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I wrote a piece last month arguing that it was time for Apple to up its iCloud game, showing that the company is serious about cloud storage by focusing more on fast, reliable syncing, and by matching the functionality, storage capacities, and pricing of Google Drive.

In the WWDC keynote, Apple did exactly that. MobileMe may not, in Steve Jobs’ words, have been Apple’s finest hour, but it did at least include iDisk – an online drive we could access directly to store anything we liked – not just documents created in Apple’s own apps. It’s been a long time coming, but iDisk is finally back in the form of iCloud Drive.

The new iCloud pricing, too, looks set to be exactly what I asked for – comparable to Google Drive… 

Apple previously gave us 5GB free, then 15GB for $20/year, 25GB for $40/year and maxed-out at a paltry 55GB for $100/year. I pointed out that Google Drive, in contrast, gave us 15GB free, 100GB for $24/year and 1TB for $120/year.

What Apple has so far announced is this:

newpricing

We still only get 5GB free, but 200GB for $48/year is exactly in line with Google’s 100GB for $24/year. That suggests the 1TB tier will also be comparable.

A number of 9to5Mac readers have commented previously that it would be fairer if you at least got that 5GB free on a per-device basis. Buy an iPhone, get 5GB. Buy an iPad as well, get an extra 5GB. Buy a Mac too, get a further 5GB. That would certainly be a nice touch, and there’s still time for Apple to do it given that it hasn’t yet given us chapter-and-verse.

Apple maxes out at 1TB in contrast with Google’s 30TB, but to be honest, 1TB is likely to be enough for any individual or one-person business – and it’s of course possible to have one account per person in larger businesses. I’m happy enough with that.

sync

I also complained about the lag you sometimes got in syncing via iCloud, and the less-than-seamless handoff when working on the same document on multiple devices. The proof will be in the pudding, but the Handoff feature in Yosemite appears to be promising instantaneous syncing between the same document on OS X and iOS devices – and Apple is touting this as just one of a number of “continuity features.”

dropbox

There’s one other thing Apple has to get right to make iCloud a true replacement for all other cloud storage services: app support.

Dropbox has succeeded in making itself the default cloud storage option for any data that an app needs to sync or transfer between devices. There are a vast number of apps out there with Dropbox support baked right into them. It’s the reason I still have a (free) Dropbox account in addition to my Google Drive.

Fortunately, it looks like Apple is on track with that too: third parties can hook right into the iCloud Drive APIs. So if developers support iCloud Drive, that automatically creates support for third-party services that hook into it – which Dropbox will surely do.

It may even be that iCloud Drive kills Dropbox. Dropbox gives even less space than Apple for free – just 2GB (though referrals can take that up to 16GB), and then charges $199/year for 200GB (vs $48 on Apple’s new iCloud pricing) and an absurd $499/year for 500GB (vs $120 for twice as much on Google Drive). If it doesn’t fix that, it may not be around for too much longer.

sum

So has Apple finally given me what I wanted, and turned iCloud into a serious product that will allow me to stop messing around with an untidy mish-mash of iCloud, Dropbox and Google Drive? Time will tell, but from what I’ve seen so far, I’m optimistic.

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76 Responses to “Opinion: Has Apple finally promoted iCloud from a hobby to a serious service?”

  1. It wasn’t really ever a hobby

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    • Ben Lovejoy says:

      The reference was to Steve Jobs referring to Apple TV as a hobby, despite it being a fully-fledged commercial product. It just wasn’t one at the time that he considered finished. I viewed Apple’s iCloud offering to date in the same light. With these moves, it should become the real deal.

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      • hmurchison says:

        I agree with Jonathan. Hobby was not the appropriate word to use in reference to iCloud. Apple’s has always taken iCloud seriously as witnessed by WWDC ’14 announcement.

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      • Ben Lovejoy says:

        I don’t think it could be said to be taking it seriously with a 55GB maximum, and no cloud drive. But the good news is that it appears to be doing so now.

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      • Yeah, I have to agree it’s been a hobby going on ten years now.

