We’ve been reporting on the cloud storage wars since early March, before Amazon and Apple had officially released their cloud services. It’s been a fierce competition, especially between Apple and Amazon, who have been trying to one up each other with offered features and storage space.
When Amazon released its Cloud Drive in late March, offering 5GB of free storage, iOS support was not included, leaving a huge market well out of their grasp.
Amazon’s previous Cloud Player version played music files only on Android and the web, without official support for iOS’s Mobile Safari. Eventually, the Cloud Player did function in iOS using Safari, but it was still an unsupported browser without full functionality. Uploading to the Cloud Drive required flash, and could not be done on an iOS device.
However, with Apple’s iTunes in the Cloud service available, and other cloud features on the way in September, Amazon has updated its offerings to compete with the iCloud.
Amazon has announced several changes, including an expansion of the available music storage capacity of the Cloud Drive and the launch of an optimized version of the Cloud Player for the iPad’s web browser.
With any paid storage plan, even the lowest tiered $20/year Amazon users will receive an unlimited amount of storage space for music files. This is competitive with iTunes in the Cloud, which also offers a nearly unlimited amount of storage space for music files, which can then be downloaded to any authorized device.
All Amazon MP3 purchases will be stored free of charge and will not count towards the free 5GB storage limit. This includes all past and future purchases, which is an update from the previous policy, which only allowed free storage of Amazon MP3 purchases made after the release of the Cloud Drive.
The new Cloud Player for iPad will be fully functional using Safari, and will allow Amazon users to play their music that’s stored in the Cloud Drive. This was available before, but with limited functionality.
Amazon has definitely stepped up the competition with its Cloud Drive enhancements. Apple’s iTunes in the Cloud and iTunes Match service will be limited to 20,000 songs for $24.99, while Amazon is now offering unlimited music storage for just $20 a year.
Of course, Amazon’s offerings are a limited time deal, so now is the time to check it out and possibly purchase that 20GB storage plan. Or you could wait and see if Apple will offer deals of its own, to counter Amazon’s new offerings.