Apple is creating a stir again and, to gauge all the chatter going on around the recent iCloud/Steve Jobs announcement, you’d have thought they invented the cloud. They may have re-invented it but it is probably too soon to tell. The existing players in the “cloud” debate, Google and Amazon, are more established and have a reputation, mostly, for reliability. iTunes, though mandatory, has never been the most user-friendly of music management systems so it will be interesting to see how the iCloud actually functions when it rolls out this fall. I’ve tried to pull together a reasonable summary of the differences for you readers:
Amazon: Amazon appears to be the best choice for cloud storage, especially regarding music, IF you own an Android device. 5GB free and with their installed Cloud Player, you can play your music from the cloud on your Android phone. Rates after 5GB are $20 per year for 20GB, $50 for 50 and so on. and you can store and retrieve documents of various types, as well as pictures, videos and music.
Google: Google is a little more clumsy than Amazon, but for additional storage over the 5 (ish-Google doesn’t make this terribly clear), it’s prices are cheaper. 20GB=$5, 80GB for $20 (there’s more if you need it). BUT there is no real usable music storage. For document storage and collaboration (groups working on the same documents) Google Cloud Connect is a good option. If you are already a Docs frequent user and just want to upload and store some presentations and documents from Word or another source, Google is an ok cloud option.
iCloud: If you are an Apple multi-device customer, it does seem like it is going to be VERY handy: when you purchase anything from iTunes store, it will automatically push what you’ve purchased to all of your Apple devices. Example: you purchase a song on your iPad and it will show up on your iPhone and your Mac (or whatever devices you have) without you having to actually do anything. Caveat: when it comes to music, it only does this for free on iTunes purchased music, video and books. If you want ALL of your music, etc. (ripped CD’s…and those other songs), it will cost your $24.99 per year.
Bottom line: If you are a hardcore Apple user, I don’t need to tell you. You will try iCloud. But if you are an open source advocate, you will probably choose Amazon. Google gets left in the dust.
(original photo: S Schlagel)
by Steven Schlagel