        At this point I feel like they are simply playing catchup and the reason Dropbox doesn’t offer more storage is because people don’t seem to need it. It’s probably why Apple only offers 5GB’s for free, because the average person really doesn’t need any more than that for syncing documents.

        Will Apple kill off Dropbox? That’s ludicrous. Apple doesn’t have apps for Windows or Linux, which the majority of people in the world use, so no, they won’t be killing off Dropbox any time soon.

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      • smigit says:

        I also disagree that iCloud was a hobby. If you look at how Apple TV is positioned and how Steve Jobs talked about the device there are huge differences between that and how Apple has handled iCloud. Steve Jobs when he referred to Apple TV as a hobby during D interviews around 2007 also said they weren’t sure if the approach they were taking was going to be successful so they were treading the water lightly and almost using the device as an experiment.

        Thats a large contrast to iCloud which has been a major focus of almost all presentations Apple has delivered since its announcement, and for the past two or so years each OS has had major features built on top of iCloud based services. The depth of integration that Apple has incorporated into their OS and the application on it is a far cry from how one would treat a ‘hobby’ service. There has also been the introduction of online apps over the past few months. They could pull Apple TV from the shelves tomorrow and it would hardly disrupt their existing lineup…try turning off the iCloud servers and see what happens.

        Certainly iCloud didn’t meet everyones needs previously, but I think it’s a bit daft to call the service a hobby for Apple too. Also, users who don’t need an online drive probably will see very little change as a result of this weeks announcement anyway. Peoples photos will continue to sync via iPhoto, and for many thats all they ever needed from the service.

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      • Ben Lovejoy says:

        Yep, it’s certainly true that many iOS users probably only use it for photos and iPhone backup. Personally, I view the (re)launch of the drive and increase in maximum storage space from 55GB to 1TB as a big deal, though.

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    • @Michael,

      Actually when the new iCloud Drive launches alongside the new iOS and OS X, they will have a Windows component, probably integrated into the iCloud Control Panel, which will provide the same style of local Dropbox-like folder in your library in Windows.

      If they do this, they will definitely nibble on the heels of Google, Dropbox, OneDrive, and others. Even if they don’t have Linux support big deal. That platform has what, 1.5% market share? It’s irrelevant in the grand scheme of things.

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    • I don’t know iCloud was a hobby. I do, however, think that Apple has a long history of being light on storage space and being behind the times in terms of appropriate capacity. With iDisk, Apple increased the default storage capacity to 250mb in 2004. While Gmail was offering a ‘revolutionary,’ 1GB. Apple was charging $99/year to use it’s .Mac services – a price which was considered very competitive. Apple was then behind the times on iCloud. Offering too little storage for too much money. History repeating itself, right? Apple has done the same thing with it’s hardware. They are behind the times on the basic level of storage capacity a device should come with 16GB – and in some cases they are still selling 8GB iPhones! They are also charging too much for their storage $100 for every doubling of the capacity. The same thing goes for the Time Capsule. Apple has repeated this over and over again. Maybe they don’t see this as a problem, but I don’t think they see it as a hobby, either.

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  2. I love it. I think it is perfect especially since now I will be able to backup my family’s iPhone’s and iPad’s for $12 a year without having to use space on my Macbook hard drives!

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  3. Frank Lazar says:

    ICloud is not going to kill drop box any more than Mac is going to kill Windows, despite Microsoft’s earnest efforts to shoot itself in the foot. Cook is smart enough to realise this which is why he’s put in hooks for other cloud services to be used. The new ICloud is going to be fantastic glue for binding together an Apple based lifestyle, but to the world outside of Apple, it’s still playing catchup.

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    • Ben Lovejoy says:

      When Apple and Dropbox has similar pricing, that looked to many people like the norm, and Google Drive was the lesser-known lower-cost service. But when Apple starts promoting this pricing, Dropbox is suddenly going to look very expensive. My belief is it will be forced to respond, or it will die.

