With iOS 8 came a huge update to iCloud. Before, iCloud was just this service up on the web where you could store files and then pull them down for use. In the update, Apple added iCloud Drive, commonly referred to as the “Dropbox-killer.” It’s basically Apple’s version of Google Drive. Apple currently has a version set up for all of its iDevices (obviously) running iOS 8, Windows machines (7 or later), and Macs (as long as they’re running OS X Yosemite).
Today we’re going to do an analysis of iCloud Drive; we’ll also compare it to Google Drive and Dropbox. Is it really a “Dropbox-killer” or will Dropbox survive?
iCloud Drive looks like a great service. I personally don’t use iCloud, but I may start now that Drive is out. There are a few problems with iCloud Drive, however. First, you only get 5 free GB of space. Google Drive gives you 15 GB of free space. Dropbox, however, only gives 2 GB — but there’s a catch. With Dropbox you can get up to 16 GB of free space by referring friends, something that Apple doesn’t offer. So Apple didn’t beat Google with the free space, and it sort of killed Dropbox. Yes, you can get more space in Dropbox eventually, but to start, iCloud wins here against Dropbox.
Now let’s look at pricing. The pricing options options for iCloud Drive aren’t awful, but they just can’t compare with Google. Look at the following comparison of pricing. Google wins here in terms of storage for the price.
- iCloud: $0.99/month for 20 GB
- Google: $1.99/month for 100 GB
- iCloud: $3.99/month for 200 GB
- Google: $9.99/month for 1 TB
- iCloud: $9.99/month for 500 GB
- Google: $99.99/month for 10 TB
- iCloud: $19.99/month for 1 TB
- Google: $299.99/month for 20 TB
- Google: $399.99/month for 30 TB
We see here that Google wins in terms of storage for price, but Google’s storage plans aren’t quite as user friendly as Apple’s are. I would probably only need 20 GB, so I might go with Google’s free (15 GB) plan. Apple’s plan costs $0.99 for 20 GB, then Google charges a dollar more for 5x as much (100 GB) storage. Sorry Apple.
Then things start to lean in Apple’s favor. Whereas Google jumps straight to 1 TB for $9.99 (few users need this much), iCloud goes to 200 GB for $3.99, a much more affordable price per year. Then Google jumps to 10 TB for $99.99/month! The problem here is that Google’s prices are better up to 1 TB, but then it jumps so high that the user would be paying A LOT for their storage. Ultimately, I probably would go with Google simply because it’s the same price for 1 TB as it is for Apple’s 500 GB.
How does Dropbox compare? Not very well. You have to upgrade to a Pro plan and subscribe to monthly or yearly (depending on how you would like to pay) Pro 1 TB plan. The Pro plan costs $9.99/month or $99/year, so it’s comparable to Google Drive.
Apple has a big marketing slogan for iCloud Drive, “Edits you make on one device appear on all of them.” What do we have to say about this? Big deal. Not! (More tactful comments, right?) Apple says “all of your devices,” but what about accessibility on Android platforms? That’s where Dropbox and Google kind of kill Apple. You can get Dropbox and Google Drive on all devices, but iCloud is only available for Apple devices. That’s not very helpful. Dropbox and Google Drive win here.
So is iCloud Drive a Dropbox-killer? Not currently. Is it better than Google Drive? Not currently. As Apple updates iCloud Drive (as I’m sure they will), and more pricing and storage options become available, iCloud Drive could become real competition for Google. Is iCloud Drive competition now? Sort of. It provides some competition due to the sheer number of Apple users, but on a large scale it simply doesn’t compare right now.
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