At MacWorld 2007, Steve Jobs announced “Time Machine” which heralding in an easy to use, consumer focused solution for backing up your
computer Mac with Leopard. However, it was not for everyone. It assumed the backup device – a USB connected hard drive was always plugged in which is fine for a desktop computer but not so good for a laptop and not great for a traveling laptop. At MacWorld 2008, Steve Jobs announced “Time Capsule” which addressed the USB connected issue by making Time Machine work over a high speed wireless connection to a small “network storage appliance”. Life got better.
But I can attest that neither Time Machine nor Time Capsule would have saved me a couple of weeks ago when I was traveling and I managed to hose (technical term) my laptop. What I needed was an “internet storage solution”. What I needed was Amazon’s S3 (Simple Storage Service).
So, will internet based storage be the next offering for iTunes ? Probably not – at least not with that name. But, Apple must be considering how to get some form of monthly reoccurring revenue from its consumer base. An Apple equivalent of S3 could appeal to owners of MacBooks, iPhones, and even iPods (specifically the iTouch).
My backup strategy already does periodic full system images and daily incremental backups to a network storage device. It could be easily adapted to a service like Amazon S3. I did a quick estimate and with my “unusually high volumne for a consumer” 25GB worth of backups (and assuming half of that changes every month) I only would pay $6.25/month. If you think 25GB is low, don’t forget that compression reduced most files other than your music and video. If you still think it is low, then assume no compression and your whole laptop will likely only run you about $12.50/month. (Here is a calculator to see what your backup storage would cost.)
It is only a matter of time before the notion of giving consumers a backup strategy that is easy to use, nearly seamless, and “out in the internet cloud” is too obvious to ignore and if it comes form Google or Apple, it may be too easy to avoid. The only barrier is marketing and Apple seems to have that in spades.
Related: There are already rumors of Google storage offerings. Amanda Networks has already delivered a backup solution that leverage Amazon S3 in the background. You can use JungleDisk to connect Amazon S3 as a network drive under OS X, Windows, and Linux.