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      • Frank Lazar says:

        The thing is … right now, iCloud is almost entirely useless if your desktop isn’t centered on the Mac, there’s practically no use for it on a Windows machine and despite Microsoft’s self-inflicted wounds, Mac is still a niche player in what is going to remain for the foreseeable future, a Windows dominated kingdom as far as the desktop is concerned. A lot of windows users buy iPhones, but they won’t be the wonder extensions of the desktop that they’ll be for Mac users. And Cook isn’t giving that much sign doing anything forward with Windows support.

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      • PMZanetti says:

        With this pricing and the much deeper integration, I already have designs on canceling Dropbox.

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      • @ Frank Lazar: Sounds like most of the new features of iCloud will be available on Windows, including the photo service and iCloud Drive. I can see iCloud Drive taking a big chuck of users away from Dropbox because of this (the cheaper pricing won’t hurt either).

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      • Ben Lovejoy says:

        Mac is far from niche these days, but the point is that it makes cloud pricing much more visible – and even non-Mac users are going to wonder why Dropbox charges so much more. That’s why I think the company can’t ignore this.

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      • You keep saying “respond to”, respond to what? Nerds like you whom need more space? Find out how much cloud space that average person uses and then talk to us about Dropbox’s need to respond. So far, nothing out there supports anything you’re hypothesizing. Everyone knows Google Drive, but so far it’s cheaper prices haven’t seemed to put a dent in Dropbox’s market share. Apple’s cloud service has been a joke for the last TEN YEARS and NOW you think it’s going to magically be perfect and take out the most reliable cloud service that people have been using, more or less seamlessly, for years now? People have good memories, and Apple has their work cut out for them if they want to take down Dropbox. Even giving 5GB’s per device wouldn’t do it. Maybe 50GB’s per device would get people to notice and think Apple was taking the cloud more seriously now.

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      • Keep in mind Dropbox makes money in a couple of unrelated ways:

        1) Freemium on iOS
        2) Freemium on Android
        3) Corporate

        The company has spent the past year beefing up the sales team and product to support #3. While #1 and #2 have been helpful in getting Dropbox access to capital and some recurring revenue, the conversion ratio has fallen well below 1%.

        As for #2, it’s not threatened by Apple. #1 surely is, but already paying Dropbox customers will be slow-ish to move. The fact Dropbox won’t likely add many more of those on iOS (except via corporate deals) is hardly fatal, even though it’s not good news for Dropbox.

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      • Ben Lovejoy says:

        Michael, perhaps I made my point too obliquely. I don’t expect iCloud to directly take on Dropbox for non-Apple users. What I do expect is that it will make a big song-and-dance about iCloud come the fall, and at that point people who hadn’t noticed Google Drive pricing – which I think is true of most, as you put it, non-nerds – are likely to notice the disparity.

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      • Gotcha. Just remember, Apple talks a good game. But for a decade now, they haven’t been able to back it up with a functional cloud.

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      • Ben Lovejoy says:

        Yep, we have to wait and see for sure, but I’m hopeful …

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    • @Frank : You may’ve forgotten that iCloud Drive is also available on Windows. I agree, it’s still centered around Apple and you have to own at least one Apple device to take full advantage of what it offers but so long as you own at least an iPhone or iPad you’ll have access to the iWork Suite as well as all your other documents and photos from a Windows box.

      And as Ben pointed out Apple is far from niche. You could make that claim when all Apple had was the iPod and obviously years before that but there anything but today.

      All I’m waiting for now is a matrix that compares iCloud Drive, Dropbox, Box, OneCloud and Google Drive. One of the biggest advantages Apple has over the competition is that (for new customers) you get a full desktop suite of products for any new Apple device you purchase. Not even Microsoft can make that claim since they don’t bundle Office 365. With Apple you’re getting iWork and 5GB of storage at no additional cost. Understanding the limitations of iWork it’s still more than capable for most users.

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  4. dugbug says:

    If they removed device backup from counting toward our allotment this would work for me

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  5. It looks pretty great! I can’t wait to find out what the higher pricing tiers will be, but the lower tiers definitely seem reasonable.

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  6. IMO Apple still fell short in their announcements – maybe they can change their message in the fall.

