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Apple trims prices on iCloud storage plans

The top level now offers 1 terabyte of online storage for $19.99 per month, or £14.99 in the UK.

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

iCloud users will now pay less for a slice of Apple's online storage.

Following Tuesday's iPhone launch event, Apple updated its iCloud page to reflect the price changes. The new plans are now available at the following capacities and prices:

  • 5 gigabytes -- free
  • 20GB -- 99 cents or 79p per month
  • 200GB -- $3.99 or £2.99 per month
  • 500GB -- $9.99 or £6.99 per month
  • 1 terabyte -- $19.99 or £14.99 per month

The old plans offered four levels, starting with the 5GB for free, 10GB for $20 per year, 20GB for $40 per year, and 50GB for $100 per year.

Online storage plans abound, so Apple needs to stay competitive if it expects to convince enough iTunes users to bite off a chunk of storage. So are the new iCloud prices the lowest on the market? No. You can still find better deals via other storage sites, as CNET's Sarah Mitroff noted in her comparison of storage plans.

For example, Google Drive provides 15GB of free storage and charges $9.99 per month for 1TB. Microsoft's OneDrive also starts you off with 15GB for free and then charges $2.50 per user per month for 1TB. But iCloud is competitive when compared with such sites as Dropbox and Amazon Cloud Drive.

And of course, iCloud is still the easiest direct option for iOS users who want to store their music, movies, and other files in the cloud. iCloud users can also easily sync their content among multiple iOS devices, ensuring that mail, contacts, appointments, reminders, photos, and other items remain the same across their iPhone and iPad, for example.

iCloud did get a black mark earlier this month with the revelation that hackers were able to access certain accounts to release a number of nude celebrity photos. Though Apple CEO Tim Cook denied that poor online security led to the photo leak, the company has promised to improve iCloud's security by sending alerts to users if someone tries to change their account password or log in from an unrecognized device.

At the same time, Apple is also trying to make iCloud more user friendly through a new iCloud Drive feature. iCloud Drive will work just like Google Drive and similar services by acting as a full cloud storage site that you can directly access to save and retrieve any files to and from your iOS devices, your Mac, and your Windows PC. iCloud Drive is slated to launch as part of iOS 8 on September 17.