Apple's new iCloud storage plans: Cheap for consumers, even cheaper for developers

Posted:
in iCloud edited August 2014
At this week's Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, Apple announced a restructuring of its iCloud storage and computing services as part of an apparent bid to stem the tide of user data flowing from iOS and OS X to competitors like Dropbox and Facebook.




If there were a commodities market for intangible goods, consumer data wouldn't trade very far behind breathable air. Physically trading a Vaio for a MacBook or an iPhone for a Moto X is easy; migrating data between those platforms isn't, and that makes for particularly strong platform loyalty.

Apple has seen competitors wrest control of its users' data away in recent years, and the company is responding to the threat with a number of new features and pricing changes that are good for both consumers and developers.

Consumers

Users have long lampooned Apple for its relatively stingy approach to doling out storage allowances. Each iCloud account comes with just 5 gigabytes of disk space by default, an amount that's easily eclipsed by normal users, especially those who make heavy use of the iPhone's camera.

Apple's upgrade options are equally vexing: $20 per year adds just 10 gigabytes of additional space, with $40 netting another 10 gigabytes and $100 adding only 30 gigabytes more, bringing the total allowance to 50 gigabytes. That same $100 per year would buy twice the space -- 100 gigabytes -- from Dropbox or Box.com and an extra $20 would bring a whopping 1 terabyte from Google Drive.



iCloud's storage limits were marginally defensible when the service was limited to synchronizing data from iOS and Mac apps. With iCloud Drive, however, Apple is pitting iCloud against a horde of firmly-entrenched competitors and has rethought its pricing strategy.

With the launch of iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite, the base storage allocation will remain at 5 gigabytes. Upgrading to 20 gigabytes will cost just $0.99 per month, though, with 200 gigabytes coming in at only $3.99 per month. Additional tiers of up to 1 terabyte will be available, but their pricing hasn't been announced.

Those costs put iCloud Drive in an excellent position on storage space alone, but it shines yet brighter over its competition when considering iCloud's seamless integration with Apple's devices. The budding iCloud.com suite -- which includes web-based versions of Numbers, Pages, and Keynote -- adds even more value.

Developers

Developers can also take advantage of iCloud Drive to store and synchronize documents and data for their apps, but they've got a service all their own: CloudKit. CloudKit is a new, "effectively free" service that lets developers store users' data in the cloud with asset storage (for things like photos) as well as database space.



There are a number of other advantages for developers adopting CloudKit, but Apple's generous storage allowances are the tentpole feature. Apps start out with 5 gigabytes of storage for assets and 50 megabytes for database; each additional user adds 100 megabytes of asset storage and 1 megabyte of database space.

Data transfer is included as well, starting at 25 megabytes per day for assets and 250 kilobytes per day for database. Those are bumped up by 0.5 megabytes and 5 kilobytes, respectively, per day per user.
CloudKit's top asset storage tier would cost tens of thousands of dollars per month from other vendors.
Apps can store up to a petabyte of assets and 10 terabytes of data while transferring 5 terabytes of assets and 50 gigabytes of data each day -- for free. The asset storage and transfer alone would cost developers at least $40,000 per month if they used Amazon's Simple Storage Service.

There is one catch, of course: since iCloud is tied to iOS, apps will either need to stay exclusive to Apple's platform or build with more than one storage backend in mind.

With the mobile wars heating up, it will be a difficult decision?--?but Apple has given them hundreds of thousands of reasons to consider it.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 187
    sneathsneath Posts: 10member
    As soon as Yosemite and iOS 8 launch Dropbox is out the door!
  • Reply 2 of 187
    andysolandysol Posts: 2,506member
    sneath wrote: »
    As soon as Yosemite and iOS 8 launch Dropbox is out the door!
    I, personally, won't use it for my data- but I'll still keep it as plenty of other people use it and I randomly use it for business now, and I doubt others will be changing like me- particularly those on windows.
    I liken it to word/pages. I took office off my computer, but still export to word when I need to send to someone for further editing (although 99% of uses I can just do PDF)
  • Reply 3 of 187
    melseamelsea Posts: 2member
    Not sure you have picked up the pricing comparison quite right - Google Drive is $100 per month (not per year) for 10TB! If only...!
  • Reply 4 of 187
    melseamelsea Posts: 2member
    Not sure you have picked up the pricing quite right - Google Drive is $100 per month (not per year) for 10TB. If only...!
  • Reply 5 of 187
    mattbookairmattbookair Posts: 161member
    This will finally solve my photo library problems, and for that I will purchase at least 200GB. Dropbox is (truly) great, but can't handle iPhoto libraries, which means I can't keep my desktop, laptop (let alone iOS devices) synced (and thus back-ups all need to be looked after). I may keep DropBox (but just reduced from 200GB to 100GB), since I use it to share with some "non Mac" friends. As far as I'm concerned the new iCloud implementation can't come quickly enough.
  • Reply 6 of 187
    Check this my first photo editing app .Please download and encourage me ..https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/bubblepics/id878682563?mt=8
  • Reply 7 of 187
    djkikromedjkikrome Posts: 189member
    Hopefully apple won't abandon this and us like they did with mac.com and me.com, both of which I put plenty of money into. I really missed my gallery for sharing photos and videos with family.
  • Reply 8 of 187
    Will we have the normal teething issues whilst Apple Users do Apples research and development for nothing. Apples track record indicates we will be abandoned in 18 months time when a revised scheme breaks.

