When you sign up for Dropbox, you get 2GB of space. If you want more than that, you can earn it by referring other at 500MB per referral. That’s not much space, however, so more than likely you’re going to need to upgrade to Dropbox Premium which starts at 1T.

This is a sensible business model because it Dropbox’s only source of revenue. Selling storage is what Dropbox does.

But why does Apple think it needs to charge for its premium storage in iCloud? You cannot have more than 5GB with a free plan. From Apple Support:

When you sign up for iCloud, you automatically get 5GB of storage. You can use that storage for backups, iCloud Photo Library, iCloud Drive, Mail, and more.

It’s possible to sign up for iCloud without owning any Apple devices, but how many people do that? I’m going to say that number is small - very small. The overwhelming majority of people who own an iCloud account have spent many hundreds if not thousands of dollars on Apple products. They should have more storage than 5GB in iCloud.

When you buy an Apple Device, you should get as much iCloud storage as that device can contain. The pain and annoyance of not having this is much more tarnishing to Apple’s brand than the revenue that Apple would lose from having it. This is the exact argument I made for the Mac Pro. Not selling a Mac Pro is more of a financial problem in the long run for Apple than losing money1 by developing and selling a Mac Pro.

I was reminded of this frustration today because my iPhone cannot back up to iCloud unless I upgrade to premium. It wouldn’t hurt me to pay the $11.88/year, but it’s the principle of the thing. You spend $2,000 on a MacBook Pro and then Apple tells you to spend 99¢ per month with them so you can store 50GB of that data in the cloud. That’s disgraceful and insulting. It’s the equivalent of being at a high end steakhouse and the waiter telling you that bringing a wet towel at the end is going to be an extra 99¢, please confirm. The price of that towel should not be something you’re aware of. It should be bundled in the overall price of the meal. The overall experience. Of course hosting data in the cloud costs money. Apple’s users should still have to pay for it. But that method of payment should be bundled in the cost of the devices, which are arguably marked up enough to not need a price bump just to include this.

And then for the iCloud users who don’t have activated Apple devices, well, let them pay. Or make it mandatory that you own an activated Apple device to use iCloud storage.

  1. That’s relatively speaking, from an opportunity cost standpoint, compared to investing that money in the iPhone. If Apple actually runs at an operational loss on the Mac Pro then something’s badly wrong. ↩︎