    Every iOS device should come with free iCloud *BACKUP* capacity at least equal to the device’s storage size (just to keep it all in line). Photos should all be backed up in an UNLIMITED fashion for all iOS and OSX devices. This would allow keeping X number of photos on your device while absolutely every photo gets safely backed up and is available on any device (configurable).

    I’m OK with the priced tiers for extra capacity.

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    • Tim Jr. says:

      That makes no sense.. unless you’re giving away the house and dog too.. Photo’s are the number one killer of space.. Why would they allow unlimited/unmetered use? No one does that. I certainly wouldn’t expect them too..

      For App backups and such.. yea.. they already store the apps anyway in the App store.. so it’s not like they have to ‘backup’ the app, just the config data.. Same with most of the contacts, notes, etc.. not a biggy..

      Photo’s though, they gotta charge for and count..

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      • You are wrong, Photos are NOT “the number killer of space”, especially since PhotoStream stores photos outside of the 5GB quota. The true number one killer of space -right now- is the Messages DB for users with more than one device backup on their iCloud. There are bugs both in Messages and Photos apps that cause both apps to consume backup storage at an inordinate rate. In Messages, the database does not vacuum properly and there is no FIFO limit. In Photos, the library periodically eats itself and redownloads/clones the entire Photo Library.Until Apple fixes those bugs, iCloud backups will keep getting bigger and bigger and the user can’t make them smaller short of completely wiping all the devices. This is a known issue, filed against iOS 7.0x and iOS 7.1.x (as well as earlier versions). The truth is Apple has been “leaking” iCloud backup space for well over a year, the photos themselves notwithstanding.

        This is another good reason why Apple should be providing 5GB PER device; save the user from bugs and cover their butt. Instead, since the iPhone 4 will not be getting iOS 8, the “fixes” for those bugs will not make it to those users at all. So users with an iPhone 4 with corrupt content on their account will hit the 5GB limit and any new devices added to the account will also suffer.

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      • Jassi Sikand says:

        @Scott: Not true. The biggest space killer is photos. iMessages are saved in iCloud anyway and do not count against you. There are also bugs where iCloud will determine that Camera/Photos is using much more space than it actually is.

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      • @Jassi iMessages considered “in transit” do not count against the quota, but they certainly are not STORED. If you don’t fire up your iPad for a while, you won’t get months of back iMessages, hence no “storage”. What I was speaking about was once the iMessages are DELIVERED, their content and attachments are stored in the messages.db file. So they ABSOLUTELY then chew up iCloud backup space. Add in some pretty bad code/nasty bugs, and that db doesn’t get vacuumed and the attachments don’t get removed/become orphans. If you upgrade from one device to the next, the corruption follows it…and then both devices start to consume inordinate backup space. The Photos app problem is a bit different. It just randomly decides that your Photos DB is corrupt and will pull photos out of “backup” even if you have iCloud’s Settings explicitly set NOT to back up your Camera Roll. Worst, it will pull the photos down over cellular if it happens while you are not on Wi-Fi and chew through your data plan allotment too. Nice. (For the record, iOS 5/6 has a bug which Apple STILL has failed to acknowledge whereby iOS will do iCloud backups over cellular…which is never supposed to happen. But it does! And chews through your data plan. A call to AT&T will get your overages removed. Since AT&T is even more stingy than Apple, a rather odd move if there wasn’t an issue, eh?)

        Look, as I mentioned, I have bugs filed with Apple on both the iMessages and Photos app issues, and engineering confirmed them. This is one of those things that Jailbreaking makes a HUGE difference on, because it took so long after iOS 7 came to get the jailbreak, it was nearly a year since I first opened the cases (under iOS 6) until I could confirm that the bugs still existed in iOS 7. If you jailbreak, you can go in via SSH and see your iPhone’s root filesystem and find the messages.db and associated files. You can open them, as they’re SQLite dbs. The fact that I examined nearly a dozen db files from multiple user iPhones/iPads in order to bolster my bug report (it took Apple almost a year to confirm and netted one client a free iPhone 5 over the hassle), this isn’t a little thing. Just most users aren’t Jailbroken and don’t understand why their backup space is seemingly disappearing. If Apple doesn’t admit it, does a falling tree make sound?

