More Thoughts on Apple and Cloud Storage

This paragraph below, from the Verge’s review of macOS Sierra, gels with my own thoughts about Apple and cloud storage:

One has to wonder why Apple, among the wealthiest companies in the world, would even bother charging $0.99 per month for a basic amount of storage if it really wants these features to create a better experience for everyone. (I seem to recall a designer once saying that file syncing is “a feature and not a product.”) If Google is able to give a free 100GB of storage for two years to everyone who purchases a $300 Chromebook, certainly Apple can offer more than 5GB to everyone with a $1,300 Mac. I don’t think that it needs to give away 100GB or even half of that, but what it offers now simply isn’t enough.

Certainly echos the points that I made a few days back, writing about how Apple should just give free storage to people who buy their devices. How much to give would of course be decided by Apple, but anywhere more than 5GB would be good.

Maybe Apple is thinking of giving away storage for free but just hasn’t worked out how much yet. This thought I find intriguing, since Apple often likes to line up all their ducks first before making some dramatic change.

When MobileMe ( (remember that, har har) first came out in 2008 it was a subscription only service, one who’s potential I recognised back then but would never have paid for simply because gmail was so much better and also, free. But in 2011 I predicted that Apple would do more to promote the service, believing that they’d make it free, which they eventually did. The new service was rebranded as ‘iCloud’ and today has over 780 million users. Making it free helped remove barriers for adoption which has undoubtedly helped position iCloud as the online brain for all of a users important data.

The author also notes:

It’s fair to say that Apple has always been behind when it comes to cloud services. Either it’s messed them up (MobileMe), or it’s underwhelmed (early stages of iCloud), or it’s just iterated at a glacial pace compared to its competitors (Google Photos, for instance,launched a new feature on Monday; its last significant update was less than two weeks ago).

But Sierra starts to change that, particularly when it comes to iCloud syncing and Optimized Storage. The two features feel like meaningful extensions of the Mac, which is what makes it so disappointing that not everyone will get to use them due to Apple’s decision to charge for even a modest amount of cloud storage.

A small iCloud plan is available for $0.99 per month, offering 50GB of space. For me, that’ll probably be enough to store my extra documents; in fact, I’ve signed up, and I intend to keep paying. But it’s not enough to store my photos, so for that, I’m sticking with Google.

Now if Apple really wants to be the online service for all of it’s users they’d better up their game. And we know that there’s only one real way to do that.

I’m now expanding my previous argument and saying that Apple should study how to give a meaningful amount of free online storage to everyone who buys a device, be it iPhone, iPad or Mac. Considering how little Apple already makes from iCloud subscriptions it makes little sense why the 50GB storage isn’t already free for everyone. And unlike it’s competitors Apple makes loads of profit off of it’s hardware sales, money which can prop up their cloud services without having to serve ads to users. Companies like Microsoft and Google simply can’t compete against that!

The more I think about it the more I’m convinced that Apple will eventually give free storage to all of their subscribers. As another key differentiater of their products this would drive an incredible amount of hardware sales. It’s just a matter of when.

 

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