Cloud services are not a dime a dozen but there are plenty to choose from, including Dropbox and iCloud, as well as Google Drive, Microsoft’s OneDrive, Box, and a host of others. Which one do I use? All of them. Well, not exactly all, but the major cloud services listed above.
In order, I prefer Dropbox over iCloud because it works more consistently and is much faster at synchronizing data between devices. Most iPad and iPhone applications I use have an option to store files on Dropbox and iCloud so they work in concert for me. Dropbox is more expensive than iCloud.
That price and performance is the line of differentiation for me. Drive, OneDrive, Box and others are more expensive than iCloud, work about the same way, but do not have the plethora of 3rd party application support as Dropbox and iCloud for iPhone and iPad.
Going forward that may not matter because iOS and the Files app gives iPhone and iPad users something of an anemic but usable Finder-like usability for file management. It’s cumbersome, but it works so moving files around from one app to a cloud service is doable but not pleasurable.
Dropbox started life about the time iPhone was launched in mid-2007 so it’s been around awhile. Word on the streets is that Apple’s Steve Jobs talked to the Dropbox founders about a purchase but they wanted more money than he was willing to pay.
Dropbox co-founder and CEO Drew Houston on meeting with Jobs:
And so he started trolling us a little bit, saying we’re a feature, not a product, and telling us a bunch of things like that we don’t control an operating system so we’re going to be disadvantaged, we’re going to have to figure out distribution deals, which are risky, and sort of a bunch of business-plan critiques. But then he was like, ‘Alright, well I guess we’re gonna have to go kill you, basically.’ Maybe not in those words, but pretty close.
Thanks to having built-in access to most of Apple’s 1.3-billion customers, iCloud is a larger entity than Dropbox, but it isn’t as if the little cloud service that could isn’t a competitor or a business. Dropbox revenue last year topped $1.1-billion and growth is steady now up to 11-million paying customers. Apple won’t say how many iCloud customers pay for the service but I’m one of them.
iCloud, despite being free for 5GB of storage (vs 2GB for Dropbox) and having a lower price tag for more storage, has not squashed Dropbox for me because, well, simply put, Dropbox works better. It’s more reliable, synchronizes faster, and works pretty much everywhere iCloud works.
The difference is this. I don’t use Dropbox for large numbers of files– Photos photos for example. iCloud is better for larger storage requirements. For me. But for functions like password files, Dropbox reigns supreme. For now.
Dropbox? iCloud? Or, Both? Both. And the others.