Is Apple is losing the photo wars?

“I’m an Apple user for a reason, and I really want Apple to do a great job of storing and presenting my photos. I’m rooting for Cupertino here, because I think the company has a history of being on the side of its customers,” Dan Moren writes fro Macworld. “But in addition to the wrinkles with its new photo solution, the company’s current approach to cloud storage pricing is simply not competitive.”

“Google and Amazon are both offering free options for storing a lot of photos, albeit with caveats, as well as low-priced plans for storing pretty much every picture you take,” Moren writes. “Apple, meanwhile, still has only a paltry 5GB for all your online data, and is charging twice as much as Google for a terabyte of storage. Some question the entitlement that leads us to argue that photo storage should be free — I say it’s not entitlement, but clearly a matter of market forces: when companies like Amazon and Google start offering free cloud storage, well, that’s competition at work.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Imagine Google in control of your photos:

• She looked good in 2005. Height estimate: 5′ 4″. Weight estimate: 110 lbs. In 2015, she’s up to an estimated 150 lbs. Serve up those Weight Watchers ads!

• The wedding photos were nice. June 7th, 2003. But, the photos of them together ended in 2014. He’s not consistently been with anyone significant since then. Serve up the dating ads!

• The post-chemo photos started in January 2008. They ended that same year. Now, they’re back and it’s looking worse than ever. Serve up the funeral parlor ads! (And start emailing the kids about how easy it is to transfer their mom’s Google Photos library to their devices – for FREE, of course.)

So, how’s “free” looking to you now?


How Google aims to delve deeper into users’ lives – May 29, 2015
Apple CEO Cook: Unlike some other companies, Apple won’t invade your right to privacy – March 2, 2015
Survey: People trust U.S. NSA more than Google – October 29, 2014
Apple CEO Tim Cook ups privacy to new level, takes direct swipe at Google – September 18, 2014
Apple will no longer unlock most iPhones, iPads for government, police – even with search warrants – September 18, 2014
U.S. NSA watching, tracking phone users with Google Maps – January 28, 2014
U.S. NSA secretly infiltrated Yahoo, Google data centers worldwide, Snowden documents say – October 30, 2013
Google has already inserted some U.S. NSA code into Android – July 10, 2013
Court rules NSA doesn’t have to reveal its semi-secret relationship with Google – May 22, 2013
Edward Snowden’s privacy tips: ‘Get rid of Dropbox,” avoid Facebook and Google – October 13, 2014


    1. Actually, not really. People with enough brain cells to choose Mac over Windows and iPhone over Android will also choose to pay for iCloud than put anything onto Google’s cloud.

      The price of storage for iCloud is considerably cheaper than what you have to give up in order to use Google. About the only people who don’t understand this are the ones thinking only about the money and nothing else.

      1. Still though… the 5GB free limit is too low. That gets filled up with all your iPhone and iPad backups. The 20GB tier for $1/month is also too low. Anybody who wants to put their photo library on iCloud certainly has more than 20GB of photos and videos. Therefore the only real option is the next tier up, 200GB for $4/month. That’s too expensive for simply storing photos. 200GB should be the free tier and anything above that should be premium. I expect we’ll see an announcement to this effect at WWDC.

  1. Well, after reading about it on MDN, I downloaded the Google Photos app, uploaded a batch of photos to test the wheels, so to speak – and I’ve been waiting now for two days for those photos to show up for display in the “Photos” section of the Photos app. No luck – despite re-uploading a number of times, and even restarting my PC several times.

  2. As is often the case, MacDailyNews take on this is dead on. The long arm of the government is nothing compared to the that of Google. The Gov accumulates facts and hasn’t the power to do much with them; Goggle can put it all together, slice and dice and come up with one’s entire life. I give Google as little as I can.

    1. “The Gov accumulates facts and hasn’t the power to do much with them”

      Oh, no, of course not. It isn’t like the government executed Black activists for decades, tried to get MLK to commit suicide, infiltrates and disrupts peaceful protest organizations, or jails or shoots innocent people. The government never hurts anyone with the info they gather.

      That said, I’ve been working on removing Google products, too.