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      • Jassi Sikand says:

        @Scooter: I’ve looked through what gets backed up and gets counted – iMessages to NOT count against quota – at least, not on iOS 7, according to what my iPhone shows getting backed up. And I do get iMessages back several months, as long as I don’t delete the thread. I have one going all the way back to last October. I’ll admit the Photos weirdness (I already have) because I’ve experienced it, and the only way that I could ‘fix’ it was to delete the existing backup and recreate it to make it fit. That’s an annoying bug, that if I remember correctly I also filed a bug report with Apple for (seriously, I file a bug report for EVERYTHING that occurs more than twice and I’m not the only one with the problem), so yeah, that needs to get fixed. But from what my iPhone is telling me, none of my iMessage storage is being counted against me, and I have tons of messages – rivaling pictures honestly. Biggest user is photos – Messages don’t even appear on the list.

        As for the iPhone 4, 10% of users are on iOS 6. Even if a majority of those are on an iPhone 4, Apple has little reason to care for those users. Sad, but true. That being said, I agree that especially now that Apple is going to store ALL photos in iCloud, 5 GB per account free is too little.

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  7. It says plans are available up to 1TB, I’m hoping that means there are some middle tiers that weren’t included in the slide (maybe 50GB for $1.99 and 100GB for $2.99). If someone needed 22GB of storage it’s quite a jump going from $12 a year to $48 for just 2GB extra.

    Like

    • Tim Jr. says:

      $12/year for 20GB.. or $24/year for 40GB, etc. You just don’t get another price break until you hit 80GB. Then it makes more sense to just do the $48/year for 200GB.

      Like

    • If someone needed 22GB of space they’d be fine. They would still only pay $0.99/month and be 100% able to store all 22GB of data. How, you ask? The plan are all in addition to your free 5GB of storage. So $0.99/month gives you a total of 25GB of space. Now, lets say for arguments sake that this person needed 27GBs of space – just outside their covered 25GBs. Well. What about someone who needs 25.2GBs of space. Why should they have to buy 2GBs when they only need 200MBs? Your price model requires quite a long jump. You know what? Apple should create a plans per MB. $0.005/MB. One half of a hundredth of a penny sounds fair.

      Just accept the fact that Apple can’t make everyone happy and that you won’t be getting a 50GB plan

      Like

  8. I just hope they’ll give us 10gb free.. I can’t even backup my iPhone now.

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  9. I will be curious to see the speed of the service while transferring documents from it or managing documents within it… I hope we won’t get something in the range of iDisk performance (lack of).

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  10. Excellent article. I am of the same opinion as you and am also optimistic.

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  11. I’d like to have seen 5GB of iCloud storage PER device as well. Apple is just being greedy stingy here. If each device comes with a complementary 5GB of space, then it is just bizarre to “punish” current owners by not giving them the perk. Also, see my other comment regarding bugs and leaking backup storage.

    The KEY feature that iCloud Drive needs that ONLY Dropbox does particularly better than everyone else is peer-to-peer syncing. I’ve seen Box, Mozy Sync, and Google Drive HAMMER and nearly make unusable a company’s internet connection when users come in to work in the morning and fire up their boxes. Yes, I know, iCloud Drive isn’t geared towards Enterprise or even SOHO/SMB. But SMB/SOHO are the users who need that kind of sharing feature the most, and are very similar in size to families, and I’m seeing those kinds of businesses adopt Apple computers at an amazing rate. (They just simply can’t afford the costs of Windows in today’s economy.) Apple has always been about helping the little guy, but they’re rather ignored the small-business customer for a long time; OS X Server certainly isn’t geared to them. Peer-to-peer syncing and peer-to-peer user “continuity” would allow small workgroups to self-form “virtual file servers”. I currently do this quite successfully at several businesses with less than 10 seats using Dropbox. But every one of those users has a Mac, an iPhone or an iPad, staying in the Apple ecosystem would definitely be nicer. See AeroFS.

