iCloud Photo Library

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Apple today announced iCloud Photo Library, allowing users to maintain a single photo library across all their devices with photos stored in their original format and resolution on iCloud:

Every photo, every edit, every album now lives in your iCloud Photo Library, easily viewable and consistent on all your iOS devices. Automatically.

Looks like Gruber was right on the money with his sources for iCloud Photo stuff seeing a major improvement in 2014.

It also looks like Peter Nixey has been vindicated, finally:

1. I want the canonical copy of my iPhoto library in the cloud. One iPhoto library in the cloud, many devices with access to it. I want to edit, organise and delete photos on any device and see the same changes on all other devices. No master/slave setup – just straight cloud access.

According to Craig Federighi, this is how it works. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like Apple read this next part:

2. You can charge me for this. I suggest $5/month. Maybe that’s a bit more than it costs you at the moment but that’s what I’m prepared to pay and we both know that you’ll do very well out of this in the long run. However for that I want unlimited space including for all of my videos. FYI that’s not what really I’m paying you for. I’m really paying you for the peace of mind that you’ve got my memories safe-guarded. I’m technically paying you for insurance. The utility this offers just the carrot that gets me over the hump of paying you.

Pricing matches iCloud pricing, and iCloud Photo Library takes up space in iCloud:

  • Free—Up to 5GB
  • $0.99/mo—Additional 20GB
  • $3.99/mo—Additional 200GB
  • Tiers up to 1TB

Personally, I think this whole pricing tier is a mistake. There are too many levels; it’s too complicated. Nobody should have to worry about keeping track of their data size, with the incumbent concerns of not exceeding their data cap. As Backblaze has shown, robust data storage is cheap enough to offer a single, unlimited price point. This is what Apple needs to do.

Compared to the overall price of the device and the price of service contracts for cellular coverage and data (for iPhones and iPads 3- and 4G), $5/mo is affordable. Apple doesn’t even have to operate at cost for this service, but Backblaze has shown that it can be done, for desktop customers who doubtless have many times the data storage requirements of iCloud users.

Apple: if you’re listening, do what Peter Nixey said and make paid iCloud Drive storage have two tiers. One free, up to something small like 5GB, and one paid, unlimited data for $5/mo.