  3. Nothing’s really free. Imagine how much Google is making for allowing you to put you photos on their servers. It’s really no different than a bank: Sure, we’ll keep your money safe for you but while you’r not using it we’ll invest it and make a bundle.

    1. the free discussion has 2 sides. the less you have, the more you look for free. the more you have, the more you are aware of the tradeoffs. this is a generalization, but holds true more often than not. free matters less to the 1% than the 99%.

      free has a price. many are willing to pay it, many of those are just not aware of the cost. a good way to assess the cost of free is the cost of your time. unemployed probably have a low wage for their time. busy people a high one.

      in another thread there is a discussion about consumer reports ranking apple’s customer support highest (again), even though it is just free for just 90 days for new purchases, compared to a year for most brands of computers. this is a good example of the cost of free, although consumer reports noted that only 1/2 of the problems were solved by the free support, if you don’t buy a mac, you need all the free support you can possibly get. you will need all of it. the bottomline is apple gets away with not having as many “free” teasers because it replaces cheap with quality. looks like more of the world is figuring that out every day. some of us have know this since 1985.

  4. Wow. The post-chemo take caught me off guard, and my first reaction was “that’s going too far, MDN”.

    But then I realized… no, it’s Google. They’ll totally do that, and more.

    1. This.

      Apple used to have an “Insanely Great” set of image-centric software tools (iLife), but it has become Abandonware and that which has remained has gotten watered down.

      Anything more than the most trivial and superficial customer use caes now means going back to Adobe on Microsoft…this means that Apple is going to lose their longstanding advocates and customers in the “ProSumer” level – – you know, the types of folks who have plenty of discretionary income and whose camera gear costs more than their Mac.

  5. Recently I was in the market for a camera. Suddenly every site I visited had camera ads in the margins. That was NOT cool. It was creepy. Like some guy coming up to you at lunch saying, “Hey buddy, I’ve been following you around for months and I noticed you like cameras. Want to check out mine?” Definitely not cool.

    1. I took a few marketing classes and they explicitly describe exactly how to do exactly this. I also find it very creepy and there are browser add-ons that try to block this capability, but not entirely.

    2. You ain’t seen nothin yet, hombre: Let’s say someone takes a pic of you and your family near Yosemite. Also included in the picture is your old Subaru, camping gear and a football. What has Google and their partners learned?

      1. You have three kids. One is under the age of ten and the other two are teenagers. It seems like you might need some pain killers for your stress headaches.

      2. There is a football in the pic, so Friday through Saturday you will be bombarded with football game promos. You should show your support by purchasing a new jersey and watching the game at The End Zone. – just watch out for fellas named Bubba Blue Balls.

      3. Did you know that the new Subaru is built tougher than ever and will get you and your family to your happy place in the mountains safer than before?

      Safety tip: don’t upload pics of you and your mistress swinging at Hairy’s Hot Tubs. Your wife might find the $20 off frequent visitor coupon in the mail.

  6. Apple does an excellent job at providing photo services, far exceeding any competitor option for one simple feature: privacy. Seems like this article is just more poor people complaining about the cost of iCloud storage BS. I even have the same stats for photos as this guy. The only difference between this guy and myself is that I’m not complaining about an entirely reasonable $3.99/month price for a huge 200GB storage space for everything I put in iCloud. Come on, seriously you and afford a single trip to Starbucks each month?! You clearly must be struggling, and for that matter probably can’t wash your clothing and also shouldn’t even have a smartphone or camera to begin with.

    1. Fair enough, but the storage cost isn’t the only “cost” involved – there’s also your ISP expenses to now be moving more data up/down.

      Case in point – just got back from vacation and downloaded around 80GB worth of new images onto my desktop system …

      …now consider just how much would it cost to have the high performance bandwidth from my local ISP to have been able to upload the same ~80GB to a Cloud account in – – oh, let’s be generous and say <8 hours (overnight)?

      FYI, for point of reference, a 50/50 Mbps fiber connection will take around 4 hours (at Theoretical max & zero ISP throttling) and will run around $100/month.

      And note that overall, ISP broadband costs tend to make the complaint on Cloud storage expenses … trivial.

