Apple and cheap iCloud storage

“As you know, when you set up your iCloud account, you have a stingy 5GB of free storage,” Gene Steinberg writes for The Tech Night Owl. “If you want more, you have to pay for it.”

“Now the prices are competitive. For 99 cents you can have 50GB. Higher tiers include $2.99 a month for 200GB, $9.99 a month for 1TB, and $19.99 a month for 2TB (a recent addition). Compared to Microsoft and Google, it’s nearly the same, proportionately speaking, even though quantities are different,” Steinberg writes. “But Google offers 15GB free.”

“Apple’s 99 cent deal for 50GB is actually an ideal configuration. But is Apple really making so much money from that storage option that they couldn’t offer it free of charge? Well, if 50 million customers buy it, that adds up to a gross revenue of $49,500,000 per month, and that’s not chump change even to a company as large as Apple,” Steinberg writes. “However, Apple is starting to force the issue. More and more services are requiring larger iCloud Drive allocations. Up until recently, I managed with the free 5GB, but just barely. So I opted to go cheap and practical, and I pay 99 cents a month for 50GB. With my music and photo libraries, that’s just perfect. If I decided to include the Desktop and Documents folders, I would require more than 200GB, so I’d be forced to choose $9.99 a month for 1TB.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Hopefully, Apple’s iCloud storage costs continue to come down over time as having enough room in the cloud an integral part of making everything “just work” especially with now being able to shoot RAW photos and 4K video, Optimized Storage, iCloud Drive Desktop and Documents, etc.

SEE ALSO:
Time for Apple to rethink iCloud storage? – September 2, 2016
Is Apple’s iCloud storage worth $239.88 per year? – September 1, 2016
Apple adds new 2TB iCloud storage tier for $19.99 per month – August 31, 2016

32 Comments

  1. With DropBox you receive 5GB for free. If you need more than 5GB, you’ll pay $9.99/month (that’s the next larger increment). I don’t hear anyone complaining about this — why?

    1. Why no complaints?

      Easy: it is because one isn’t being effectively FORCED to use (& pay) Dropbox just to make their OS run.

      What’s offensive about Apple’s iCloud integration into their OS’s is that it is increasingly a hassle to _decline_ to use it.

      1. Your response makes absolutely no sense.

        Modern business transactions, including warranties, include penalties when promises are not kept. As it should be. The iCloud, like many other server rental outfits, offers the user no protection of any kind, it’s not trustworthy. Enjoy the tethered convenience if you want to, but there’s no way you should assume privacy or data integrity.

        There are cloud services that do guarantee privacy, accessibility, data integrity, etc — but you pay through the nose for it. For any tech savvy people or businesses, it’s better to just host your own data on a server that you own. Here’s just one of many plug & play solutions that enables you to maintain control of your data: http://www.synology.com

      1. Funny enough, you’d be the first one jumping down people’s throats in the pre-iPhone 7 days, when we were saying Apple should spend another dollar or two per device and bump the base storage from 16 GB to 32 GB.

        To wit: what do you think we are, charities?

      1. 1. Data access from a cloud server can be slow. Too slow for any time-critical or high performance programs to use effectively.

        2. No protection against Cloud outages. As you should know, the iCloud isn’t the most reliable service out there. But even worse, being tethered to the internet 24/7 means that service is also critical. In the past, productivity took only a minor hit when connectivity interruptions occurred – because with distributed personal computing, people can work offline wherever they want to do so. http://www.crn.com/slide-shows/cloud/300077635/the-10-biggest-cloud-outages-of-2015-so-far.htm

        3. Security. Just read the user agreement. You have no business on any cloud if you don’t trust Google or the NSA or 400 pound hackers. All it takes is one disgruntled employee to compromise your entire cloud. If you manage your own security, you can keep far better tabs on your data and its access. Yahoo couldn’t keep itself from being hacked in 2014 … and it took 2 years before it came clean to its users. What makes anyone think the iCloud, hosted on AWS, Google, and MS servers, is any more secure?

        4. Price — iCloud is renting. Renting is more expensive in the long run than owning. Any questions?

        5. Flexibility. When your needs change, what makes you think your Cloud vendor is going to scale with you?

        6. Customer support — who do you call when you have problems with iCloud?

        7. cross platform access. Some clouds are better than others. Apple’s is the worst.

        8. File versioning & syncing. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to this. But as we all know by now, Apple doesn’t do variety very well.

        9. consistency. Am I the only one around here who has noticed Apple’s short attention span? I pity anyone who relied on .Mac, MobileMe, and iCloud transitions. Anyone who thinks the new iCloud-centric Photos is better than good old Aperture is smoking something funny.

