iPhone: how much storage is enough?

iPhone: how much storage is enough?

Summary: People wereapparently switching their brains off before joining the 3G iPhone queues, soit's somewhat surprising that considering an appropriate amount ofstorage was quite a high priority for many buyers.


In the rush to be the first person to own a 3G iPhone, people were apparently switching their brains off before joining the queue, so it's somewhat surprising that considering an appropriate amount of storage was quite a high priority for many buyers.

A month after the first iPhones hit the streets, I still find it jaw-droppingly amazing that people were willing to sign up more or less without any consideration of what plans they were going to have to use.

Early adopters have paid the price, as my colleague David Braue points out, since the plans have since become somewhat more reasonable for people who were willing to hang around and wait for the market to settle in. Apparently the iPhone-obsessed aren't suffering from the economic downturn.

I've no intention of buying an iPhone myself (I like having a real keypad), but between writing about it and watching endless debates about purchasing decisions on Twitter, I've encountered a fairly heavy volume of discussion of the buying process.

And while debate over the appropriate plans might have been embarrassingly minimal (witness all those people who flung $100 towards Optus without even knowing what was being offered), there have been two more basic points of debate.

One is which colour iPhone to purchase, with black generally being favoured over white (whether for cool factor or a sensible recognition that white gadgets end up looking mucky, I'm not sure). The other aspect — more germane to Snorage's view of the world — is whether it's worth coughing up the extra money for a 16GB model, rather than the entry-level 8GB option.

Early sales reports suggest that the 16GB model has proved more popular, with some buyers begrudgingly accepting the 8GB model in order to get their hands on a phone sooner.

I'd suggest that this has very little to do with the iPhone's performance as either a phone or an applications platform, and everything to do with its legacy role as a music player.

Even 8GB is enough to store more music than anyone's ever likely to listen to, and it's at the high end of what's on offer in the next-down Nano range. But it's still only a small fraction of what's available in a disk-based iPod classic.

If you've managed to fill up an 80GB model, then even the 16GB model will require you to make some musical sacrifices. (Add video into the equation and you can fill everything up much faster, of course).

The rising capacities of flash memory would seem to make it a safe assumption that future iPhone models may offer even more storage. On the other hand, if the data plans keep getting cheaper, remote access via the cloud might prove more appealing than whacking in some more memory.

In the corporate world, of course, more storage is not necessarily a good thing in this context. Despite the addition of Exchange support, the iPhone is still a lousy choice of smartphone for business users, since it's harder to manage and standardise en masse.

That doesn't mean that pushy executives aren't going to demand support for it, of course. The only comfort IT managers might be able to draw is that an 8GB model can only store half the volume of sensitive corporate information, though that's plenty enough information to cause a major embarrassment if it falls into the wrong hands.

Topics: Apple, iPhone, Storage, Social Enterprise

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  • Activesync support

    Since the iPhone supports ActiveSync including password policies and remote-wipe I can't see how it is any more difficult to manage in a corporate environment than a Windows Mobile device.

    And as for standardisation, Apple seems to be better at supporting consistent software versions across hardware platforms - The 2.01 software is available for both original and 3G iPhone versions (and the iPod touch too). With Windows Mobile you have to deal with multiple versions of the OS and multiple hardware vendors.
  • I love my 16 gig iPhone

    For most people (99% that haven't used a querty keyboard on a phone), having a soft keypad isn't an issue and is easier than a standard phone keypad. yes there are limitations, but from what i've observerd over the years there isn't a phone out there that currently meets all expectations.

    Maybe you should avcually test drive a product before commenting on it in such a negative biased way. It's all about options and meeting user needs and expectations and with Apple it's also about marketingwhich they do very well, and it teacking other phone manafacturers out there a thing or two. Lets face it Apple only have one phone product haw many do Nokia Motorola and Blackberry have..?
  • Re: I love my 16 gig iPhone

    As the owner of an iPod touch, it was very clear to me that the touch-screen keypad wouldn't suit me on a smart phone. So I'd argue that was an informed decision. But I don't think I suggested that no-one else should buy an iPhone just because I hadn't -- what astounds me is that people signed up without knowing what they were getting into plan-wise, which is pretty silly behaviour when (unlike the US) local buyers actually had some choice in this area.
  • Such humor

    I always get a laugh with comments like these. Business seems to be so worried about having their "secret" content get lost yet I will bet that most cases of "lost information" is more related to lazy and dumb employees leaving their phone and walking off.

    If its that important, does it belong on a cell phone and why is it not encrypted. Actually the most secret information is the phone number of their mistress and the latest messages that they have sent. :-)

    Just a guess. LOL
  • Choice of smartphone for business users

    The article says "iPhone is still a lousy choice of smartphone for business users", so what is recommended as the best alternative for business use?
    I thought the HTC touch pro had promise but it seem to be pulled out of the AU market, and no touch with keyboard phone replaced it?
  • Storage matters to me

    I have a 30GB iPod that is 90% full of mostly music in mostly Apple lossless format (350MB/74mins). When I heard that Apple were finally going to make an iPod phone I was very happy, but when I heard it was only going to have 8 or 16GB of space I was very disappointed. So I will have to wait a while longer before I can replace my iPod and phone with an iPhone.
  • Love it

    I must agree that it seems silly to comment on something with preconceived ideas and not actually used it.
    JFYI the $100 deposit was refundable if you decided not to go ahead and buy the iphone from optus.
    As a long time IT adnministrator and user of Blackberry's I find the iphone a joy to use. While I too was dubiuos about a soft keypad I find it very easy to use and everthing just works in a inuitive way - it's actually fun to use. The admin side works much the same as the blackerry so why can't corporate users use it?
    The only down side's - Uses up the battery too fast, pathetic camera and should of had a memory card.
    End of Rant!