Apple to challenge Dropbox with iCloud Drive

Apple to challenge Dropbox with iCloud Drive

Summary: Apple today announced iCloud Drive, its new cloud storage feature that allows users to store any type of file in the cloud. Will Apple finally catch up to Dropbox?

TOPICS: Mobility, Apple, Storage

Apple took the wraps off a new cloud storage service called iCloud Drive at its Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) today. The new service will take on wildly popular services like Dropbox will feature deep integration with devices running OS X Yosemite and iOS 8

CNET: WWDC 2014 full coverage

iCloud Drive allows you to store any type of file in iCloud and access it on any device, including Macs, iPhones, iPads and even Windows devices (via a web browser). Sharing documents between iOS and OS X is a long-requested feature that users have been asking for.

With iCloud Drive, you can organize your files in the cloud the way you like, create as many folders as you want, and add tags to find files faster. Files stored in iCloud Drive are visible in the iCloud document picker in iOS 8 directly within apps. Documents, folders and tags are synchronized across devices in the background.

Like Dropbox, iCloud Drive's primary competitor, stored cloud documents stored are visible in the OS X Yosemite Finder as if they were stored locally.

(Photo: Apple)

Complete pricing hasn't been announced, but Craig Federighi, Apple's Senior Vice President of Software Engineering noted that new aggressive iCloud storage options were coming. The most impressive is Apple's new 200GB option which will cost only $4 per month – almost 90 percent less than Apple's current rates. The New iCloud pricing plans are as follows:

  • 5GB – Free
  • 20GB – $0.99/month, $12/year
  • 200GB – $3.99/month, $48/year

Current iCloud pricing plans (below) have been widely criticized for being expensive and not large enough. Current prices are as follows when you include the free 5GB Apple offers to every user:

  • 15GB – $20/year
  • 25GB – $40/year
  • 55GB – $100/year

By comparison, Dropbox Pro costs five times more than iCloud (for 200GB):

  • 100GB – $9.99/month, $99/year
  • 200GB – $19.99/month, $199/year
  • 300GB – $49.99/month, $499/year

Although Apple is lags behind the competition when it comes to cloud, ZDNet's Larry Dignan notes that "Apple has a big installed base and can gain traction quickly by integrating cloud services better with its user interface, software and hardware."

iCloud Drive will be available when OS X Yosemite and iOS 8 are released this fall.

Correction: A previous version of this post mentioned that iCloud Drive would compete with Box. ZDNet has learned that Box is a partner with Apple on iCloud Drive. 

Topics: Mobility, Apple, Storage

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Doubt it will make much of a worldwide impact

    The tech press will lap it up, and the 100% Apple fans will use it, but the lack of cross platform compatibility, and nothing really special to differentiate from it's competitors mean it's unlikely to make serious inroads.
    • Complete Agreement

      Biggest reason I use Dropbox is cross-platform support. Started supplementing with Google drive for the same. While iCloud drive looks like a Dropbox clone, it lacks the critical support.
    • Inform yourself before commenting

      It will be accessible from Windows.
  • OneDrive

    It's interesting to notice that you ignore the elephant in the room : OneDrive.

    It offered the phone / tablet / desktop document sharing since the original Windows Phone release. Also, the additional storage is $25/year for 50GB, which makes it cheaper than the new Apple offering.

    The Apple 200 GB offering is cheaper but I have little doubt Microsoft is going to strike back.
    • Hopefully it will

      Become the elephant in the room. It has some evolving to do first.
      • curious

        To know what evolving you think it needs? It already runs across Windows/iOS/WP/Android (I would assume Macs as well). Also has cloud based versions of office built in for free and allows easy sharing of stuff.

        I haven't bothered with DropBox or Box in a few years so I'm curious what is missing that it needs to evolve? (actual question, not trying to defend it or anything)
        • Onedrive evolving?

          I have used Onedrive for years, but I vastly prefer Box. With Box, I have 50GB free for life. In addition, I like its layout and features much more than Onedrive. I have never cared for Onedrive's layout with all their icons identifying folders and files, and taking up so much space on a page, which limits the amount of contact I can see without having to scroll down so far in order to find my folders and files. My preference is a textual list, where I can see considerably more of my folders and files at a glance on one page.

