Just as Apple was wrapping up its annual presentation of a brand-new iPhone today—a whole suite of them, plus a watch—the company’s senior vice president of marketing, Greg Joswiak, let slip that two new iCloud plans would launch on September 18. Somewhat remarkably, the in-person crowd of more than 300 Apple acolytes and members of the global press were more enthused by the new iCloud tiers than they were by the iPhones’ new USB-C port.
The introduction of “iCloud+” plans signifies a premium Apple service, designed to elevate the user experience even further. While the price may make your wallet wince, it represents Apple’s vision for the future, where customers pay subscription fees for a range of services and Apple becomes an integral part of their tech lives. The first new iCloud+ tier offers 6 terabytes of cloud storage for $30 per month, while the second option is priced at $60 per month for 12 TB of storage.
Beyond just the cost, Apple is strategically leveraging the appeal of its iCloud services to make it more difficult for customers to leave its ecosystem. The concept of switching cost comes into play—customers are deterred by the hassle of transferring their data from one service to another. By offering premium features like Hide My Email, Custom Email Domains, and HomeKit Secure Video as part of iCloud+, Apple entices users to stay within its ecosystem. Additionally, the prospect of lifetime’s worth of photo storage is a major draw for many individuals.
Francisco Jeronimo, vice president of data and analytics for IDC Europe, highlights the long-term business opportunity for Apple in expanding its cloud storage offering. As smartphone cameras continue to improve, users are capturing more high-resolution photos and videos, increasing their storage needs. The availability of more cloud storage options caters to this growing demand.
Creatives, particularly those using Apple’s Pro iPhones, stand to benefit greatly from increased cloud storage. Carolina Milanesi, founder of tech research firm The Heart of Tech, emphasizes that creators often require additional storage for their professional work. The launch of Apple’s even more expensive Vision Pro headset further intensifies the need for ample storage space. The Vision Pro supports spatial photos and videos, and with the iPhone 15 Pro’s 3D spatial video capability, the stage is set for content creation tailored to the Vision Pro.
Apple’s new iCloud+ plans complement its existing range of storage options. While the free iCloud option remains available with a limit of 5 GB, users can also choose from 50 GB, 200 GB, and 2 TB options. In comparison, Google’s consumer cloud storage options range from $3 a month for 200 GB to $50 per month for 10 TB.
Overall, Apple’s expansion of its iCloud plans demonstrates its commitment to providing premium services and addressing the evolving needs of its customers. As we increasingly rely on cloud storage for our digital lives, Apple aims to remain at the forefront of this space, further solidifying its position in the tech industry.