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The Future Of 1Password Looks Bright Despite Apple's New iCloud Keychain

My immediate reaction when Apple announced iCloud Keychain was that it would kill products like 1Password. Soon after, in fact, I added the application to my report, “Some Apps Are Facing An Uncertain Future Thanks To Apple's iOS 7 Update.” I received a quick response from the team behind 1Password, AgileBits. Needless to say, we had differing opinions on what type of impact iCloud Keychain would have on a product first released for Mac in 2006.  Since writing my original post, I have had the chance to reacquaint myself with 1Password. I also had an opportunity to discuss the product, and its future, with Agilebit’s David Chartier.

My experience

Like many, I first experienced 1Password on iOS. I did so after realizing that I needed a secure way to store passwords. Eventually, I began using 1Password to store website logins on my Mac. However, 1Password does more than save passwords. At Chartier’s urging, I started using some of its other features, both on iOS and OS X. Only then did I realize that 1Password has less in common with iCloud Keychain than I once believed.

Two different products

Apple’s iCloud Keychain offers users a simple, and free, way to store account names, passwords, and credit card numbers. It can also generate hard-to-guess passwords. This is possible via iOS 7 and through OS X Mavericks. Both products are set to arrive this fall. AgileBits’ 1Password does all of these things, and to my surprise, much more. [caption id="attachment_436217" align="aligncenter" width="238"]iCloud Keychain iCloud Keychain[/caption] For example, 1Password can also store secure notes, software licenses, and serve as a virtual wallet. It also includes the ability to attach important documents that may be accessed across multiple devices. Finally, 1Password also works on Windows PC, with versions for Android and Windows Phone set to arrive soon. As Chartier notes, “We've always had to solve more or different problems than Apple's products in order to present a great value to customers, which is why we support multiple browsers, multiple platforms, multiple accounts per service, securing much more than passwords and credit cards, file attachments, and more." While surprised by Apple’s move, AgileBits isn't worried by it. In fact, Chartier says that his company welcomes Apple's entry into the security market. "We're always happy when users better secure their data, even when they use a solution that isn't our own," he explains.

Changes are coming

[caption id="attachment_436232" align="aligncenter" width="601"]1Password for iOS 1Password for iOS[/caption] Chartier does say, however, that iCloud Keychain, and to a lesser degree, iOS 7, will lead to some changes to 1Password. For one, the 1Password app for iOS will soon receive a new design that better matches iOS 7’s minimalist approach. Second, Chartier contents that AgileBits is well aware that “it’s hard to compete with free.” As a result, “new stuff is coming for a broader audience.” Although not specifically confirmed, I got the impression that this means a 1Password “Lite” edition is coming. This version would specifically target those users who are simply looking for a password solution. Until then, Chartier wants to remind users that AgileBits has one of the best client support systems in the industry. Plus, they love hearing from customers.” He says that AgileBits is “as good as the Omni Group,” in terms of responding to customer demand. [caption id="attachment_436234" align="aligncenter" width="670"]1Password for Mac 1Password for Mac[/caption] We’ll continue to follow 1Password and let you know when changes arrive to either the iOS or Mac product. In the meantime, you can download the universal 1Password for iOS app in the App Store, or the OS X version in the Mac App Store. 
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