Stephen Hackett, writing at his site 512 Pixels, has the best description I’ve read about what iCloud storage is to Apple’s product line:
Unlike One Drive or even Dropbox, iCloud storage is key to extending and improving the experience of using a Mac or iPhone. Dropbox may be a semi-magical folder that syncs data to other devices, but iCloud is the glue between Apple’s various platforms.
But unfortunately he’s poured quite a bit of cold water on my thoughts that Apple should give more iCloud storage to each device:
A popular suggestion is to grant users additional space based on the devices they purchase. Buy a 128 GB iPhone 7, get another 128 GB worth of storage on iCloud. While I like the idea, I’m not sure it’s feasible. What happens if you are like me and buy a new iPhone every year? Does my free storage just increase forever, or does it get adjusted based on my active devices? […]
There’s more to it than that, I’m sure. I’m no data center expert, but bumping everyone to even 10 GB would be a huge increase in disk space needed at Apple’s data centers. I don’t know what that sort of change would cost, but I can imagine it’d be huge based on Apple’s sheer number of customers. Whatever slice of profit off of iPhone hardware goes to paying for iCloud storage would certainly take a hit.
It’s a good point and he ends off his piece on the same note that Apple should still consider upping the free tier of storage as more and more people shift to using iCloud for storing their valuable data.