Apple reveals new iCloud storage prices

Still twice as much as Dropbox or Google Drive for 1TB

With no fanfare -- and admittedly it had more important things to trumpet Tuesday -- Apple yesterday published monthly prices for its expanded iCloud storage plans.

Apple first announced changes to iCloud extra storage pricing in June at its Worldwide Developers Conference, but it did not flesh out all the fees or say when it would launch the new plans.

The Cupertino, Calif.-based company provides the same measly 5GB for free that it has long offered with its iCloud service, but it has dropped the price of the 20GB plan to $0.99 per month and added new 200GB, 500GB and 1TB plans for $3.99, $9.99 and $19.99 per month, respectively.

Those charges represent annual fees of $11.88 (20GB), $47.88 (200GB), $119.88 (500GB) and $239.88 (1TB).

Apple may be waiting for the launch of either iOS 8 or OS X Yosemite -- or both -- to implement the new pricing and plans. The disclosure of the pricing Tuesday was probably related to the upcoming release of iOS 8, which Apple said would take place on Wednesday, Sept. 17.

Apple's iCloud prices are lower than they have been in the past -- the new price of the 20GB deal is 70% less than before -- but they are considerably higher than those of some rivals on a gigabyte-per-year rate.

This summer, Microsoft raised its free OneDrive allotment for customers who subscribe to Office 365, the rent-not-own productivity suite, to 1TB per user: An Office 365 Personal subscription, which allows one user the terabyte of storage and Office software, costs $80 annually -- which is less than half the cost of iCloud's 500GB deal.

Meanwhile, Dropbox recently unveiled a 1TB plan that costs $9.99 per month -- the price Apple charges for 500GB of iCloud storage. And other cloud storage suppliers, like Google, sell space at discounts. Google Drive, for example, also costs $9.99 per month for 1TB.

Most of the attention paid to iCloud in June focused on iCloud Drive, seen by many as a return of iDisk, the online file hosting service discontinued in mid-2012. Since then, iCloud has attracted considerable negative press: Earlier this month, one or more hackers leaked nude photographs of numerous celebrities, with many of the ensuing headlines calling out iCloud.

Within days, CEO Tim Cook denied that Apple was to blame. But at the same time he promised to beef up the service's security.

Apple's revised iCloud marketing page says "Upgrade your storage right from your iOS device," but Computerworld checked accounts on both iOS and OS X and found that the new plans and pricing had not appeared as of late Tuesday.

Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

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