        10. interoperability. All of the consumer oriented services have plenty of disadvantages, from file incompatibility to file size restrictions to multi-user clashes over how to manage files (such as whether the iCloud version of a file is the master, or the original, or the working copy). Different software used to access common file types only compounds the problem, and Apple just doesn’t have great software anymore. Got a client who uses MS Office while you want to use iWork? Have fun with that. Apple dumbed down the Mac iWork software to work for the iCloud, not the other way around. Office on the other hand has been smooth sailing with file compatibility for 20 years, even with the XML transition.

        11. Miss a payment and …. what do you think happens?

        Bottom line: cloud computing, and even moreso the Apple iCloud, is not a silver bullet and there are many reasons not to like or trust it. It does not work for everyone.

        1. I’m guessing you work in IT huh Mike? You offer a rambling list of “stuff” some of which is either wrong or more relevant to a businesses vs consumers. I’d bore myself to tears taking down each one of your “points”

          1. So you’re too lazy to refute any of them? Boy doesn’t that make me want to rush out and subscribe to the lowest rated Cloud service out there. But we’re very happy managing our own servers, thanks.

            1. Ok I’ll play. I was on mobile device and didn’t want to type a book in my reply earlier…..

              1. Data access from a cloud server can be slow.

              Yes its called the Internet and data access can be slow from any point A to point B…whether that is a cloud/SaaS infrastructure or a server setup under your desk. Data access can be slow from ANYWHERE for a variety of reasons.

              2. No protection against Cloud outages. As you should know, the iCloud isn’t the most reliable service out there. But even worse, being tethered to the internet 24/7 means that service is also critical.

              Good or bad we live in a SaaS/Cloud world now. Yes there are occasional outages but the pros far outweigh the cons for MOST businesses and consumers. ALL SaaS providers have had their issues including MS, AWS, Salesforce.com, Apple, etc. Over the years all the services have matured and gotten more reliable. For most consumers, when the service goes down for a brief period its annoying but not critical meaning it isn’t costing them losing revenue like it would a business.

              3. Security. Just read the user agreement. You have no business on any cloud if you don’t trust Google or the NSA or 400 pound hackers. All it takes is one disgruntled employee to compromise your entire cloud. If you manage your own security, you can keep far better tabs on your data and its access.

              This is just plain wrong. Most consumers don’t have anywhere near the technical prowess to manage their own cloud. Kudos to you if you want to manage your own server but realize 99.999% of the world has zero interest in this. I trust a team of security experts from Apple, Salesforce, AWS, etc to protect my information more than I’d trust myself or any single person to keep on top of this.

              4. Price — iCloud is renting. Renting is more expensive in the long run than owning. Any questions?

              I’d argue it isn’t more expensive unless you’re calling the labor you put into maintaining your own server…as well as purchasing new software, upgrading hw/sw over the years “free”. The value prop of SaaS is its pay as you go and insulates you from having to do grunt work and manage the technology. Because you appear to prefer this approach doesn’t mean it makes sense to the rest of us.

              5. Flexibility. When your needs change, what makes you think your Cloud vendor is going to scale with you?

              Ok but there aren’t any burning needs I’ve had in the past or I see in the future that compels me to manage my own server. Apple iCloud is good enough for me (and actually pretty damn awesome) for what I need. Would I like more storage space for less money? Sure.

              6. Customer support — who do you call when you have problems with iCloud?

              apple.com/support. Just like you would for ANY other product or service issue you have with Apple.

              7. cross platform access. Some clouds are better than others. Apple’s is the worst.

              Ahh so it sounds like there is some personal baggage you have with Apple. Trust me I’d be pissed off if I lost pictures, information, or had an issue that fucked me over so I get it. But iCloud has improved immensely and been very reliable (at least for me) for years now.

              8. File versioning & syncing. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to this. But as we all know by now, Apple doesn’t do variety very well.

              Yep agree. Do many consumers need or require this? I’d guess a pretty small percentage of Apple’s customer base and thats probably why they haven’t prioritized this feature quite yet.

              9. consistency. Am I the only one around here who has noticed Apple’s short attention span? I pity anyone who relied on .Mac, MobileMe, and iCloud transitions. Anyone who thinks the new iCloud-centric Photos is better than good old Aperture is smoking something funny.

              Yes its been a…uh…”journey” through their iterations of cloud offerings. Is it perfect? No. Is it vastly improved and getting better? Yes. Personally I wasn’t a huge fan of Aperture but more due to the fact that our family takes LOTS of pictures and I just don’t have time/interest anymore to spend large amounts of time editing and organizing pictures. I need the cloud to assist me with this. I downloaded and looked at Google Photos app and although I’m no fan of Google data mining they do introduce new beta features that are interesting. I have no doubt Apple Photos will intro new features and AI smarts to help me organize and edit my photos.

