What percentage of Mac, iPhone, and iPad users actually use iCloud, only Apple knows, but I suspect the number is high. After all, the Cloud is all the rage these days. Everyone has one. Everyone wants you to use their Cloud.
Why? What’s so special about Cloud storage, anyway? Someone thinks that the Cloud will be where computer users live in the future. That’s possible, of course, but I see three deterrents already.
The first is bandwidth. The last time I checked my iPhone plan still charged me for using bandwidth. The second is price. Yes, Cloud usage is free up to a point, but I’m probably in the majority of users who don’t want to pay for what’s free. Finally, Cloud storage might be safe and secure and backed up, but I have a terabyte of photos, movies, TV shows, videos, and songs and storing them in the Cloud seems more than a little expensive.
Over the past year or so I’ve tried a dozen different cloud services (those that have free accounts for x-amount of gigabytes of storage). Here are the ones I like.
First, iCloud. What’s not to like? It’s out of the way, there’s nothing to manage, and for what I use it for it will be free forever. Use more than 5GB and Apple starts charging. I promise not to. I spend enough money with Apple as it is.
Second, Dropbox. This is what iCloud should be. Similarly, the first few gigabytes are free, and there’s a price tag after that, but I get the pleasure to manage which files get to live on Dropbox. Besides, there are so many iPhone, iPad, and Mac apps that have Dropbox storage and sync built in.
Third, repeat #1 and #2. Google’s Drive and Microsoft’s SkyDrive is now OneDrive and both are much the same thing as all the others. Free storage up to a few gigabytes, then the meter starts to run.
What I would really, truly, deeply like to see is a Mac app which managed all the free Cloud services, and aggregated their total storage into a single volume. I could probably get 100 gigabytes of online backup storage for free.
There seems to be a movement in the tech gadget industry to get everything stored on the Cloud, and whatever we need to use can be downloaded or synchronized with ease. Maybe so, but it’s not like I have a problem with files stored on my Mac, iPhone, and iPad now.
What problem does the Cloud solve? Files everywhere is all I can think of. I need more.