On iCloud Photos

Most of you probably know that Apple announced iOS 8 yesterday. One of the things I was most excited to hear about was an upgrade to iCloud Photos.

With iPhone, people are taking more photos and videos than ever. As photo collections grow, so does the desire to store them all safely and still access them whenever and wherever. That’s where the new Photos app and the new iCloud Photo Library come in.

This is definitely a step in the right direction. The Photos app will store original resolutions of your photos and videos in iCloud. They also announced that a Mac version of the new Photos app would be coming in early 2015. Along with these announcements, they are going to be modifying the iCloud storage payment tiers:

  1. 5 GB for Free
  2. 20 GB for $.99/month
  3. 200 GB for $3.99/month
  4. Plans up to 1 TB will be available

I really think that 20 GB should have been the free tier and do away with the $.99/month pricing. After credit card fees, how much is Apple really be making here? Apple products are premium products and they have the margins to cover it. While people reading this article understand that $.99 is cheap for 20 GB, a lot of regular people will just not pay any amount of money for it. They will just use up their 5 GB and then nothing else will be uploaded or backed up. When they drop their phone in the pool, they will still be upset that some of their photos aren't backed up. Google offers 15 GB for Google Drive as the starter plan. We can argue about business models all day long, but the bottom line is that things like automatic backup with a ton of storage for free helps sell devices. Selling devices is how Apple makes its money. We are getting the same free space as when iCloud launched in 2010. Outside of the free tier, the other plans are priced well, though.

As with everything Apple does using networked services, the devil is in the details. Although I am a big fan of folder based organization, I can see where iCloud Photos will take the headache out of the process for most people. The big question is that will it work 99.99999% of the time?

Some other questions I have (regarding the Mac aspect of it):

  1. What about importing from my DSLR on the Mac? How will that process work?
  2. What about my existing library?
  3. What are the export options?
  4. Can Time Machine/Backblaze backup this library as well?

Once iOS 8 is released and we see more of the final details, I will update my Photo Management book with additonal thoughts.