Why the imminent release of a 128GB iPad is unlikely

Why the imminent release of a 128GB iPad is unlikely

Summary: There are rumors circulating that Apple is preparing to release a 128GB version of the iPad, but given Apple's past track record, this is highly unlikely.

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TOPICS: Apple, iPad, Tablets
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There are rumors circulating that Apple is preparing to release a 128GB version of the iPad, adding a new model to the existing line up.

UPDATE: And a day following the posting of this piece, Apple announced a 128GB iPad. Yes, I called this one wrong.

There's very little to the rumor, beyond the fact that 9to5Mac have "gotten word from sources" that a 128GB iPad is going to be slotted in alongside the current 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB models. According to the rumor, the iPad wouldn't be a new model, but instead an update of the existing iPad 4.

There have also been some code references in beta versions of iOS 6.1 pointing to a 128GB iPad too, but rumors based on findings within iOS beta code are notoriously inaccurate.

I find it unlikely that Apple has a new iPad 4 model in the pipeline, mere months after launching the iPad 4—essentially an iPad 3 with updated processor and Lightning port. Consumers were upset when Apple moved the iPad refresh data from the usual March to November.

It also doesn't make sense that Apple would add a new storage size to the line-up, when both the iPad and iPhone has always been offered in three storage capacities.

I have little doubt that a 128GB iPad is indeed in the pipeline, but that it will be a new model—perhaps the iPad 5—and that its debut will be concurrent with the elimination of the 16GB model. This would allow Apple to retail the existing pricing structure for the iPads, with the 128GB model costing $699 for the Wi-Fi model, and $829 for the Wi-Fi + Cellular model.

128GB of flash memory would cost Apple less than $80, based on current supply chain prices, compared to around $40 for 64GB of storage, but the $699-$829 price tag commanded by the high-end iPad more than covers this increase in component costs.

Another thing worth bearing in mind is that Apple has never bumped the storage of any iOS device outside of a refresh of the product [UPDATE: Apple silently bumped the storage on the original iPhone and iPod touch from 8GB to 16GB]. The idea that will start doing this now—and with the iPad, a device that is selling very well—is preposterous.

So yes, we are likely to see an iPad with 128GB of storage sometime in the future, but the idea that Apple is going to release it before the next iPad refresh is highly unlikely.

Image source: Apple.

Topics: Apple, iPad, Tablets

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48 comments
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  • I have to agree with you here

    I was one of the people who was upset with apple when just months after I shelled out for an iPad 3, they released an iPad 4. I quickly saw that it was unwarranted because it was such a small update, but many weren't as quick to notice. I doubt Apple would risk another PR hit by releasing yet another update so quickly since the ONLY reason they can command such premium prices is their PR. It doesn't affect me too much though, I always go for the bottom teir iPad and use iTunes Match to save space. If they bump the 16gb option out on the iPad 5, add the 128gb one and maybe add some serious power under the hood, I'll be quite happy buying the next generation.
    45yoyos
    • Consider it a preventitive measure

      Apple discovered some of their flock was suffering from "bloated wallet syndrome" if fleeced just once a year. Stepping up the schedule is a preventative measure designed for your protection. Now go buy.
      jvitous
    • I know what you mean.

      My new iPad (3rd gen) simply stopped working when the 4th gen was released. I am about only having the newest and greatest so what to do:-)

      I question the logic of people that saw the iPad 4 as a PR issue.
      Bruizer
      • You respond and agree with TB7

        and yet you have the audacity to question the sanity of other people?

        Seriously?
        Little Old Man
        • Just because a troll is a troll doesn't mean they are always wrong

          Sure, most of the time they might be but not always. Of those upset about the timing of the release of the of the iPad 4, 80% were Apple haters that wouldn't buy an Apple product anyway, 15% were bloggers trying to get hits and 5% were actual Apple customers. My iPad 3 works exactly how it did the day before the iPad 4 was introduced just as my wife's iPad 2 works just as it did the day before the 3 was introduced. I did find it funny that most of those complaining at that time were Fandroids that have not issue with the fact that every time you turn around there is a new updated Android device. Some how that his alright in the Android world but where they always based Apple for annual releases yet when they got to six month releases it's bad for customers all the sudden.
          non-biased
    • If you were upset by the release of a new product

      Then it suggests that you build your self-esteem and self-worth on the tech that you own. That being the case, please seek help. It does not matter that you soon got over it because you saw it as a minor update. What if it had not been a minor update? How would you now be feeling? The fact that you were upset in the first place is concern enough.
      Wakemewhentrollsgone
      • I can understand if the purchase was a week or two before the announcement

        but if that were the case Apple offered an upgrade for free.
        non-biased
  • Just add a darn USB and SDHC slot already!!!