    Having an iCloud-aware component to OS X Server would also be great. OS X Server could both locally “back up” content, as well as act as the de facto “peer” seed for syncing. Inexpensive NAS’s, like Synology, are already doing it for Dropbox and Google Drive. If Apple bought AeroFS, that would be awesome.

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  12. It won’t be a serious service until there is a bonified app for iOS devices. None of this pick the file from within the app stuff. We need a bonafied iCloud app where I can browse all my files and folders and pick the file I want. This way I can organize like files based on subject or project regardless of app or file type.

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    • Ben Lovejoy says:

      I’m sure there will be one. If you look at the visuals Apple has shown, that’s exactly what appears to be shown – effectively, iOS is finally getting a filesystem.

      Like

  13. Barry Sayer says:

    Is there any way of ‘viewing’ whats in your cloud, by folder? I see there is iCloud on the OS X finder but i’m guessing that only displays documents you add. With iOS8 on iPad and iPhone, is there a way to view files or is it totally reliant on ‘in-app’ contact? On the photo above, it shows a iCloud folder display (on iphone/iphone) but i’ve never seen this anywhere. I do have iOS8 and Yosemite.

    Thanks

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  14. gametime10 says:

    Looks like Office for iPad is opening up for more cloud services than just OneDrive. Interestingly though, not Dropbox… that will be a big reason to use iCloud Drive rather than Dropbox.

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  15. tilalabubakr says:

    When I get Yosemite, I’ll move all my stuff to iCloud since most of the apps I use are supporting it natively “iWork”. I’ve always wanted an iOS version for Preview, but with iCloud Drive, GoodReader can easily be my choice to annotate PDFs.
    I’ll still keep using my FREE Dropbox account for its “Public Folder” feature, witch I hope Apple will feature it in the future with iCloud.
    Thanx for the analysis Ben.

    Like

    • Ben Lovejoy says:

      Yes, the Public folder is very handy – though my main use is for attachments too big to email, which Apple is taking care of through the updated Mail app. I’ll certainly be taking a look at that to see how well it performs – that feature might be enough to bring me back to Mail from Postbox.

      Like

  16. herb02135go says:

    This is great business strategy- force
    people to pay repeatedly for what they used to get on their computers. Isn’t storage space supposed to be getting cheaper?

    And if you don’t have access to the cloud storage, or it’s jacked, your out of luck.

    The cloud is evil. But it’s your money …

    Like

  17. telecastle says:

    My take in this is that I want to have a cloud storage that replaces my NAS. Why? Apple has been anti-NAS forever. I recall SJ talking about cloud storage and cloud syncing back in the 1990s – before OS X. I, on the other hand, always thought that each family should have a NAS for centralized data storage, and I always disliked how unfriendly the Apple ecosystem was to centralized on-premise storage. I could have embraced the NASless paradigm if a cloud were implemented properly, but I didn’t see such an offering. Currently, I use Dropbox for personal files and Box for work-related files. Box has better enterprise collaboration features than Dropbox. But Dropbox syncs better than Box. Neither offering is perfect. I’ve also tried Microsoft’s cloud but didn’t like it. I will not let Entrust my files in Google’s hands – ever on principal. They are data predators.

    Icloud worked fine for calendar, contacts, notes, and email sync, but the “Documents in the Cloud” offering was a disaster. The iOS sand boxing paradigm overplayed in top of OS X resulted in a flat file structure, which advanced users hated. Apple tried to replace folders with color labels, but that only goes so far before you run out of distinguishable colors. With the June 2014 announcement of the introduction of hierarchical file structure into iCloud storage and the ability to access files created by one application from another application, the main obstacle to a wider adoption of iCloud as a cloud storage solution has been removed. Apple also announced that iCloud storage will now be available to Windows users (probably via an updated iCloud Control Panel for Windows.

