It’s getting Cloudy out there

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Last week I, like a lot of people watched Apple’s WWDC live, fortunately in the UK it was on at 6PM local time so didn’t interfere with work. Lots of fantastic features are coming to their iOS devices (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch) in iOS 8 as well as some other great features for the next version of their computer operating system which will be called “Yosemite”. When these two are paired together even more cool features are available, Apple call this “continuity” (not sure they can trademark that name though).

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From Apple’s website, this is what they sat about Continuity:

“Mac and iOS. Connected like never before: Use a Mac or an iOS device, and you can do incredible things. Use them together, and you can do so much more. Because now with OS X Yosemite and iOS 8, all your devices work together even more harmoniously. They recognize when they’re near each other, enabling brilliant new features that feel magical and yet make perfect sense. “

iCloud Drive Icon

However, one of the other features announced that I am excited about is what they call “iCloud Drive”, this will replace the walled-in storage for the iCloud iWorks applications (Pages, Numbers and Keynote) and Photostream . Apple state that

“You will be able to store any type of file in iCloud and access it on any device. With iCloud Drive, you can organize your files in the cloud the way you like, create as many folders as you want, and add tags to find files faster.”

You can read a little bit about this here.

The new iCloud Drive will also be available for PC users (I suspect that this will link into the current iCloud subscription) too. What is not known at this time is what the feature parity ratio between the MAC and PC will be, we’ll just have to wait and see.

What was mentioned in the keynote was that everyone gets 5GB of storage (for all app data and photos) and a number of quite reasonable upgrades to the storage to higher capacities were also shown, what these translate into when they reach the UK is unknown but using the prices in the US and UK iTunes stores gives you a rough idea:

  • Initial 5GB of storage: Free
  • 20GB of storage for: $0.99 per month (UK conversion around £0.79 per month = £9.48 per year)
  • 200GB of storage for: $3.99 per month (UK conversion around £3.20 per month = £38.40 per year)

The prices are yet to be determined for storage tiers up to 1 TB and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Apple rounding-up the UK prices too.

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I also use Dropbox and these prices compare quit favourably, their basic plan gives you an initial 2GB for free and then via referrals and jumping through a few hoops this can increase a little, I now have 5.25GB and could probably get another few GB. They also have a Pro plans which you have to pay from $9.99 a month for these, they also cost more than Apples plans:

  • 100GB = $9.99 per month or $99 a year (Apple’s price is $4.95/month or $59.40/year)
  • 200GB =$19.99 per month or $199 a year (Apple’s price is $3.99/month or $47.88/year)
  • 500GB = $49.99 per month or $499 a year (Apple’s price is $11.97/month or $146.64/year for 600GB)

Note it would actually be cheaper to go for 200GB of Apple Storage at $3.99 a month instead of 100GB (using 5x 20GB @ $0.99 a month).

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These are just two examples of the cloud based storage out there, I also use Microsoft’s OneDrive (formally SkyDrive) but although I have more of this storage for free, the Dropbox service is much better and unlike SkyDrive (as it was known at the time) it didn’t loose edits to my files.

Of course what we don’t know is how good the Apple service will be as they don’t have a good track record at the moment and not having access to any Apple computers (at the moment) means that I might not get all of the features either.

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