Answer: Yes, it seems like many, many people might be paying for iCloud.
I’m asking and trying to answer because recently, Horace Dediu has been trying to figure out, “How Big is iCloud?” It might not be the most important question in the world, but it’s interesting to watch someone make out an answer.
I [Horace] realize that this attach rate to a paid service is astronomical. Anything over 10% is unheard of. I would say the error in my estimates could be 20% but that still leaves a huge gap to what seems reasonable.
Personally, I pay for iCloud because I want at least minimal remote backups of my iPhone and iPad, but I always assumed that I was weird. I’m pretty sure that of my family, only my dad pays for more storage (he’s a photo nut, selfie’s mostly). And I don’t think any of my friends who use me as their de facto IT department pay for storage.
Thinking Horace might be way off, I decided to try a quick poll on Twitter.
Hey, Do you pay for extra iCloud storage? yes/no And thanks much for your response.— Michael Tofias (@tofias) November 17, 2014
Of course, asking an opt-in question like this is not anything like a scientific survey. However, it’s reasonable as sanity check on Horace’s financial statement-based estimates since it doesn’t seem like there is any way to measure iCloud usage via API and a full-blown survey would be too costly.
Do you pay for extra iCloud storage?
YES 74% (242 tweets).
NO 26% (86 tweets).
And the results definitely suggest Horace isn’t crazy which quite frankly anyone who reads his blog or listens to his podcast already knows.
This also scratches a longtime itch of mine. I’ve been wanting to learn how to use the Twitter’s API for a while. But I needed an excuse to do something useful (or at least useful to me). With hundreds of answers, I wasn’t going to count them by hand and I couldn’t find any existing service to simple tally up replies to a tweet. Plus, not to get all Heisenberg, but blogging about the question might generate more responses and I’d like to be able to update this post accordingly b/c nerdery.
There were only a couple of tweets which were clearly not answers to the question, but the rest I could easily classify. Unlike some other people I spend most of my time with, I haven’t done practically any work with natural language processing, but I was able to classify most of the tweets just by checking the first word against
'y', 'yes', 'yeah', 'yea', 'yup', 'yep' and
'n', 'no' , 'nope' , 'not'. Still, people who responded with anything other than the “yes/no” I asked for are the world’s greatest monsters.
It also got me wondering, where is the Twitter Card for Simple Surveys? I guess that isn’t something “brands” are clamoring for. But grabbing and analyzing replies to a specific tweet might make for a nice little web app or even a service that could be generalized for more people besides me.
Let me know (on Twitter, naturally) if you find this sort of thing useful, maybe I could have a holiday season project.