    I, for one, am ready to agree to the Apple NASless paradigm and pay Apple $150 per year for 1TB of iCloud storage. My NAS costs $1000, and even though it has much more storage than 1TB, the storage is filled with movies, music, Mac and iPhone backups, pictures, etc. I could consolidate all that storage, stream music and movies from the iCloud (which would not count against my storage quota) and comfortably have all family photos, videos, and files to fit within the 1TB storage limit. I would retire my NAS after 5-6 years anyway, so to me, 1 TB of smart iCloud storage for $150 per telemarketer would make a lot of sense provided that the syncing features of the iCloud solution beat anything that any NAS can offer. I would probably still keep local Time Machine backups of my Macs on a Time Capsule, which would replace my NAS.

    Like

    • Ben Lovejoy says:

      Yes, I used to have a NAS but no longer use it for much the same reasons – why do it myself when Google or Apple can do it for me with greater reliability and flexibility.

      Like

      • Frank Lazar says:

        You do it for when you want to keep stuff private. If you store content on Google, Dropbox, or Apple, but especially Google, or Apple, you’re going to have to assume that it’s going to be mined for advertising analysis and profiling. You also have to be very mindful of what you agree to legally when you store items in the cloud. I do such storage myself, but I keep these factors in mind.

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  18. Great article as always Ben. Only thing I would disagree with here is that Dropbox doesn’t have long to go with Apples new improvements.
    Dropbox may be more expensive, but it is also the standard consumers “goto” file sync solution, and it would be easy for them to drop prices to match whenever they need. Further from that, Dropbox has business features to allow for central administration of multiple users under one enterprise, much the same as Box.
    I’ve worked with enterprise companies who 100% require these admin functions as they need to control the data and the space being used and sync’d by each employee. No way would a Fortune 500 company allow users to put company IP onto their own Dropbox account etc.
    That’s my 2 pence worth. That aside, based on testing when it is available, as a consumer user, I will certainly be moving away from my (FREE) Dropbox account!

    Like

    • Ben Lovejoy says:

      Thanks, Ben. Dropbox does, as you say, have the huge advantage of a large installed user-base and some enterprise functions. I don’t see Apple going after the enterprise market with iCloud (not yet, anyway), but Box does seem to be making substantial in-roads. I do think Dropbox can only survive by reducing its pricing to be more in line with Google Drive and (now) iCloud.

      Like

  19. Very excited about this. Been waiting for Apple to open some kind of file system for iOS that works with OS X. Also, the fact that AirDrop will now work between iOS and OS X is good news and the “Handoff” feature…if it works…should make things seamless. Very excited for OS X 10.10.

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  20. iCloud Drive is the answer to all the stuff I need for our church. We have several musicians and singers and multimedia personal that constantly use Dropbox to make changes to our files. Since we don’t have a big storage space in Dropbox, we are force to archive some of our files to a different drive.

    The convenience of having multiple people accessing the iCloud drive will solve syncing to all our files i.e. Pages and Keynotes, PDFs and media stuff with our iOS Devices at home, work, church or wherever we are.

    Thank you APPLE for finally making this thing happen.

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  21. Amazing – Apple only took 14 years to rebrand and embiggen iTools. I feel like I’ve come full circle….

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  22. Not being able to store ad-hoc files and use my own folder structures on iCloud is what made me use Google Drive so far. When that changes, I’ll have much less of a reason to use G.D.

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    • Ben Lovejoy says:

      Yep: if Apple delivers on what was shown at WWDC, I’m expecting to stop using both Dropbox and Google Drive.

      Like

      • But if I understand well, you won’t be able to access these files from the web (iCloud.com), unlike the other cloud storage providers. That would be an issue for people at work who cannot install any software. Or am I missing something here?

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      • Jassi Sikand says:

        @Thomas: I don’t think Apple said either way, so I’m not sure. But both Mac and Windows will have a Dropbox/Box/Google Drive-like installable folder location so it shouldn’t matter either way.

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      • Frank Lazar says:

        It makes a difference for when you want to access or edit materials in situations where your only access is going to be web. ( on a public terminal, or Chrome or Jolli box, for instance.)

