In mobile tech we have come to expect that most gadgets will come with various amounts of storage offered, and that the amounts of storage will typically double with the next tier. So if a devices base storage starts out with 16GB, the next tier would offer 32GB; 64GB would be the next logical step, and if a device is powerful enough it may even offer 128GB or 256GB of internal storage these days. Most manufacturers follow this sequential order.
However, recently there has been one notable exception to this model: Apple.
Starting with the Apple iPhone 6, Apple decided to switch things up by doubling the double capacity of the base 16GB model for its middle-tier offering. Instead of going with its typical 16, 32, 64GB model, Apple instead went with 16, 64, and 128GB models. It's a pretty sweet deal for people who regularly buy the middle and top tier devices, but it leaves those who go for the cheapest model in the dust.
I've touched on this before; to sum up my feelings, I didn’t like it. And I was less impressed when the same models were brought back again for the reveal of the 6s. I'm feeling the same way again now that I've been pondering whether I want to get the iPad Pro 9.7 or not. Although it's not 16, 64, or 128, it is a similar story at 32, 128, and 256.
Why shouldn't the base tier have a boost too?
I've previously toned down my distaste for the models, calling myself a cheapskate and making it seem like perhaps we who pay the bare minimum deserved significantly less storage for not forking out another $100 (or in the case of the iPad Pro $150) extra for such a large boost in storage, but that really isn't the case.
The cheapest iPhones are extremely popular, and I can understand why. I've always felt like iOS itself is a very solid platform, and it is comfortable to use. It's a safe option. With that being said, iPhones are also, to the average bear, quite expensive. When deciding which model to get, I feel like I'm not the only one who thinks about all of things I would rather do with $100 than to spend it on more phone – not after already agreeing to spend upwards of $600 up front or over time (with the exception of the iPhone SE). I don't think the lowest tier is so popular because most people are actually satisfied with just 16GB of data over the course of owning the device. It's popular because when you're in that moment deciding which device to buy, you make excuses to yourself saying you really don't need more than 16GB, and even if you do it will be “super easy” to offload some data here and there to free up space. Problem solved, $100 saved.
A few months later you're hit with the dreaded “Low Storage” warning. “Super easy” or not, trying to figure out the stuff you don’t need anymore or starting over completely fresh is highly inconvenient. You're starting to re-think your decision to spend $100 less. Was it worth it? Maybe not; the easiest solution here would have been to fork over the money to get double – wait, no, quadruple the storage – and not have this hassle right now. Or, Apple could have done the right thing (for the consumer) and raised all three storage tiers instead of just two.
So here I am, going through the same song and dance with an iPad Pro. Do I get the 32GB model for $599, or should I get quadruple the storage for $749 instead? 32GB for a tablet, at least for me, is the equivalent of 16GB of a phone (for me, tablet longevity easily lasts double that expected of a smartphone). 64GB would suffice, but the option isn't there. Simply put, the gap between base and middle-tier iOS options is just too big, and all Apple has to do is boost that base tier to make a lot of people happy.
Readers, what do you think? Has Apple’s decision to deny a base-tier storage boost turned you off from Apple products, or do you think the additional boost in middle and top-tier iOS gadgets is enough to justify a purchase?