Comparing iCloud

October 3, 2011, By Christian Cawley

Using the Apple iCloud service might sound like a great option for anyone interested in cloud computing, but what does it really offer? Online storage space is only one aspect of this new service – Apple also hopes it will turn into a bit of a money-spinner, which of course means that you are going to have to pay.

But what exactly are you paying for, given that you already own a Mac and/or an iPhone/iPad?

More interestingly, are there any differences between the iCloud in North America and the options available in Europe?

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Comparing Cloud Prices

As with anything that wields the Apple name, using iCloud is going to mean paying a little more than usual for a pretty standard product. We see it with Apple computers, standardized hardware components sold by the Apple store and it is here again in the shape of the unified online storage service that is iCloud.

To use iCloud, you have the free 5 GB storage option, but if this isn’t enough, the prices are as follows:

Additional 10 GB – $20 per year
Additional 20 GB – $40 per year
Additional 50 GB – $100 per year

(In the UK, this amounts to

Additional 10 GB – £14 per year
Additional 20 GB – £28 per year
Additional 50 GB – $70 per year)

However, as you might have guessed, this doesn’t compare favorably with the services provided by Dropbox and Sugar Sync:

Dropbox

2 GB Free
50 GB $9.99 per month
100 GB $19.99 per month

SugarSync

5 GB Free

30 GB $4.99 per month or $49.99 per year

60 GB $9.99 per month or $99.99 per year

100 GB $14.99 per month or $149.99 per year

As such, anyone looking for a cloud solution would be more inclined to use Dropbox or SugarSync, especially considering the ease with which either service can be used. These services are both available to Apple users in the shape of apps, and require you to signup to use them. We’ve previously covered the use of Dropbox in some detail.

iTunes in the iCloud

Of course, there is much more to iCloud than simple storage. The service allows emails, contacts and calendar information to be synced, along with music and TV shows that have been purchased in iTunes, apps and books.

Unfortunately, however, only apps and books are available in Europe, something that is likely due to licensing issues. This is also more than likely causing the cost of iCloud storage to be much higher than it really needs to be. It’s a double-edged sword: the British and other Europeans might be more accepting of the service if MP3s and video clips were available, but their non-availability results in a service that is not used as much, hence the higher price…

Ultimately, you need to choose the right cloud storage solution for you – if the price works, and the features are what you want, then you have found your cloud!

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