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    The New iCloud: More Affordable, More Useful

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    Amit Srivatsa
    Amit Srivatsa Oct 6, 2015

    In their last month’s annual event, Apple surprised us all by announcing a 50% reduction in the cost of its premium cloud storage service – iCloud. In hindsight, it shouldn’t have come as a surprise, because the charges are way too high – even by Apple standards – for the same service that is being offered at much lower rates by competitors like Google and Microsoft.

    What is iCloud?

    iCloud is basically your fail-safe for forgetting to backup your data, like photos, videos, music, documents and contacts. All that stuff is automatically taken care of for you. It also allows you to upload and share files (a.k.a Dropbox) and collaborate on iWork documents in the cloud (a.k.a. Google Drive).

    In the new scheme of events, the standard free space still remains at 5 GB. Which is a bit of a let down because both Google and Microsoft offer three times as much to all their users for free. In fact, Microsoft goes a step further and gives an extra 15 GB for free (so a total of 30 GB) if you download their OneDrive mobile app and choose to auto backup your camera reel.

    You’ll Soon Need More iCloud Storage

    • Your iPhone takes beautiful photos and videos. Backing-up all those high resolution memories on iCloud takes up a lot of space. And now with new iPhone 6S and 6 Plus adding more megapixels, live photos and 4K videos, your free storage is going to run out in no time.
    • Apple’s new music streaming service Apple Music backs-up your entire audio library to iCloud. Even if your collection is small, squeezing it in 5GB is going to a challenge.
    • As mentioned earlier, all your documents are also synced through iCloud so that you can work on them across platforms. The more iWork usage you have, the more space you need.
    • iCloud has also been made the stand alone document sharing app in iOS 9. If you have used services like Dropbox, you will know storing and sharing files eats up your storage faster than you can imagine.

    Consider my usage for example:As it’s clear, I’m almost at the end of my 5 GB, a bulk of my space being taken up by photos. Here’s the best part – I don’t even own an iPhone! I was contemplating getting myself one now that price of older models are bound to drop with the release of 6S and 6Plus. But looking at this data, I don’t think it will last even a week with all the space I am left with! I will have to go GB shopping, which brings another question to mind …

    Which is the Best Cloud Storage Service?

    There are literally scores of services offering cloud space. And to be entirely honest, all of them are more or less the same in terms of functionality. That said, Apple, Google, and Microsoft manage to beat the others since they’re included in their respective mobile operating systems. But that also means that we end up using more space than we’d have otherwise. And this is cloud space that we have to buy!
    Which then, is the best storage out there? Have a look at the monthly price structures:

    Note: Google doesn’t offer a 200GB plan so for the sake of easy comparison, we’ve taken it’s 100 GB plan and doubled the cost.

    It is clear that Apple is behind in the small users section – poeple who don’t own an iPhone, most likely. For the heavy users, Microsoft is way ahead of competition. In the medium range though Apple is a clear winner. Most of us fall in that range. 15GB may not be enough for us, but we’re most probably never gonna need 1TB either! In the range that matters, then, Apple has scored home run.

    Which brings us to another question …

    Has the new pricing helped Apple?

    The new structure is definitely an incentive for people like me who are contemplating leaving android and moving to iOS. Paying $2.99 a month ( ~ INR 250) for 200GB of freedom is not such a big price and I would gladly pay it. And I think that’s where Apple wins – just like it has always done – in making people choose them over competitors.

    For those who are already in the Apple ecosystem, upgrading to the higher plan is a no brainer. But this new price also provides an impetus to those who want to move to Apple. Let’s hope that Apple expands this trend to their other services as well, because for the Indian market, price is still their biggest barrier.

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