Photo sharing site Flickr lists the iPhone 5/5s/4s/4 as the most popular cameras for taking and uploading pictures. They are flanked by the Canon EOS Rebel T3i. This isn’t terribly surprising. For one, the old adage that the best camera is the one with you applies here, but there’s more. With each new iPhone, we’ve seen improvements in the image quality coming from our phones. Not only is it incredibly convenient, since you always have it with you, but your iPhone can produce amazing results. I won’t even touch on the seemingly endless number of fantastic photo apps and filters in the App Store. iPhoneography has exploded and that should continue to flourish with the iPhone 6. As we find ourselves taking more and more pictures, storage and backup continue to be inefficient. Apple hopes to change this in iOS 8, introducing more affordable iCloud photo storage when the company launches iCloud Photo Library. Are they doing enough?

Popular Flickr cameras

Yesterday, the Amazon Fire Phone was introduced. With specs that include 13 megapixel/ƒ2.0 camera, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos presented comparison shots to the iPhone 5s and Samsung Galaxy S5. While specs do contribute, there are many factors that go into delivering amazing photos. It will be interesting to see the real world tests to see how Amazon’s phone stacks up to the iPhone 5s.

amazon fire phone vs iPhone 5s vs Galaxy S5

The Fire Phone won’t ship until July 25th, which is just a matter of weeks before the expected iPhone 6. Recent history tells us that Apple will continue to improve the camera, so any advantage Amazon enjoys might be short lived. Hardware aside, Amazon understands the importance of taking and storing photos, by offering free unlimited storage for every picture taken with a Fire Phone. This free storage is for a lifetime, regardless of whether you decide to switch. While a fantastic offer, it’s not the type of offer that will have people switching from iPhone to a Fire Phone. It will make folks jealous and for good reason.

The current iCloud Storage Plans are for lack of a better word, atrocious. When you sign up for iCloud, you get 5GB of free storage. Purchased apps and music don’t count against your storage. Apple encourages people use iCloud to backup their iPhones. If you lose your iPhone or upgrade, restoring from iCloud could not be easier. You can start restoring a new iPhone before leaving the Apple Store. One critical flaw with iCloud is that the free plan doesn’t sufficient meet the needs of most users. If you take pictures or shoot video with any regularity, it won’t be long before you see this dreaded message:

Not Enough Storage: This iPhone cannot be backed up because there is not enough iCloud storage available. You can manage your storage in Settings.

Not enough storage iCloud

This message can be alarming to most users who don’t fully comprehend who iCloud works. What’s abundantly clear is that your iPhone is no longer being backed up. The only ‘easy’ fix for users is to buy more storage. Here are the current prices:

  • 10GB additional: $20/year
  • 20GB additional:$40/year
  • 50GB additional:$100/year

iCloud storage prices

Compared to Amazon’s free cloud photo storage, these are incredibly expensive. What about Google’s pricing? They offer 100GB for $1.99 per month, at a cost of $23.88 per year. You can get half of that from Apple for $100. Google’s free storage limit caps out at a more acceptable 15GB.

Google Drive Storage plans

Apple iCloud Photo Library Storage Plans in iOS 8

Things are about to get better this fall with iOS 8 and new storage plans for iCloud Photo Library. Apple has retained the 5GB of free iCloud storage, which is still entirely too low. Storage prices are a vast improvement over the current plans. Here’s what you can expect from the new pricing:

  • 20GB additional: $0.99 per month/$11.88yr
  • 200GB additional: $3.99 per month/$47.88

iCloud Photo Storage Pricing iOS 8

You can probably expect yet another plan in the middle. They are also expected to introduce plans up to 1 terabyte. Based on the pricing they’ve announced, you can expect prices to fall in line with Google, so 1TB could be around $10 per month.

The iPhone is wonderful camera, with assorted models dominating the list of the most popular cameras on Flickr. The increasing number of photos is having an impact on iCloud storage, leaving consumers with little choice but to sync with iTunes or opt for a costly storage plan. While the new storage plans won’t compete with Amazon’s unlimited free storage, the new plans are affordable, convenient and a long overdue.

Will you be adding iCloud Storage when iOS 8 is available and the new pricing becomes available?