Tech Check

Apple iCloud: Too Pricey for Media Addicts?

Apple’s iCloud launches today. And even as someone with a self-admitted Apple addiction, the iCloud isn’t yet something I’m willing to ingest.

It’s just too pricey (for now).

Apple Store
Flickr: ping ping

Online storage on an iCloud is free for the first 5 gigabytes, $20 per year for the next 20 gigs and $40 per year for the next 50 gigs.

In plain English, 50 gigabytes is about 13,000 songs, 60 hours of video or about 8,500 pictures. $40 per year for all that isn’t bad.

The pricing problem comes up with the heavy media users. Thousands of songs, home movies, bought movies, TV shows, photos, you name it, and I’m storing it on my Mac. Or rather, storing it on a 2 terabyte (read: damn big) external drive because I’ve long ago blown past my now comical 250mb internal hard drive size.

For me to take full advantage of the ‘cloud’ I’m estimating would cost me between $200 and $300 bucks a year. If I only uploaded music that storage price would come down, but also defeats much of the purpose.

And here’s the biggie: iCloud only works on a Mac if you’re using the latest Apple operating system, Lion. I currently am not, and I’m also not willing to spend the cash on a new Mac or an upgrade.

And Apple’s now-main competitor Amazon isn’t likely to benefit either. Though its online music store is excellent and often less expensive than iTunes, Amazon’s cloud service is priced about the same, with 200 gigs costing $200 per year.

Call me old school, but no cloud or iCloud for me just yet. I’d rather drop $125 bucks on a 2 terabyte wifi enabled external drive and create my own pseudo cloud that I can throw in a bag if I’m on the road.

I know all will be up there on the cloud at some point, and I stand ready. Ready to upgrade my apparently obsolete two-year-old Mac. Ready for the cloud’s annual fee (and hours of upload time).

But not yet.

Apple and Amazon will ultimately both post big wins on the cloud, just likely not until competition and the continued drop in per-bit pricing brings cloud costs down to earth.

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