      1. That’s an entirely different issue. Not apple’s fault you have a shotty ISP. I have unlimited 100mbps/10mbps for $60 (which I also reimburse every month). Not to mention this guy it comparing it to other cloud options, not local storage. Therefore no matter which choice he decided it would have internet expenses involved. Get a better ISP. Not one in your area? Then get a better town/country.

        1. Sorry Mike, but worldwide Statistics have consistently shown that the USA as a whole is way behind the rest of the world in bandwidth cost performance.

          Furthermore, my corner of the USA is one of the more affluent and highest population densities, which inherently means that the “Natural Monopoly” technical elements of barrier-to-competitive-entry is weakest here, yet our ISP product hardware choices are constrained between just Verizon and Comcast (no third option) and neither of these Big Boys are bothering to take marketshare from the other by offering a better value to the consumer. In fact, IIRC, they’re both trying to increase their rates yet again.

            1. I hate ISP’s. We should all each setup a hosted automated system to spoof emails from thousands of addresses complaining about their Internet services and send them every five minutes until there is improvement. They’ll waste more money sorting out which ones are legitimate complaints and real complaints and be forced to upgrade for the lesser cost.

            2. Don’t worry Mike: ISP’s hate you back: just look at the Comcast customer service nightmares. That’s proof that they do not give a damn about customer satisfaction, but are using the “Calculated Misery” business model because they know that there’s no real competition to worry about losing your business to.

              The only recourse for consumers right now is to effectively not play, which means to do without their product, or go with minimalist levels. This is already happening some with “Cut the Cord” on Cable..but Internet is another battle. Hopefully, the “Net Neutrality” FCC bit will be expanded to address the corporate exploitation of the ‘Natural Monopoly’ aspects of the distribution infrastructure in a pro-consumer fashion. I’m not holding my breath, though.

            3. Your recommendation of “move” is simply that of a coward – to run away.

              In them meantime, NJ Gov Chris Christie (Republican) not only approved the deregulation of this Monopoly, but the previously report of “No rate increases for the next 5 years” was a lie: they’re getting +36%. I expect (& hope) that this will attract a Federsl Anti-Trust lawsuit.

            4. Not necessarily. Certain places are getting 1000mbps/1000mbps (even as high as 2000mbps/2000mbps) from all major providers and multiple consumer choices of ISP, at several places within the U.S. These are not the only advancements these locations are getting. If you aren’t one of them, you’re living in a second-rate city, where progress forward is an afterthought not only to ISP’s but likely to many other industries as well. Why would you want to settle for less?

            5. So then Mike, just where is this nervanna where one can get 1Gbps for $20/month?

              After all, we don’t want to move the Goal Posts too far, because this thread has (had?) been about the cost of services.

            6. The going rate is $70 for that speed. Any city where Google has deployed Google Fiber also has their main competitor Comcast, Verizon Fios, and AT&T competing with the same speeds for the same price. All it took for Google to change the expectations for Internet and force competitive improvements was to offer the ridiculous. Now places like Atlanta are being upgraded to 2GBPS by Comcast proactively. Soon many major cities may see these upgrades, and after some time the prices will likely become lower to compete, but you sure won’t see it in the middle of nowhere or where there is no ISP competition.

            7. Unfortunately, Google is very much ‘cherry picking’ the market quite deliberatively and with highly favorable-to-Google contracts.

              Personally, the problem I have is that I live in a Metro Area that’s “Too Big” for Google to leverage … see this article:


              Nevertheless, you’re also just validating the point I made, which is that because “last mile” infrastructure is expensive, anyone proposing to bring a better value to the consumer requires the means to cause a deliberative disruption of the Status Quo Duopoly (Verizon + Comcast). Which is why locally, even mere “25/25” Mbps broadband currently costs over $100/mo after the promotional period.

    1. Since you brought it up, would they really sell more hardware doing that?

      I just don’t see people going out of their way to buy an iPhone just because it comes with more ad-free cloud photo storage.

      For the same outlay as giving everyone unlimited free storage there’s 100 other options that buyers would weight far higher when deciding to purchase.

  7. For some reason, it seems like the media needs to see everything as a war. I doubt that Apple sees this as a war. They just try to make great products, and change them when they need to .

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