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Bryan M. Wolfe
| August 2, 2011
Announced iCloud Pricing: How It Compares To Other Services
Apple has finally unveiled its iCloud pricing structure for those customers that wish to purchase additional storage beyond the 5 GB each user receives free of charge. With this in mind, we thought it was important to compare these prices with those of similar products already on the market. To do so, we've compared iCloud prices with those of Dropbox, Amazon’s Cloud Drive and the Google Music Beta service. Please note: The prices quoted are in U.S. dollars only and international prices and differences between services may differ. Plus, Apple could change the prices it charges for iCloud prior to the service's debut later this year. As Apple announced yesterday, additional storage space for iCloud, when it debuts this fall, will costs as follows: 10 GB (15 GB total), $20 20 GB (25 GB total), $40 50 GB (55 GB total), $100 In other words, Apple is charging $2 for each additional GB of storage, per year. The fine print Mail, documents, photos, and account information and settings goes against this allotment. However, any music purchased through iTunes does not. DropBox Currently, Dropbox users receive 2 GB of space for free, with two additional packages available as add-ons. They are: 50 GB (52 GB total), $99 100 GB (102 GB total), $199 Like Apple, Dropbox is charging close to $2 for each additional GB of storage. The fine print Everything counts against this allotment, including photos, music, and documents. Amazon Cloud Drive Like Apple, Amazon offers 5GB of free storage for each of its customers. However, unlike Apple and Dropbox, Amazon offers quite a few additional upgrade choices. These include: 15 GB (20 GB total), $20 45 GB (50), $50 96 GB (100), $100 195 GB (200), $200 495 GB (500), $500 995 GB (1000), $1000 Unlike the other plans mentioned, Amazon’s prices per GB actually drop as you buy more space. For example, 20 GB costs you $1.33 per GB (keeping in mind 5 GB is actually free), while 500 GB will set you back just $1 per GB. Regardless of plan, Amazon is charging far less than Apple and Dropbox. The fine print All paid Cloud Drive storage plans include unlimited space for MP3 and AAC music, regardless of where you’ve purchased the music. However, this is a limited plan that ends once your existing plan term ends. In other words, after your first year of service, everything but music purchased via Amazon will count against your space. Google Music Beta Since it arrived earlier this year, we haven’t heard much from Google about its music service, which remains in beta. Equally so, we have no idea what the service will cost when it eventually goes online for anyone that wants to use the service. For now, invited guests from the U.S. are able to upload up to 20,000 songs free of charge. Bottom Line: When one compares one plan to the other strictly by how much it costs per GB, Google and then Amazon offer better deals. However, each service offers its own set of features that makes comparing each solely on price not appropriate. For example, iCloud is automatically integrated into iOS 5. This means iPhone/iPod touch and iPad customers will see their files automatically sync with little input. Conversely, despite its price advantage, Amazon’s system relies heavily on human interaction. To move files from your PC or Mac to the Cloud Drive, for example, requires manual setup. Finally, with regards to Google, the jury remains out. It wouldn’t surprise us if the tech giant is taking a wait-and-see attitude with regards to future storage prices. Most likely, Google will wait and see what works (and doesn’t work) with iCloud and then decide what it will charge for its own service. [Image Credit: Macstories]