platform is getting fresh competition this week from some of its former engineers who want to completely change the way content is stored on your iPhone.

Co-founded by Bertrand Serlet, former senior VP of software engineering at Apple, the new startup called Upthere is launching its first iOS app that allows users to store digital photos in Upthere’s cloud that was custom made to be screaming fast.

Once uploaded to Upthere’s servers, the content can be searched and shared from any Mac, iOS or Android device. It sounds a lot like Dropbox, but CEO Chris Bourdon, who led marketing efforts for many of Apple’s software products, thinks his company has a solid shot at taking on the titans of cloud storage.

“We think of [iCloud] as antiquated technology. It’s not really solving the capacity and storage fragmentation problems of many people owning many devices, and we think there’s a lot of improvement we can make across the board for users who use iCloud,” Bourdon told Fortune in an interview. “We’ve talked to lots of people and universally they don’t understand iCloud. That to us is a sign.”

Upthere’s founders think that the idea of local storage is just plain bad for consumers now that we have so many devices for the creation and consumption of content. To make their direct-to-cloud storage work, the team built its own servers, chassis, motherboards and more.

The company’s first app, Upthere Home is coming out on iOS today after being in beta for a the past few months.

There are plans to make a camera app in the future that will send photos straight to the cloud instead of storing them on the local storage first. The only problem with the app is it would require LTE or WiFi to work, which isn’t possible in remote places.