Apple’s iCloud: Kinda Free

For Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) Steve Jobs, the word “free” is not a good one. If a product is good, a customer should buy it, right?

But as for the wild Internet world, the approach often is different. Because of the reliance on advertising revenue, many services are free.

So in the case of Apple’s widely anticipated iCloud service, Jobs has had little choice but to cave in. There actually will be a free version, located at — the service still is in beta but is expected to launch in September). That is, anyone can get 5 gigabytes of space to store music files, apps, photos and e-books.

But if you want more storage, it looks like you’ll need to pay up. According to reports from 9 To 5 Mac and AppleInsider, there will be a $20 annual fee for 10GB, $40 for 20GB and $100 for more than 50GB. However, if you purchase media from iTunes, storage for such items will be free.

Actually, this is a reasonable approach. Apple users certainly will like the seamless integration of the iCloud as well as services like email, calendars and contacts. Convenience and ease-of-use always have been a hallmark for the company and should help to deal with competitors like (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG).

Interestingly enough, Apple has been late to the cloud, which essentially is just technology that allows access to applications via the Internet). But this usually has been an advantage for the company. After all, it also was a late-comer in smartphones and music players.

And, as seen with the iCloud’s proposed pricing system, the service should be a moneymaker and also lead to more purchases of iTunes products. In other words, some things never change.

Tom Taulli’s latest book is “All About Short Selling” and he has an upcoming book called “All About Commodities.” You can find him at Twitter account @ttaulli. He does not own a position in any of the stocks named here.

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