              10. interoperability. All of the consumer oriented services have plenty of disadvantages, from file incompatibility to file size restrictions to multi-user clashes over how to manage files (such as whether the iCloud version of a file is the master, or the original, or the working copy). Different software used to access common file types only compounds the problem, and Apple just doesn’t have great software anymore. Got a client who uses MS Office while you want to use iWork? Have fun with that. Apple dumbed down the Mac iWork software to work for the iCloud, not the other way around. Office on the other hand has been smooth sailing with file compatibility for 20 years, even with the XML transition.

              This is probably more applicable to a business than a consumer SaaS limitation. Apple seems more focused on consumers issues than business. I think that model continues to evolve and you see them partnering more with companies like SAP, Deloitte, etc so I have no doubt things will improve going forward. Realize though Apple’s strategy doesn’t appear to be to build a better Office app. They think different and your mileage may vary.

              11. Miss a payment and …. what do you think happens?

              Same thing that happens if you don’t pay your utility bill, cell bill, mortgage payment, etc. Apple does give you tools to backup ALL your info, photos, etc locally and sync it automatically over WiFi. I don’t need to use iCloud unless I see value.

              Whew……

            2. I can’t tell if you’re attempting to refute Mike or agree with him. Seems like you back up most of what he wrote.

              As for me, I think Software As A Service absolutely sucks. I lived through the mainframe thin client computing era. It sucks being tethered at all times. With a personal computer, you can work offline anywhere. Subscription based computing is bad for consumers and it’s not saving small businesses money in the long run either. The only people who love the cloud are the large businesses where rental fees are used for tax advantages and the schmucks choosing the tech aren’t the ones doing the accounting. It always looks good on paper to see a low monthly cost, but the technical, operations, and security tradeoffs just don’t save in the long run.

              Consumer based clouds are 100% driven by advertising companies that data mine your stuff. That includes the iCloud.

  2. Don’t trust iCloud much as I would like.

    They make it hard to comprehend the iCloud system, for starters. No big picture view of just what’s going on. Even with Apple, “cloud” means “somebody else’s computer.”

    But I pay them 99 cents a month to back up my phone.

    No interest in using their Cloud for all the stuff Sierra offers, though. Apple will find it hard to convince me the NSA doesn’t vacuum their data between me and “virtual Cupertino.”

  3. Or, you can buy a Western Digital 3Tb MyCloud drive for under $150.

    Why buy this drive? Because when you do you get a 3Tb external drive AND 3Tb of cloud storage from Western Digital for FREE! FOREVER.

    I called them to double check on this before I bought one and they verified it.

    It works pretty well and uploads faster than DropBox. Little kludgy getting an entire folder to download but once you understand the madness to their method it goes smoothly.

    1. A single Time Machine backup provides no offsite backup, though. In case of fire where both computer and backup drive is destroyed, you’re screwed.

      For a cloud-less Time Machine backup with offsite assurance, you’d need at least two disks with TM backups, in different locations (e.g. home, office, relative’s home, etc) and never let the two be in the same location at the same time.

      1. Hey mossman, stop confusing the noobs with facts and common sense. They just want something free of really cheap and don’t care if it really does the job as long as it is cheap.

        1. By “on the network” do you mean at a large office or enterprise network with the backup some distance away?

          Because otherwise, being on the same home network means it’s still at the same physical location, and a house fire could easily destroy both.

          > “You don’t have to send your data to iCloud / Google Cloud Services in order to protect against local hazards.”

          If you carefully reread what I wrote, I specifically noted how you can protect against local hazards *without* cloud services, you just need more than one TM backup, and in different locations.

  4. With iCloud currently being hosted in large part on AWS, Google and Microsoft datacenters, I’m thinking Apple simply puts a virtual ‘wrapper’ on user data stored at those locations. Perhaps for more advanced users that have other cloud storage subscriptions already, Apple could integrate that wrapper into iOS and MacOS to create personal iCloud wrapped folders for their devices on those other services since your data will probably be placed there anyway.

  5. The deal-breaker for me is the incredibly bad response time on iCloud. I have put a document from my Mac up on iCloud, and it will often be hours before I can access it on my other devices. They just don’t see it. Also, changes made to a document don’t propagate at anything like real-time. That makes the service completely useless for anyone who wants to be able to access documents across multiple devices without waiting for hours or days to ensure that the document up on the web is the latest version.

    That issue is a complete deal-killer for me.

    1. Apple has never, repeat, NEVER done cloud services even remotely as good as the competition. They have been 3rd rate hacks since the .Mac days. Apple has NEVER improved.

      iCloud is an abysmal service.

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