Apple appears to be partnering with all four of the big US carriers with a new iCloud introductory offer. Customers upgrading their iPhone plans get recommended to visit a special iCloud link (first discovered on this Reddit thread), which lets customers get 2 free months of the 200 GB iCloud tier, ostensibly to ‘get ready for your new iPhone’.
The offer is only available to new iCloud customers in the US, and automatically renews if not cancelled at the normal $2.99 pricepoint. If eligible, you can grab the offer here with this direct link.
As this offer will be presented to iPhone upgraders, the pretence of the copy is that customers can use this 200 GB bucket to ensure their current phone data is safely backed up. Then, you can simply sign into iCloud on the new phone and have everything get sucked down.
Note that the financial value of this offer isn’t that fantastic. Since May, Apple started offering 30 day free trials for all new subscriptions to iCloud paid tiers. So, in reality, what customers get for free here is an additional month, which usually costs $2.99. Apple is of course hoping that users do not cancel the subscription and continue to use the iCloud service past the end of the free period.
Apple’s iCloud storage offerings have rightly received criticism in the community for being too stingy. The 5 GB free tier is just too punishing for anyone to realistically use. The copy of this promotion even implies it, it effectively says that 200 GB is ‘enough space to safely back up all the important things on your iPhone’, and that the free tier are not sufficient.
iCloud debuted with 5 GB free tier in 2011, and this has not been increased at all in the intervening years. Apple has reduced the prices of its paid tiers significantly a couple of times, but the free plan remains unchanged.
Since 2016, Apple has had a formal financial target to double Services revenue by 2020, and iCloud storage certainly contributes to that line of business. Apple is on track to meet that target, although most of the growth in services comes from it share of App Store app revenue.