    Apple has lost its way and is no longer leading but is now like Ford, let others come up ideas and then improves it.

    I am a very long standing Apple User from the IIE but feel we no longer matter, Apple knows best, well it does not and certainly ignores many issues raised by its users.
  • Reply 9 of 187
    andysolandysol Posts: 2,506member
    djkikrome wrote: »
    Hopefully apple won't abandon this and us like they did with mac.com and me.com, both of which I put plenty of money into. I really missed my gallery for sharing photos and videos with family.

    The fact this includes iDevices while Mac and me obviously didn't (couldn't)- essentially proves they will. Not to mention all their data servers. You can see they have spent billions on this for the long run.
  • Reply 10 of 187
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,594member
    djkikrome wrote: »
    Hopefully apple won't abandon this and us like they did with mac.com and me.com, both of which I put plenty of money into. I really missed my gallery for sharing photos and videos with family.
    Photo streams were an improvement IMO.
  • Reply 11 of 187
    jupiteronejupiterone Posts: 1,564member
    djkikrome wrote: »
    Hopefully apple won't abandon this and us like they did with mac.com and me.com, both of which I put plenty of money into. I really missed my gallery for sharing photos and videos with family.
    That's hard to imagine, seeing all the the new and planned data centers Apple has coming online/being planned.
  • Reply 12 of 187
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,594member
    hitchhyker wrote: »
    Will we have the normal teething issues whilst Apple Users do Apples research and development for nothing. Apples track record indicates we will be abandoned in 18 months time when a revised scheme breaks.

    Apple has lost its way and is no longer leading but is now like Ford, let others come up ideas and then improves it.

    I am a very long standing Apple User from the IIE but feel we no longer matter, Apple knows best, well it does not and certainly ignores many issues raised by its users.
    When you finally jump ship I am pretty sure you will discover that the 'other companies' are not exactly stellar in those regards. Let us know how you go.
  • Reply 13 of 187
    djkikromedjkikrome Posts: 189member
    paxman wrote: »
    Photo streams were an improvement IMO.
    But you couldn't share with everyone with any browser like before and that was the big loss for me. Everyone I know doesn't have a mac to the newest is so it didn't work well. The gallery was a web page which worked for all.
  • Reply 14 of 187
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,471member
    While those prices are cheaper than before, they aren't cheap. I think that at least 20GB should be free. Then $1 a month for 50GB.

    These numbers don't seem as big as they did just a few years ago.
  • Reply 15 of 187
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,789member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by melgross View Post



    While those prices are cheaper than before, they aren't cheap. I think that at least 20GB should be free. Then $1 a month for 50GB.



    These numbers don't seem as big as they did just a few years ago.

     

    I agree....I think the standard free amount is a kick in a nuts to consumers. 20 GB should be the standard and you purchase from there. 

  • Reply 16 of 187
    bighypebighype Posts: 148member
    No more evil Dropbox for me!!! Condoleeza Rice and that lying a-hole Dropbox CEO can go mess with other people's data.
  • Reply 17 of 187
    sailorpaulsailorpaul Posts: 297member
    Any word on if this can work for small business were BYO employees arrive with their own Apple ID on their phone/iPad? I'd want to end their access privilidges when they leave
  • Reply 18 of 187
    boredumbboredumb Posts: 1,414member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by djkikrome View Post

     
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by paxman View Post



    Photo streams were an improvement IMO.


    But you couldn't share with everyone with any browser like before and that was the big loss for me. Everyone I know doesn't have a mac to the newest is so it didn't work well. The gallery was a web page which worked for all.

    I'm curious - who couldn't you share with?  PhotoStreams for other OSX or iOS users, Public Website for 'non' (or, I think, jail-broken Apple users), if I'm remembering correctly, but it's been awhile since I did one.

  • Reply 19 of 187
    djkikromedjkikrome Posts: 189member
    boredumb wrote: »
    I'm curious - who couldn't you share with?  PhotoStreams for other OSX or iOS users, Public Website for 'non' (or, I think, jail-broken Apple users), if I'm remembering correctly, but it's been awhile since I did one.
    With stream, my parents couldn't see it because they have an old OS and my other family couldn't see it on windoze because they had to download apple software and they didn't want to do that. With old gallery, they just went to your gallery webpage and it was all there.
  • Reply 20 of 187
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,789member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by djkikrome View Post





    With stream, my parents couldn't see it because they have an old OS and my other family couldn't see it on windoze because they had to download apple software and they didn't want to do that. With old gallery, they just went to your gallery webpage and it was all there.

     

    Simple...buy new Macs and toss the PC in the trash! :) Problem solved!

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