By Dan Moren
March 26, 2015 9:54 AM PT
Amazon now offering unlimited cloud storage space
Your move, Apple. http://t.co/r74JCvBw77— Fraser Speirs (@fraserspeirs) March 26, 2015
Apple tried to get ahead of the curve when it announced its new cloud storage tiers at last year’s WWDC, and while the new plans took effect last fall, they’ve already been outpaced. Here we are just six months later, and Amazon’s upping the game by offering unlimited photo storage for the same amount that Apple offers 25GB of iCloud storage space: $12 a year. And $60 a year for unlimited storage, period. All of this before iCloud Photo Library even officially gets off the ground.
Now, cloud storage is one of what the MBAs would call one of Amazon’s “core competencies.” Its S3 service is widely considered among the most solid and scalable content-hosting platforms around. So it’s not shocking that Amazon feels like it’s strong enough in this area that it can offer unlimited storage. But more importantly, what Amazon has realized is that the key factor, when it comes to photos, is peace of mind. Ensuring that for a dollar a month is a steal.
I’ve long advocated that Apple ought to exempt backups of iOS devices from its storage limits, because nobody should ever feel like they can’t afford (financially or space-wise) to back up their devices. Photo storage is perhaps even more crucial—of all the things that we store digitally, they’re the ones we have the most sentimental attachment to, and they’re irreplaceable. 1
Traditionally, Apple’s been slow to change its cloud storage limits with the times; I don’t know if the company feels like it can afford to offer unlimited photo storage—whether for free or for a price that’s competitive with what Amazon’s offering. It certainly doesn’t need to: for one thing, Apple still has the advantage of offering a built-in, seamless photo solution 2; most people probably aren’t going to take the time to download and set up a third-party app and service, even from as big a name as Amazon. 3
But offering an unlimited photo storage option would engender a heck of a lot of goodwill. And, frankly, ensuring not just convenient access to all your photos but also that you don’t have to worry about which memories you can afford to back up is a message that befits the company that’s not only the world’s largest and most profitable, but also continually insists it puts its customers first.
It’s weird, because I don’t think video holds the same appeal. Yes, there are some that might be held at the same level—your wedding, your kid’s first steps, etc.—but I think that the major factor is that we don’t watch old videos nearly as much as we look at our old photos. ↩
Or, at least, that’s its goal. It remains to be seen if iCloud Photo Library will deliver on that. ↩
Unless there is a major failure when iCloud Photo Library launches, à la iOS 6’s Maps, which sent people in droves to Google Maps. ↩
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