I will start this article by saying that we don’t know everything that will be in iCloud just yet.
However, I will say that I am disappointed at the pricing that has emerged on other web sites (here’s just one for example).
At double the pricing for Amazon’s Cloud Drive, I can’t say I’ll be using iCloud. For $120/year I get unlimited storage on CrashPlan, for up to 10 computers worth of storage in my house. Other online backup services combine online backup with mobile app access to all your files, at one low monthly price.
What about communication? Calendars? Etc? All freely supported on Google Apps. Which, I might add, is still free for up to 10 email addresses worth. At the current free Google storage rates, that translates to 75 GB per domain name… and domain names cost only a few dollars a year.
I hear the argument all the time that these cloud services are different than raw storage, they make lives easier. Granted, I don’t think iCloud should compete with the “unlimited storage” shared hosting solutions. I think that’s unrealistic.
That said, I think cloud solutions do have to compete with services like Google Apps and Windows Live. If I can store documents via email, if I can manage them in a Gmail view, and if I get 25 GB free from Windows Live SkyDrive… what am I paying for with iCloud?
Of course, there’s the freemium argument as well. People will get “hooked” on iCloud with the first 5 GB, and then want more. And they then won’t want to move. Sorry, I don’t buy it. I think people will get more tech savvy as their 5 GB get used up, and ask even more technically-inclined people for a way to keep the free file bash going.
That may work for Apple too, but it’s far from a cost-effective solution. iCloud may be the best cloud out there, but in terms of bang for your buck, I don’t think it’s there yet. Not with the pricing that has been disclosed, at least.