Apple to challenge Dropbox with iCloud Drive

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?
Written by Jason D. O'Grady, Contributor

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. 

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