I Am Joe’s Blog:

August 8, 2007 • 11:30 AM

New .Mac storage limits: still way behind

Among the many interesting announcements from Apple yesterday was an expansion of .Mac’s capabilities, but with the same price as before. And there are lots of groovy new things, such as the Web Gallery and the capability to use .Mac with your own domain. Unlike most people, my reaction to these changes was, in a word, “Ugh,” by which I mean “I now have to spend many days updating my book Take Control of .Mac to reflect the current truth.” Yeah, I know, boo hoo.

However, what most caught my attention was the change in storage limits. Previously, .Mac came with 1 GB of storage for $100 per year, and you could increase it to either 2 GB (for $50 extra per year) or 4 GB (for $100 extra per year). Now, at those same prices, you get a base level of 10 GB, which you can increase to either 20 GB or 30 GB. And it seems a lot of people are thinking, “Wow, a 10x increase in space at no extra cost! Great!” But I’m thinking: not great.

As before, that space has to be divided among Mail, .Mac Groups, and iDisk—and, of the iDisk space, a lot of that will presumably go toward sharing all your photos and videos and iWeb sites. You can use whatever’s left for sharing files or backups. But here’s the thing. Apple is still way behind the times; they should have done that two years ago and made yesterday’s upgrade another order of magnitude greater. At least. Compared with other Web/email hosting providers (because really, that’s basically what .Mac is), .Mac still gives you a fraction of the typical storage space at a higher price. For example, Dreamhost will give you 145 GB of storage (which, by the way, increases by 1 GB each week) in their cheapest plan, which is $9.95 per month—just $20 per year more than .Mac (and you can decrease that to $7.95 per month by prepaying for two years).

My particular area of concern here, though, is backups, because I’ve written a lot on that subject, and am at this very moment in the process of updating Take Control of Mac OS X Backups to say a lot more about, among other things, online backup services. If .Mac stacks up poorly against Web hosting providers, the comparison with online backup providers is even bleaker. Mozy gives you unlimited backup storage space for $5 per month. And CrashPlan is right behind—you get 50 GB for $5 per month, with additional gigs at 10 cents each (so, 100 GB would be $10 per month, and so on). That’s exactly the sort of space:price ratio where Apple should be. Previously, they were at 1 percent of that, and now they’re at 10 percent. I find that kind of insulting, as though I’ll see all the pretty graphics (yes, they are pretty) and forget that I’m still being overcharged and underserved.

Speaking of that 1 percent figure…I find it interesting that the new iMacs released yesterday can include up to 1 terabyte of disk space. Clearly, Apple expects you to fill up that space with all your excellent new media. Equally clearly, they expect you to put no more than 1 percent of it (10 GB)—or, maybe, 3 percent (30 GB)—online. That’s weird and sad. I say this even realizing the realities of internet bandwidth (sure, it’d take months to back up 1 terabyte over a DSL connection). That’s no excuse to let your competitors leave you in the dust.

All this is not to say I don’t find .Mac useful. I do find it useful—enough so that I keep renewing every year (even though I also have to supplement it with other services). And I’m happy that it’s gotten considerably more useful in the past 24 hours. But let’s not kid ourselves: this is one area in which Apple is still far, far behind the curve.

Comments

  1. Colin
    August 8th, 2007 | 2:53 pm

    I use both Mozy and Crashplan. But I keep asking myself: how long will these (and other options) be in business?

    I suspect .Mac has a better chance of long-term stability than any of the others mentioned. OK, maybe Amazon’s S3 has a better chance. But it is not for the average user. :-)

    And as you mention, the real killer is UPSTREAM b/w. Even with 5 Mb/s at home off-site backups are slow.

    Colin

  2. Colin
    August 8th, 2007 | 4:53 pm

    I use both Mozy and Crashplan. But I keep asking myself: how long will these (and other options) be in business?

    I suspect .Mac has a better chance of long-term stability than any of the others mentioned. OK, maybe Amazon’s S3 has a better chance. But it is not for the average user. :-)

    And as you mention, the real killer is UPSTREAM b/w. Even with 5 Mb/s at home off-site backups are slow.

    Colin

  3. August 8th, 2007 | 3:31 pm

    Colin: Only time will tell how long any of these other companies will be in business, but there’s no a priori reason to assume it won’t be plenty long enough. As for Apple, sure, they’ll hold onto your data forever, but they’ll also charge you $100 every year (and good luck talking to a real human being if you lose your data or have other problems). So, I certainly wish their competitors the best of luck!

