Is paid iCloud storage a good deal, or can you do better? Cloud storage roundup

With former MobileMe customers losing their additional 20GB of free storage a couple of days ago, there are probably a bunch of new people eyeing the paid iCloud upgrade options and wondering whether or not to hand over their cash. So we thought it would be a useful to take a look at the other major cloud storage services out there, to see how they compare.

As none of them are trying to hide the filesystem in the way Apple does, they all essentially work in the same way: providing you with a virtual online drive that you treat just like a local folder. There are also OS X and iOS apps for each.

icloud

Let’s start with the obvious: if you want something that is totally integrated into both OS X and iOS, and which Just Works, then iCloud is king.

Although the 5GB you get free doesn’t sound like a lot, you actually get more than this in practice – because Apple doesn’t count the space used by any of your iTunes purchases (apps, music, movies/TV shows or books), nor does it count the 1000 most recent photos you get to store in Photostream. If most of the content you want to store came from Apple, and all you want to do additionally is sync your contacts, calendar, notes and so on, the free storage is probably all you need.

iCloud is also a seamless way to store documents if you use Apple’s own iWork software: Pages, Numbers and Keynote. By opting to save documents on iCloud, they are automatically available to you from your Mac(s), iPad and iPhone – as well as on the web.

But if you have a lot of documents, you can pretty soon start bumping up against that 5GB limit. Which is where iCloud’s costs and limitations start to show up …  Read more

Apple allows Microsoft SkyDrive 3.0 update into App Store following delays

SkyDrive-for-iOS_0DEB6697Update: Microsoft provided us with the following comment noting that “people interested in buying additional storage will do so via the web versus in the app.” In other words, it doesn’t look like Apple will be getting a cut of additional storage purchased, but users won’t be able to do so via the iOS app:

We worked with Apple to create a solution that benefited our mutual customers. The SkyDrive app for iOS is slightly different than other SkyDrive apps in that people interested in buying additional storage will do so via the web versus in the app.

Back in December we heard reports, later confirmed by Microsoft, that Apple was delaying updates to its SkyDrive iOS app. The delays were apparently over a dispute regarding whether or not Apple should receive its usual 30% cut for additional storage that users purchased through the app.

While there is no word yet on exactly how Microsoft and Apple resolved the issue, Microsoft announced today on its Windows SkyDrive blog that a new update is available for the iOS app via iTunes starting today.

Version 3.0 of the app, the first update to SkyDrive for iOS since June, brings support for iPhone 5 and iPad mini, a revamped user experience, enhancements to photo features such as the ability to download full res photos to iPad and iPhone, and much more: Read more

Apple reportedly rejecting updates to Microsoft’s SkyDrive iOS app, wants 30 percent cut of subscriptions

SkyDrive for iOS (iPhone screenshot 002)

Update: A Microsoft spokesperson confirmed the situation to The Verge:

Microsoft has confirmed its latest SkyDrive iOS update is being delayed by Apple. A spokesperson says: “Similar to the experiences of some other companies, we are experiencing a delay in approval of our updated SkyDrive for iOS. We are in contact with Apple regarding the matter and hope to come to a resolution.”

According to a report from The Next Web that cited sources close to Microsoft, Apple is currently preventing Microsoft from updating its SkyDrive iOS app due to a disagreement over whether Apple should collect its usual 30 percent cut of additional storage purchased through the service. TNW explained:

The difficulty began when Microsoft rolled out the ability for SkyDrive users to purchase more storage space on the service. From that point, the company was not permitted to update its application in the iOS App Store.

The reason? It doesn’t pay Apple a 30% cut of subscription revenue generated by the application through the paid, additional storage. Microsoft, TNW has learned, has a new version of the application ready to go, including a key bug fix that would rectify a crashing bug, but cannot get it through.

In other words, Apple is apparently not allowing apps that offer or work with a subscription service outside of in-app purchases or the App Store. While we imagine that many smaller developers have been able to get around this stipulation, Apple’s App Store review guidelines clearly states, “Apps utilizing a system other than the In App Purchase API (IAP) to purchase content, functionality, or services in an app will be rejected.” It also stipulates, “Apps that unlock or enable additional features or functionality with mechanisms other than the App Store will be rejected.”

According to the TNW, Microsoft attempted to compromise by offering to remove all subscription services from the app. Apple apparently refused:

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Microsoft releases SkyDrive for Mac app, updates iOS app

Following the launch of Microsoft’s SkyDrive iPhone app, the company gave a preview of its refreshed SkyDrive service for Windows 8 and OS X. Today Microsoft has launched a new app for both Windows and Mac that brings Dropbox-like file management to the service. Of course SkyDrive is seen by many as a direct competitor to iCloud and other alternative cloud services. The tool essentially allows you to manage content stored in your SkyDrive by accessing files from your desktop, dragging and dropping them to the cloud, and organizing files in familiar folders.

The release comes following rumors that Google is prepping a Google Drive Mac app for its upcoming cloud service.

SkyDrive for Mac is the easiest way to access your SkyDrive from your Mac. When you install SkyDrive, a SkyDrive folder is created on your computer. Everything you put in this folder is automatically kept in sync between your computers (Mac or PC) and SkyDrive.com, so you can get to your latest files from virtually anywhere… Almost 70% of Mac users also regularly use a Windows PC. Since we want every customer to be able to rely on SkyDrive to access files anywhere, it’s important for SkyDrive be wherever they are. 

Microsoft has also updated its iOS SkyDrive app today bringing support for iPad, Retina displays, the ability to open SkyDrive files in third-party iOS apps, and much more. The new application is available for download on your Mac here, and a full description of features from Microsoft is below:
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Another one from Microsoft: SkyDrive hits the iPhone

Whoa, Microsoft is definitely on a roll today. In addition to the Xbox Live client for iPhone and the Halo Waypoint companion app for their popular gaming franchise, both of which were recently released on Apple’s iOS platform – and on top of today’s release of Kinectimals, their first-ever game for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, the Redmond, Washington-headquartered software giant just outed another iPhone app.

If you’re a fan of 25 gigabytes of free storage from Microsoft (a 100MB individual file limit) , Christmas definitely came early with today’s release of the official SkyDrive for iPhone . A free download from the App Store, it lets you access all of your content (including files shared with you) stored on SkyDrive cloud storage. You can also upload photos or videos from your iPhone to SkyDrive, view your recently used documents, share a link to any file using email and create/delete folders.

So Microsoft, how about that Office for iOS?

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