At today’s Worldwide Developer Conference, Apple unveiled iCloud, the company’s long-expected solution for the multi-device, multi-connection world. With iCloud, Apple has liberated its customers’ iPhones, iPads, and [more recent] iPod touches from their tether to a Mac or PC, recognizing that these products play an increasingly primary role in their owners’ lives. For product strategists (vendor strategists can read my colleague Frank Gillett's take here), the most important attributes of iCloud are:
Its pricing. How much does iCloud cost Apple’s customers? Zero. Zip. Zilch. Well, at least in the basic form that Apple contends will suffice for a vast majority of its customers, iCloud is free for anyone who owns an iOS or MacOS device provided she doesn’t require more than 5 GB of storage for all the stuff Apple will hold on her behalf. Apple’s message to its customers is: you’ve always got your stuff, on whichever device you prefer at this moment. This stands in stark contrast to other cloud-based services like Dropbox and Sugarsync that force consumers to think carefully about butting up against their storage limits, just as the soon-to-be-the-default capped data plans force them to think about how many bits are traveling up and down which network.