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Apple iCloud, Dropbox and iCloud Inc. iCloudDrive

Three Significant Cloud Service Providers that are set for a captivating 2012

Huge headway has been made in 2011, “the year of cloud computing” by both cloud providers and the markets that have embraced the cloud services they offer. Both consumer and business markets have embraced cloud services as users see the benefits a cloud service brings with it. As we move into 2012, we will further see the benefits cloud adoption brings with it including a way to cut costs by switching to more flexible on-demand IT resource that increases efficiency and brings flexibility with it. While there are several cloud providers that will contribute to making for an interesting year in the cloud arena and assist in the shift in the way we access our information, Apple, Dropbox and iCloud are three that will have an impact on cloud adoption across both the consumer and business markets.

Apple’s cloud service offering is proprietary to Apple customers, one’s that specifically utilize iOS devices while Dropbox and iCloud Inc. are leading independent web-based cloud storage and information sharing alternatives. Apple Inc., known for specializing in hardware since their inception, phased out their MobileMe service and in the fall of 2011, launched a service they named iCloud. While the definition of cloud computing continues to evolve, Apple utilizes a third party to deliver their “cloud” service and this along with other features of the service itself, including limitations on devices that can be used to access information, makes it a hot topic of debate as to whether Apple’s iCloud service would be considered a true cloud service or otherwise. Regardless if they are or not, Apple brings significant awareness and education to the consumer market which rolls over for the business consumer market as well. Apple’s iCloud service is backed by iTunes and there is a priority focus on providing a service that gives you access to your purchased songs in your music library.

Dropbox was founded in 2007 by a young team of graduates who were able to successfully launch a service for the consumer market that hosts any type of file including music and videos. The primary focus has been the consumer market and recently they expanded into the small business market (three employees+). iCloud Inc. was founded in 2000 where they initially established their iCloud services throughout the government, enterprise and healthcare industries where they were required to meet stringent security regulations which they have successfully implemented through ownership of having their own server farms. iCloud’s portfolio of services expanded with their iCloudDrive service designed for the consumer as well as the small-medium enterprise market focused on businesses with 3 - 10+ employees. iCloud also has a backup storage and recovery service for large enterprises.

Important Features to Consider: When establishing where to begin to look when searching for a cloud service provider, it is important to know what device you will be accessing your information and files with as well as the amount of storage space you might require. Apple’s iCloud runs exclusively on Apple iOS devices while both Dropbox services and iCloud’s iCloudDrive run on any smartphone, tablet or computer (including Mac and PC). With both Dropbox service offerings and iCloudDrive service from iCloud Inc., any major devices including Android, BlackBerry, iPhone, iPad, Windows Phone 7 and many others can be used. Apple and Dropbox focus on gigabyte service offerings with Dropbox business offering (Teams) offering a 1TB (1024 GB) service offering. iCloudDrive provides terabyte service offerings and an unlimited option with their iCloud Backup service.

With both Dropbox and iCloudDrive, you can sync to all your computers and with iCloudDrive, there is no limit on the number of computers you can backup with their services. Apple’s service also does not limit the number of devices as long as they are Apple iOS. Your last 1000 photos are automatically deleted at 30 days making it important to remember to sync within this timeframe or you will lose your photos permanently. Photostream was meant to be a sync service so you are able to view your photos on your iPhone, Touch, PC/Mac or your iPad but it isn’t really designed for backup. With Dropbox and iCloudDrive, you can share folders and collaborate on the same files and access your files even if you have deleted them. Automatic syncing of files online and across your computers occurs with both Dropbox and iCloudDrive and there is no limit on the size of the file or the type of file; anything digital can be downloaded. Technically Apple’s service can also upload anything by attaching the file to an e-mail and saving it as a draft or sending it to yourself and storing it in your mail department, an attachment technique that is not as straight forward as Dropbox or iCloud’s iCloudDrive.

Storage Cost: Both Apple and Dropbox offer a small amount of initial storage for free with Apple at 5GB and Dropbox at 2GB with up to 16GB of extra free storage for Dropbox users who refer friends and are signed up under a referral URL. Additional Dropbox storage of 50GB is available for $9.99/month at $99.00/year or for $19.99/month at $199.99/year, customers receive 100GB of additional space, not including referral storage space. Dropbox’s business service is available for $795/year for 5 users and each additional user costs $125.00/year. Additional storage space with Apple needs to be purchased in tiers with 10GB for $20/year, 20GB for $40/year, 50GBs for $100/year and 100GB for $200/year, the maximum additional storage that can be purchased. Alternatively, iCloud Inc. offers their iCloudDrive clients a tremendous amount of storage whether they are home or business users. iCloud Backup for home users provides unlimited storage space for $5 monthly at $60.00/year. iCloud Briefcase offers additional sharing features with 2TB storage, equivalent to 2048 GB at $11.00 monthly for $132.00/year. iCloud ProSuite, iCloud’s ultimate service for home users with backup, sharing and access anywhere is delivered at $17.00 monthly for $204.00/year and you receive a massive 5TB (5120GB) of service. With iCloud’s business services, the small – medium enterprise market can transition to the cloud through their iCloudDrive Express 2TB service or iCloudDrive Standard which comes with 10TB (10,240 GB) of service. Additional TB service can be purchased for both home and business users if needed for what equates to pennies per GB/year.

Summary Comparison: Apple has done a remarkable job of educating the public about on-demand access to information. Their service provides a way to access your calendar, photos and information with their strength lying in the way Apple customers access their purchased songs. Apple does not have a business service offering today. Dropbox has made headway with their gigabyte consumer services along with a 1TB service designed for small businesses with 3+ users and iCloudDrive has both iCloudDrive Express with 2TB (2048GB) service for 3+ users as well as iCloudDrive Standard with 10TB (10,240GB) service for 10+ users. In cloud cost comparisons, Dropbox offers the least value dollar for dollar with iCloud’s iCloudDrive offering the best value. With the limitations on the storage space Dropbox service offers and additional space coming at a prime cost, Dropbox is best used as a syncing system while iCloudDrive delivering tremendous terabyte offerings makes for an ideal choice for storage and backup for all your information. If you are using an Apple system, Apple iCloud is an option that works best for your music, a service that “just works”. Dropbox offers “your files anywhere” through a cloud service that does not restrict you on the device you use and with iCloud’s iCloudDrive, whether you are a home or small-medium enterprise, you get “so many features, so much more space” through a value-priced service that offers terabyte and/or unlimited storage space.





iCloud Inc.


iCloud Backup

iCloud Briefcase

iCloud ProSuite

iCloud Business Express

iCloud Business Standard


2 TB (2048 GB)

5 TB (5120 GB)

2 TB (2048 GB)

10 TB (10,240 GB)

$5/month at $60/year

$11/month at $132/year

$17/month at $204/year

$42/month at $500/year

$134/month at $1600/year






2 GB

50 GB

100 GB

1 TB (2048 GB)


$9.99/month at $99/year

$19.99/month at $199/year

$795/year (5 users) plus $125/year each add’l user

Apple Inc.


5 GB

10 GB (15 GB total)

20 GB (25 GB total)

50 GB (55 GB total)

*Songs, movies, television shows, and apps bought in iTunes do not use purchased storage space