    Just add a darn USB and SDHC slot already!!! Memory is cheap
    Apple has always been stupid on the why they over charge on Memory increments.
    Isn't it time to merely add slots and be done with this milking the Ram prices already...
    wpreece
    • Why?

      What is this fascination with ports to tether a mobile device, making it un-mobile and carrying around memory cards? It's a ridiculous mind-set from Microsoft propaganda based on 20th century thinking. Besides, if you really want to plug stuff into your device, there are adapters for the lighting port.
      dolph0291
      • Carry Around Cards?

        I have a 32GB card ($20) in my 4GB Sansa Fuse. Total cost was $80 for a 36GB high quality sound music player with a smallish screen. (I use to have a 16GB card in it, but I put that in my phone.)
        Regulator1956
    • Bad idea

      So all the app writers have to add file management capabilities to their apps? And what happens if you want to give photos to someone and remove the card, to put in their card, but your photos were stored on the first card?

      You end up with a file management nightmare - one of the reasons people like the iPad is because it doesn't have archaic computing management tasks like a PC does. Apple will never do this, nor should they.
      hayesk
    • Storage?

      Apple have removed the UI for storage from the iPad - users don't see "files". Yes, there are files but they aren't shown to users by the OS. This is a deliberate design decision.

      Why? Apple did this because they wanted the iPad (well all iOS devices really) to be usable by people who don't understand filesystems.

      Does this matter? Yes, it means you can't "just add USB and SDHC" - the user would have no way to interact with file-stores on these devices.

      Okay, now you're thinking: "How the hell do you reopen work you've done on the system?" While the OS cannot show files, applications CAN (and do) show their own local (to the app) files. Users can see files through this "lens". So why's this "different"? Because files are presented to the user IN context in a manor that makes sense for the application (so a photo program won't show the odd filenames generated by the camera - because they have no meaning for the user). This "always a custom viewer" is quite a benefit.

      So you can't "just add additional file-stores". You might think that the system would just allow you to add a "pool" of storage so once the iPad was "full" it would use the additional storage. Fine, byt what happens when/if the user removes this new storage?

      Adding removable storage to iOS would lead to some "unwinding" of the modifications made to create it (it started off as OS X with traditional UI for Files - the "Finder"), making it less like an iPad and more like a Mac. One thing that is undeniable, the iPad has proven to be a magic formula that the Mac hasn't - I can't see Apple wanting to dilute that.
      jeremychappell
    • RE: "Apple has always been stupid...."

      That's stupidity sure has hurt sales hasn't it?
      non-biased
  • @wpreece But when the cash cow...

    is obviously so bloated with riches...
    It is certainly time to go to the milking barn!
    Oh yes it is, yes it is!
    (Because otherwise, the milkcow might forget who its master is! 8-)
    dlmohn
  • "I find it unlikely that Apple has a new iPad 4 model in the pipeline..."

    And yet look what happened to the Ipad 3, obsoleted after just 5 months.

    Looks like Apple is in panic mode with its tablet products, if not its entire mobile line. Android has completely dominated smartphones, and is steadily taking over in tablets as well.
    ldo17
    • Save the drama for your momma

      "obsoleted?" Yeah, cause the iPad 3 simply stopped working the moment the latest model was introduced.
      GraphicMac
    • "after just 5 months"

      4th gen iPad came out nearly 9 months after 3rd gen, not 5 months.
      m_brady
    • Android?

      How many new Android devices come out every month? If a more frequent updates are a sign of panic I hate to think what the mental state of the Android makers is.
      Stewsburntmonkey
      • Re: How many new Android devices come out every month?

        Android is not one company, but a bunch of companies. So when you divide up the total panic share among them, each one ends up with very little. Whereas Apple is just one company, and its platform has the greatest panic share of all.
        ldo17
        • Oh, I see

          When it fits your argument you lump all Android devices together as one but when it doesn't fit then you remind us they are separate companies and not one group. Please post in each discussion to let us know if we are counting all Android together for that discussion or not.
          non-biased