  4. August 8th, 2007 | 5:31 pm

    Colin: Only time will tell how long any of these other companies will be in business, but there’s no a priori reason to assume it won’t be plenty long enough. As for Apple, sure, they’ll hold onto your data forever, but they’ll also charge you $100 every year (and good luck talking to a real human being if you lose your data or have other problems). So, I certainly wish their competitors the best of luck!

  5. August 8th, 2007 | 5:36 pm

    Colin,

    I think your concern is warranted. Any time you trust the “cloud” to be the only place for something, you’re at least dependent, at most at risk.

    So If .mac isn’t providing value, others will enter the space and compete with apple on price and services. Two great examples are

    MarkSpace’s synctogether has done a fantastic job of providing a key service.

    The box.net guys are also very interesting. Their socially savvy storage is amazing.

    ~Mattehw

  6. August 8th, 2007 | 7:36 pm

    Colin,

    I think your concern is warranted. Any time you trust the “cloud” to be the only place for something, you’re at least dependent, at most at risk.

    So If .mac isn’t providing value, others will enter the space and compete with apple on price and services. Two great examples are

    MarkSpace’s synctogether has done a fantastic job of providing a key service.

    The box.net guys are also very interesting. Their socially savvy storage is amazing.

    ~Mattehw

  7. August 9th, 2007 | 9:05 pm

    Joe,

    There is a new storage provider opening up shop soon, although I wouldn’t be surprised if you already heard about them. They aim to compete with Amazon.com: http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/08/07/nirvanix-to-challenge-amazon-s3/

  8. August 9th, 2007 | 11:05 pm

    Joe,

    There is a new storage provider opening up shop soon, although I wouldn’t be surprised if you already heard about them. They aim to compete with Amazon.com: http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/08/07/nirvanix-to-challenge-amazon-s3/

  9. August 9th, 2007 | 9:09 pm

    Eric: Cool. I’ll be very interested to see how well they compete. The more the merrier, especially if it means lower prices.

  10. August 9th, 2007 | 11:09 pm

    Eric: Cool. I’ll be very interested to see how well they compete. The more the merrier, especially if it means lower prices.

  11. Henri Dominique rapin
    August 20th, 2007 | 5:33 pm

    Joe,

    With the Family subscription of “.Mac” yout get an 20 Gb of space disk, 10 Gb for the main account and the rest for the others account setup in “.Mac”. Even so it’s expensive for the disk space.

    I haven’t been able to get the customer policies or SLA from Apple regarding the commitment on this “.Mac” service.

    Cost should be based on SLA, SLA are based on Technical solutions, and those might explain the cost …

  12. Henri Dominique rapin
    August 20th, 2007 | 7:33 pm

    Joe,

    With the Family subscription of “.Mac” yout get an 20 Gb of space disk, 10 Gb for the main account and the rest for the others account setup in “.Mac”. Even so it’s expensive for the disk space.

    I haven’t been able to get the customer policies or SLA from Apple regarding the commitment on this “.Mac” service.

    Cost should be based on SLA, SLA are based on Technical solutions, and those might explain the cost …

  13. Henri Dominique rapin
    August 20th, 2007 | 5:37 pm

    You might be aware of this : it cost less…

    http://www.tnpi.biz/computing/mac/tips/idisk/idisk-v2.shtml

    Found in http://www.macosxhints.com.

    HDR

  14. August 20th, 2007 | 5:37 pm

    Henri:

    I’m sorry to say there’s no such thing as a Service Level Agreement with .Mac. You get whatever you get, and even technical support is sometimes hard to come by.

  15. Henri Dominique rapin
    August 20th, 2007 | 7:37 pm

    You might be aware of this : it cost less…

    http://www.tnpi.biz/computing/mac/tips/idisk/idisk-v2.shtml

    Found in http://www.macosxhints.com.

    HDR

  16. August 20th, 2007 | 7:37 pm

    Henri:

    I’m sorry to say there’s no such thing as a Service Level Agreement with .Mac. You get whatever you get, and even technical support is sometimes hard to come by.

  17. August 20th, 2007 | 5:51 pm

    Henri:

    I’m aware of the “do-it-yourself-.Mac” concept, but it requires considerable technical skills – and if you already have those skills (and are running a suitable server that supports WebDAV), you’re probably not in Apple’s target audience for .Mac anyway!

  18. August 20th, 2007 | 7:51 pm

    Henri:

    I’m aware of the “do-it-yourself-.Mac” concept, but it requires considerable technical skills – and if you already have those skills (and are running a suitable server that supports WebDAV), you’re probably not in Apple’s target audience for .Mac anyway!

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