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  23. Chris Powers says:

    So very happy that iCloud is now what it really should be. An unshackled access to an enormous storage space in the sky. We used to have it, in some ways, when we could mount the iTools hard drive to our desktop but it was taken away from us when the iCloud was born. It just didn’t make sense and helped create and force us to use services like DropBox, Google Drive and so many others.

    I’m also equally excited that I can now put ALL my photos into the iCloud as I have two independent mac computers with large (24 gb and 32 gb) iPhoto libraries. I’ve never been able to merge them onto a single machine despite trying several attempts. The photo stream helped, but was limited to 1k photos and often created duplicates and sometimes lost photos or videos between devices or computers.

    Great, I’m so excited to kill my free (once paid) DropBox and my currently paid Google Drive…so very looking forward to kissing those bye-bye for good!

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  24. It will only be any kind of competition to the other (for education) if you can share folders as well as you can with google drive. They will, in this case, need to provide a way for establishments to buy and distribute storage to apple ID’s given that enterprise and education are moving into BYOD (as we are).

    Does anyone know if using the drive in ‘folders any way you want’ implies that they have changed the .pages and .keynote formats to no longer be zip files when save in dropbox and google drive. If not does anyone know how to sort this out. It has been a real pages killer for me which is by far the best documents app out there.

    Also are the ios 8 and Yosemite beta’s stable? Early ios7 (understandably) was mental. Surly given that ios8 is much lighter it is more solid?

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  25. It’s all very good as long as every device you have has a lump of fruit stuck to the back of it….Dropbox/Box/Google Drive etc are completely device agnostic and allows people the ability to sync between cross platform devices, and as mentioned before, Corporate drives alot of this now too which then introduces the Patriot Act and the appetite to accept that.

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  26. There is one aspect of this that I’m a little confused about. “third parties can hook right into the iCloud Drive APIs.”

    Does this mean I can use my box/dropbox accounts to maximize icloud space?

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  27. ricardogomez297167426 says:

    Excellent comments and I agree with the main theme: Improved and priced more competitively.

    However, Dropbox does have another advantage that no one has touched on yet: Team Collaboration. You can set up rights for specific folders for specific people. That’s a big plus if you’re a small office working remotely or a large office that wants a cheap, simple and secure way of collaborating. I wouldn’t be surprised if Apple creates this feature as well. But to keep on the momentum, Apple needs to do this sooner rather than later.

    I never bothered with iCloud because of it’s pricing. Now, it’s definitely a player. Sure Dropbox might have a big base for their service. But how many Apple users out there who might switch now? Millions.

    Like

  28. SpiderDice says:

    Or you can just use the FREE original Google

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  29. ssanook says:

    This is a bit off topic, but I registered just to make this remark:

    I’ve been a tech investor reading all things Apple for many years, I rarely contribute because quite frankly I’m a lousy writer.

    In any event, I would just like to thank everyone posting on this board/topic regardless if your position is positive or negative, it’s great to read when the vast majority of the posts are constructive and professional. It is greatly appreciated by most readers.

    Thank you

    Ps: I’m keeping my Dropbox until Apple makes good on the promises…if they do, Dropbox is gone unless it’s significantly cheaper. I suspect I’m not alone………

    Like

  30. Rob Munnelly says:

    Your opinion pieces are, in my books anyway, amongst the best in the tech blogosphere. Keep up the fine work!

    Like

  31. Frank Lazar says:

    There are no such things as “hobbies” at Apple or anywhere else. Only things that are given more time to become full fledged buisness opportunities. If Apple thought that iCloud or Apple TV was never going to pay off, they’d have killed either in a heartbeat.

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  32. Frank Lazar says:

    As far as Apple being niche. According to this measure http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usage_share_of_operating_systems as of July Mac OS X was about 6 percent of operating systems used in computers.(compered to 90 percent of the combined figure for all versions of Windows) and it generated 17 percent of Web client traffic. This puts us ahead of Linux in operating systems (we’re far behind in web clients) By most definition 6 percent is still a niche market. The fact that the Mac App Store is still pretty much a sad joke is telling.

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