Earlier this week Apple adjusted the pricing of their iCloud plans to be more competitive, and as part of those price reductions, Apple has also been ensuring that existing paid iCloud customers can take advantage of the discounts. As noted by MacRumors and others, Apple has begun emailing those customers, informing them that they will be given a refund based on the price reduction and the number of months remaining on their subscription.
As noted earlier this week, the new plans start at 20GB for $0.99 per month and range up to a 1TB plan for $19.99 per month. A big reason for the new iCloud pricing is the imminent introduction of iCloud Drive which allows users to store any kind of file and access it from any device.
As noted by 512 Pixels, Apple confirmed new iCloud pricing in the official iOS 8 press release today. These new pricing tiers are a substantial drop from Apple's previous annual storage upgrade pricing model.
The new pricing is as follows:
- 5GB for free
- 20GB at $0.99/month
- 200GB at $3.99/month
- 500GB at $9.99/month
- 1TB at $19.99/month
As interesting as these slashed price tags are, Apple is still competing with companies like Dropbox, who are currently giving away a terabyte of space for only $10 a month. Apple's edge in this market is definitely going to be their deep integration with the many upcoming features in iOS 8 that rely so heavily on cloud storage, such as the upcoming iCloud Drive.
You can read more about iCloud's new plans on Apple.com.
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Greg Pierce, the developer of Drafts, Phraseology, and Terminology, has written a post with his reasons for choosing CloudKit instead of other sync providers in iOS 8:
I’m glad choosing CloudKit removes the need for me to manage servers or engage another third party service to do so, but that is not why I chose it. I’m not afraid of servers.
Why am I willing to make these trade-offs for CloudKit, despite it’s limitations? Because, ultimately, developer perspectives aside, I felt it was the right choice for my customers.
As first noted by AppleInsider, Apple has started rolling out two-step verification for iCloud.com, allowing iCloud users who opted-in for the authentication system to sign into web apps through a verification code sent to a trusted device.
Dan Moren has an overview of the changes Apple brought to iWork for iCloud today:
Several of the most prominent updates apply to all three of the apps in the suite: You can now have up to 100 collaborators in a single document at the same time—which hopefully won’t be too confusing—and you can choose from almost 200 new fonts. There are also additional options in the color panel, and you can finally create and format both 2D and interactive charts.
Apple has been making frequent and useful improvements to its iWork apps over the past few months. After reading about today's update for the web apps, I decided to check out the collaborative editing again, and it's now much better than what it used to be.
Once invited to collaborate on a document in iWork for iCloud, other users can edit their display name in a sharing menu; the name will be assigned a color, which will be shown as a cursor in the document while edits are being made in real-time. The experience is highly reminiscent of Google Drive for the web, and it worked well in my tests with a couple of other users. I could see edits in real-time in the browser, and I didn't end up with duplicates or dialogs asking me to “take action”.
I don't know if the collaborative changes were rolled out today or in the past few months, but I'm impressed by the progress that's been made so far and it's worth pointing it out. The native iWork apps for OS X and iOS still don't support the same real-time editing of the iCloud versions, which is why we can't switch to Pages full-time yet. I really like Apple's implementation of collaborative editing on the web (you can “jump” to a user's cursor by clicking their name), and I can't wait to have the same features on iOS.
In a series of updates rolled out today across iCloud.com, the App Store, and the Mac App Store, Apple updated its iWork suite of apps with design changes in the document editor, new templates, improved Retina display support, and several individual enhancements to Pages, Numbers, and Keynote.
On iCloud.com, the three web apps (which were last updated in January) have all received improved Retina display support and the possibility of opening documents directly from links in iCloud Mail. The document editor's design has been refreshed, and documents shared from iCloud.com can now be set to a view-only mode that won't allow recipients to edit them; previously, shared documents could always be edited by multiple users with access to a document's link.
Apple brought specific changes to each web app as well, such as improved popup menu support in Numbers and new templates, better text wrap, and the possibility to edit charts in imported documents in Pages. Read more
Two weeks ago, I covered CloudyTabs, a free Mac app to access Safari's iCloud Tabs from the OS X menu bar. For those who wished to have a more integrated solution for Google Chrome on the Mac, Thundercloud is a simple extension that, like CloudyTabs, reads Safari's iCloud Tabs and puts them in a popover. There are a couple of configuration steps to get the extension to work with Chrome, but they're explained upon installation and they're easy to follow.
Yesterday, I wrote about CloudyTabs, a free Mac app that lets you open iCloud tabs from the OS X menu bar instead of Safari. Kevin Marchand pointed me to his iCloudTabs project, which allows you to view iCloud tabs from other devices using Alfred on the Mac. You can view tabs, open all tabs at once, and even write the URLs of all tabs to a Markdown file on the desktop. It's a neat idea and available on GitHub.
Since I switched to Safari as my primary browser, I’ve been enjoying the convenience of iCloud Tabs, which allow me to easily find webpages that I have open on my devices and re-open them anywhere, at any time. iCloud Tabs have been reliable and fast in my experience, and I cannot imagine going back to a browser that doesn’t have this sort of functionality.
The problem with iCloud Tabs is that they’re limited to Safari, so if you’re using Chrome or Firefox on OS X, you can’t access the tabs that you have open on your iPhone or iPad. For this reason, Josh Parnham has devised a simple and clever solution: CloudyTabs is a menu bar app that lists iCloud Tabs open on all your devices. CloudyTabs reads data from the .plist file that stores iCloud Tabs data on OS X, which is why the app isn’t available on the App Store and has been released on GitHub.
Once installed, CloudyTabs will need a few seconds to find open tabs and after that it’ll present a dropdown menu listing devices and webpages open on each one of them. You can CMD-click tabs to open them in the background in your default browser, and there’s a handy shortcut to open all tabs from a specific device at once. You can also type the first few letters of a tab’s title to select it.
If you don’t use Safari on OS X and wish there was a way to open iCloud Tabs without copying and pasting URLs, CloudyTabs gets the job done quite elegantly, and it’s free. You can download it here.