Does (harddrive) Size Matter with the Cloud?
October 15, 2011 6:46 PM   Subscribe

Ok, probably a stupid question, but... with the iCloud, what's the advantage of the larger hard drive sizes on the iPhone 4S?

My coworkers are convinced that there's no point in going for the larger hard drive, since everything will be on the clousd, but I don't think that can be right. My experience says that if there's space, something will come along that makes that space necessary. But I'd rather not fork out the extra cash if I'm wrong. I know I'm not all that savvy, but I know there are plenty of people on Mefi that are. Help explain it to the mildly tech challenged?
posted by Caravantea to Computers & Internet (10 answers total)
Everything being on the cloud is great if you're always connected and you have unlimited bandwidth. A lot of people have a 2GB monthly cap, which is less than 14 hours of music streaming at 320kbps (which I think is Apple's current standard?).

For most people, if you want to consume media in any quantity, you will need to carry it with you.
posted by nowonmai at 6:55 PM on October 15, 2011

In addition to bring-it-with-you storage of existing files, the additional space helps people who generate content by letting you take more photos and/or longer videos.
posted by red clover at 7:04 PM on October 15, 2011

Not everything will be cloud accessible.

Only music you have bought from Apple will be available in the cloud for free. Music you obtained through various sources (Amazon, CD ripping, whatever) will only be available through the cloud if you pay the $25/yr for iTunes Match.

Movies will not be stored in the cloud - at least not initially, and even then only movies you've bought from iTunes, and even then one movie is 750MB-1.2GB and most users have a 2GB/mo cap. So streaming movies will not be efficient, nor will most 3G data networks be able to keep up.

I went with the 32GB 4S simply because I like carrying a lot of music and a few movies with me. My music library contains 9000+ songs, 14GB of which I carry on the phone. I have 6GB of apps, pictures, app data, etc. Throw in a few movies and thats 25GB, and I have 3GB free space.
posted by SirOmega at 7:06 PM on October 15, 2011

You can't stream movies in an airplane. Some places outside of cities don't have high-speed phone networks. If you travel abroad with your phone you may need the extra space to shoot longer movies and take more pictures before having access to a wifi or mobile phone network. Finally, the increasing size of apps (and the larger size of the camera sensor resulting in bigger files) may also be relevant factors in the longer term.
posted by ddaavviidd at 7:06 PM on October 15, 2011

I've got some streaming music apps on my Android phone (EVO 4G on Sprint) and it's only as good as your phone coverage, which may not be as good as you'd expect. On Rhapsody, for example, there's simply not enough bandwidth reliably to listen to high-quality streaming tracks while driving, and those are only 192Kbps (far less than 3G speeds, even).

Is the iPhone going to be better? Apple doesn't own the carriers.

N. B. There are no hard drives in any iPhone.
posted by kindall at 7:07 PM on October 15, 2011

It shoots HD video. HD video takes up lots of room.
posted by sleeping bear at 11:22 PM on October 15, 2011

The benefit is having all your data with you when you're out of range of a data connection and there's no free wifi. I was surprised when I travelled to a non-3G area at how slow browsing was... 3G has certainly spoiled me.

Also, some apps, especially games, are huge files. For example, last time I downloaded an update to The Oregon Trail app, it was over 1 gigabyte.

I'm getting pretty close to the limits of what I can carry on my 32 GB iPhone 4. I've only got about 4 gigs left. If it wasn't for the fact that I only carry my absolute favorite videos and I don't sync certain huge apps when I'm not using them (like Oregon Trail), I'd probably already hit the limit. (Of course, I have around 150 podcasts stored up for listening, a few in video format. I like to keep a lot of podcasts around because I listen to at least one a day and I always have something new available.)
posted by IndigoRain at 11:49 PM on October 15, 2011

the only way to have control of your media is to carry it with you. the cloud seems great, but if you can't access it or they lose your stuff or you get locked out somehow, they control all that. i'm personally too much of a control freak to give that up to someone else.
posted by nadawi at 4:23 AM on October 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

Cloud might be a good place for your other backup. For live data? Not so much.

Personally, I find that replicating everything I want quick access to on every device I own is a much more reliable way to make my stuff accessible everywhere.
posted by flabdablet at 9:55 AM on October 16, 2011

I sprang for the biggest iPhone 4S. I live in a country with bandwidth caps and my iPod broke ages ago, so I'd like my music to be on the device.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 5:25 PM on October 16, 2011

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