Do you need more onboard storage?

Evan Selleck
Contributing Editor from Arizona
Published: September 17, 2013

At the start of the year, Apple added another device to the full-sized iPad lineup. The 128GB fourth-generation iPad was unceremoniously released into the online Apple Store and into physical storefronts across the world, with a ridiculously high price tag. If you wanted to get your hands on the Wi-Fi + Cellular device, for instance, you'd have to fork over $929. Quite a chunk of change, and it hasn't changed since its launch in February.

Which makes sense, obviously. Apple products don't usually see a price drop until new devices have been announced. So the 128GB fourth-gen iPad will probably see a price drop later this year, when the new iPads are unveiled, but for now it's sitting pretty right under that grand price mark.

When the 128GB model was announced, I was right on board with the idea that Apple was moving towards standardizing 128GB of storage for mobile devices. While the iPad line-up didn't see the departure of the 16GB option right at the start, the hope from many was that the 16GB would be forced down as the previous generation device, while the newer options, refreshed yearly, would see a change to the status quo.

Specifically, we'd see new iPads start at 32GB, with the next option at 64GB, and finally a 128GB model. This belief stemmed from the fact that we all thought it was simply "about time." We've seen 16GB be the weird standard for devices for long enough. It was time to move up.

In my eyes, the announcement of Samsung's Galaxy Note 3 sealed the deal.

When Samsung unveiled their new Note flagship device, they gave two options: a 32GB model and a 64GB variant. Indeed, HTC and Nokia have also done the same thing, offering recent flagship devices with a standard 32GB of built-in storage. With all of these high-end devices, primarily Samsung's recent announcement, focusing on more built-in storage, I just assumed it was a decision Apple had made long ago. They'd follow suit.

And yet, they didn't. Apple announced the iPhone 5s with the same memory allotment as its previous version: 16GB, 32GB and 64GB. No 128GB iPhone 5s. There could be, and probably are, plenty of reasons why Apple chose to still offer a 16GB iPhone as its base model for the new lineup, but after a conversation with a friend, I'm wondering if it just doesn't have everything to do with the cloud.

It's been no secret that I use the cloud for some storage needs quite often. For my writing, and for pictures, primarily. I do use music streaming services, yes, but I usually save the music to my phone for offline play. It's for that reason in particular, because I have a lot of music, that I need a lot of built-in storage. No memory cards. Just, on board storage.

Apple's iCloud service is still a thing, and it's something that eventually they'll probably start pushing more than ever. Maybe as a replacement from other cloud services, or maybe just as an added bonus. They'll continue to charge for extra storage. On top of that, they're trying to get you to use iTunes Radio, which is a music streaming service like Pandora. No saving giant playlists filled with thousands of songs. Just more streaming. So instead of using on board storage space, you're using your data or Wi-Fi connection.

Apple probably doesn't see it as a necessity to add more storage, or to provide more storage for a lower price tag. They can sell you the 16GB iPhone 5s, and you'll either use all the storage and start using the cloud, or just immediately use the cloud anyway and not worry about it. Or, you'll spend more money to get the models with more memory. Win-win, by Apple's account.

In truth, if I could use streaming without worrying about poor cellular coverage, I'd probably not sync all my music to my phone. In that case, I wouldn't need such a high storage capacity. But, I do (for now), and so I need a lot of storage. I can't help but wonder where all of you stand, though.

Do you use the cloud for the majority of your content? Basically, do you save a large amount of music, or even movies, to your phone? Or do you stream it all? Do you store your photos in the cloud or on your phone? Do you buy phones only with a lot of onboard storage? Let me know!