The cloud is all the rage this year. App developers are making their apps capable of storing and synchronizing in the cloud (whichever cloud happens to be popular at the moment).
In a cloud-to-cloud smackdown, the first thing that becomes obvious is that both services are cloud-based, and both work similarly, even priced in a similar way, but they each think different.
Here’s how Apple explains iCloud:
Basically, iCloud is for Mac and PC, iPhone, iPad, iPod touch users who want to sync photos and music and data from one device to another; seamlessly, quietly, quickly, no effort involved.
There’s a reason Apple has over 100-million iCloud users already. Unlike MobileMe’s launch, iCloud works.
What of Dropbox?
It’s similar in that Dropbox is cloud-based, and anything you save on one device gets synchronized on other devices.
Apps can be designed to save their content (music, files, documents, photos, data) into your Dropbox folder on your device, which then gets synced up with Dropbox, when then syncs the same data to your other Dropbox devices.
For Mac users which is best? It depends. Dropbox lets you manage folders and files and access is available in the Finder or the Menubar.
iCloud is typical Apple and stays mostly out of the way. Cloud-inspired apps will give you the option to store files on either iCloud or Dropbox.
Some parts of iCloud I don’t like. For example, photos from my iPhone get synced to the iCloud Photo Stream and they’re not easy to delete. On the other hand, Dropbox requires some folder and file management.
Both iCloud and Dropbox are free to use up to a certain amount of data usage, then you have to upgrade to paid storage.
So far, there’s not a clear winner, with just enough differences between the two to keep them both. There are more apps that use Dropbox, so the edge is there. But Apple doesn’t require any app installation or management to sync photos, music, data, or apps to iCloud, so it’s a little easier to use.
It isn’t much of a smackdown when there’s no clear winner.