With news that the iCloud beta has begun, the idea is starting to become a reality. For existing MobileMe users, this means a lot of questions regarding what will happen to their existing accounts.
Apple did release pricing details with the beta launch as well, indicating that everybody will be given 5GB at no cost, with additional storage available. If you need to add 10 GB expect to pay $20 USD per year, while 20 GB is $40 USD per year and 50 GB is $100 USD per year.
We already knew that Apple was going to maintain MobileMe accounts until June 30, 2012 allowing substantial time for existing users to migrate to iCloud, but we weren’t sure what that might look like when iCloud only offers 5GB of storage at the entry level and MobileMe begins with 20GB. The good news, it’s going to be seamless.
Apple will offer existing MobileMe subscribers an additional 20GB of storage (bringing the total to 25GB) at no cost until June 30, 2012. Beginning July 1, 2012, subscribers will be automatically billed the $40 USD annual fee to maintain their additional 20GB of storage. If you aren’t using it, simply cancel before the deadline. If you are using it, enjoy the extra 5GB of storage for less than half what you were paying with MobileMe (which had a subscription rate of $99 per year).
What remains to be seen (and reviewed) is the amount of storage you really need with iCloud. Offering hosting for the existing MobileMe features including Mail, Contacts, Calendar, Bookmarks, Find My Phone, and Back to My Mac may give us some idea to predict, but the addition of iTunes in the Cloud, Photo Stream, Documents in the Cloud as well as offering backup and restore of your device may mean needing more. But there are other considerations… they have dropped iDisk and of course iTunes purchases don’t count against your storage quota.
So we’ll see. But at least now we know and we don’t have to panic over sudden billing or loss of data. We’ve got time.