UPDATE: Never mind, this worked in iOS 4 if you had DropBox installed. Clearly I shouldn’t blog before coffee. Sorry folks!
Looks like iOS5 may finally bring file download support to iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Previously, if you came across a non-media file link in Mobile Safari and tried to do something with it, it would just sit there, staring back at you — mocking. Now, in iOS 5, Safari will serve up an intercept page that offers to let you send the file to any installed apps that can handle it… which right now seems mainly limited to online file stores like DropBox.
It doesn’t appear to actually be working yet either. At least, several people who tried it got an “unable to open this document error”. So Apple could just be toying with the idea, it could require iOS 5 API support in apps that won’t come until the fall, or it could be tied into iCloud features that also won’t show up until the fall.
iOS has long been able to handle web links for music, images, and videos, for email address and iTunes store downloads, etc. In iOS 4, Mail gained the limited ability to open certain document types in associated apps. Safari getting the same ability would be convenient to say the least, though if you sent an EXE or DMG file to DropBox (or iCloud?) for later use on your Windows or Mac PC, you’d need to make sure it was malware free before doing anything with it.
What kind of files would you like iOS 5 to offer download options for, and how would you use it?