          But there is one big thing I do not like about One drive. One reader said it well; it is "an elephant in the room". As such, in my experience, I have found it to be an over bloated cloud service. Case in point: it spends exorbitant amounts of time, bandwidth, and resources when it is updating, which in my experience is constant. Or more accurately said, it is constantly looking for changes, taking prodigious amounts of the bandwidth and resources while doing so. I have not found that to be the case with other cloud services, and I regularly use 5 different services on my PC, iPad, and iPhone.
          But perhaps the biggest problem is not Onedrive itself, but the MS Office for iPad apps that at present are stuck with only using Onedrive. My issue, and that of countless others as well, is that those apps cannot see much of their own cloud's (Onedrive) folders and files. Of course, that is not Onedrive's fault. Other office apps have no trouble at all seeing everything on Onedrive in seconds, while MS Office for iPad apps will spin endlessly, then finally say they cannot connect to the server, and you need to check your internet connection. I have a FIOS 30 mbps connection, so that is not a problem in my case, or in that of so many others.

          Hopefully, MS will soon address this situation, but also hopefully they will allow us to use whatever cloud service we prefer. In the meantime, I look forward to seeing what Apple's iCloud Drive has to offer in the way of file management, which I see as one of the greatest weaknesses of Apple's IOS system. Other than backing up my info, that is one of the biggest advantages I see of the cloud services that I use, the file management that is so lacking in IOS. Other than that, I do love my iPad and iPhone, and I look forward to IOS 8!
      • Like aesonaus, I would like to know what's missing

        OneDrive is already very powerful, and really has more features than iCloud at this point (or even when iCloud is released). Office Online (any office document stored on OneDrive) is very functional and even allows multiple user collaboration.
    • I totally agree

      In addition to the fact that Microsoft's OneDrive is also a competitor, it should be noted that OneDrive users have ways to freely gain significant, additional storage easily. As an example, 1-2 months ago I was able to get an additional 100 GB of OneDrive storage just because I use Bing as a search engine. More recently, there was also a Skype promotion with OneDrive storage.

      Besides OneDrive, it should be noted one other elephant in the room is Google Drive. Like Microsoft, I was able to get significant, additional cloud storage (100 GB) for free from Google, in that case because I bought a chromebook.
  • Isnt Larry's quote...

    Exactly why Microsoft was sued?
  • Probably stick with Dropbox for now.

    I'll probably stick with Dropbox for now.

    * Apple's adding a lot of third party integration pieces into iOS 8, so Dropbox will still very much benefit from the update.

    * I'm still very much a cross-platform person, owning PCs and iOS devices. There's some hints about iCloud Drive being on PC, but Dropbox looks like it still may work better cross-platform. We'll have to see how Apple does iCloud Drive on PC.
  • Nothing to see here...

    ...move along now...
    Lord Minty
  • If you've had a microsoft/SkyDrive/OneDrive account for a couple years... would also have a ton of FREE storage. I have 50gb of free storage on OneDrive. No recurring cost, no temporary bonus. 50gigs just for having my account for 2 years. It's pretty nice. I have coworkers who only got on board last year and they've been upped a little and most of it is temporary. It's still the best integrated solution around. Nobody is as easy or stable. People need to take off their MSFT hate and see the pretty solid stuff they are doing now.
    • Yup

      I have something like 30GB free.
      Also unsure someone would actually need more than 100GB of storage unless you are in video editing or something.
  • Math

    "By comparison, Dropbox Pro costs five times more than iCloud (for 200GB):

    100GB – $9.99/month, $99/year
    200GB – $19.99/month, $199/year
    300GB – $49.99/month, $499/year"

    5 x $48 != $199
    • He meant the monthly price obviously

      Apple 200 GB $3.99 per month (call it $4)
      DB Pro 200 GB $19.99 per month Call it $20)

      $4 x 5 = $20

      Most of these writers aren't careful and don't check what they are saying is what they actually mean.
  • It's about time.

    As a user of iDisk since it was introduced I was really bummed when it was discontinued in favor of iCloud. I was forced to give up iDisk and went to Dropbox and can't complain except for the prices. A lot of people complained about iDisk but I ran my business on it for years saving any kind of document and it worked for me. As an Apple user I prefer all my gear on an Apple cloud as long as it gives me the ability to save anything and I can set up folders to store anything. iDisk worked for me but iCloud sucks and I prefer not to use it except for synching applications. If it duplicates iDisk for less money I'm all for it.
  • Useful file manager - Documents

    I use documents app to manage files on iCloud its pretty good it has Dropbox, Google Doc, Skydrive and Box integrated in it too. Should check it out on the App Store.
  • Too little, too late

    With the competition out there from OneDrive, Dropbox, Box, Google Drive and others, Apple is getting into the business late [even with the failed iDisk]. I could see just the fanbois and fangurls who will jump to the iCloud. Apple will have to throw some discounted rates to attract current Apple gadget fans.