Airdrop is a brand new feature included in iOS7. Like many other Apple products, Apple was not first to the scene with this type of instant sharing technology. Wifi Direct and NFC (found on almost all android flagship phones) both arrived before Airdrop. Like multitasking, the 7″ tablet, and even the MP3 player Apple truly showed that doing something first isn’t always doing something best.
Airdrop is first and foremost extremely easy to use. You can also easily access Airdrop settings from Control Center. To share a photo, simply touch the share button. Just like that, nearby Airdrop ready devices will show up. Select who you want to send it to, and in seconds, they’ll receive a notification asking for their approval. Its that simple. Because Airdrop works through bluetooth and wifi, you do have to be near the device that you want to share something with. If not, sorry, but email or iMessage will have to suffice.
I’ve experimented with technologies like NFC and Wifi Direct and was less than impressed with both. While NFC had the “cool” factor, it was not at all practical for quickly sharing photos or documents. The concept of Wifi Direct is very similar to that of Airdrop. Despite this, it is littered with error messages and problems. While trying to share a photo with Wifi Direct, I found myself resorting to just emailing the photo.
Perhaps the biggest advantage that Airdrop has on its competitors is that Apple devices make up most of the web traffic in the US. With 9 Million iPhone 5s and 5cs sold this past weekend, it’s safe to say that Airdrop will soon become the industry standard for instantly sharing documents, photos, and contacts.