The Hidden Problem With The 128GB iPad

Apple launched a 128GB iPad this week, and there was great jubilation amongst those who wanted more storage space for their shiny tablets. There is a bit of a hidden problem with this strategy, however.

Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/johanl/6966883093/

It's long been a complaint — both from iPad users and those who don't much like the iPad — that the device has a fixed quantity of storage, as declared by Apple to be suitable for its users. Not all alternate platform devices do offer storage upgrades, whether by USB or microSD, but then nobody else has Apple's tablet market share.

Before anyone declares me to be "obviously biased against Apple", I'm a heavy iPad user myself. From where I'm sitting I could reach out and grab a 1st, 2nd, 3rd gen or iPad Mini, but the prospect of an 128GB iPad with the current generation specifications worries me a little, and not because I don't like storage.

It's a touch unusual for Apple to release a new iPad with such little fanfare; this was essentially just dropped onto the market. There was undoubtedly demand for such a device, but it's still a little odd. Previously, when Apple has released new iterations of products with storage upgrades as a key feature, it has been mostly because the new upper tier of storage replaced the old, lower storage capacity at around the same price, allowing a little for currency conversions and taxes. It was a good up-sell strategy for consumers, because you got more for the same price, in other words.

That hasn't happened here; Apple has introduced an entirely new pricing tier for iPad. There's no way that the doubled memory actually costs Apple an extra $110 per iPad, but it creates a situation where there's a distinct opportunity for Apple to drop the lowest 16GB pricing tier in the genuine next generation of iPad — which would also make the iPad Mini seem more attractive from a price point — and subtly shift the tablet market price upwards.

It means that, unlike previous iDevice generations where we'd sometimes see that kind of data shift (along with other new features) as part of the value, when the next generation rolls around, the users will already expect that the 128GB tier will simply cost more. I'm not sure that's a good thing. Your thoughts?


Comments

    It's not a good thing at all. Apples business plan has completely changed since Jobs kicked the bucket. Sorry to say but its being reflected by their plummeting share price, the fact that slowly but surely they're becoming fractured like Android is. Jobs was definitely a better guiding light than their current fool.

      My understanding was that their share price is plummeting because of one of those strange things about the stock market - they've made so much money and grown so fast they can't keep growing as fast - put themselves in a corner.

      I strongly doubt Tim Cook is a fool. You do realise he was running the place for quite a while before Jobs actually died, right? Jobs didn't die while running Apple.

        In the last few years, Apples business plan has dramatically changed, this cannot be denied. The multiple, multiple release of ipads in eighteen months, what are we upto? 4 now? 5? Has abolished the older, better idea of one update a year which actually made the update seem somewhat 'important' to consumers. With the faster, more staggered release of items, instead of a scheduled release, with only slightly incremental upgrades, it's really just pissing in the wind. Had they held out the last version? Better processor, lightning connector, 128gb hdd AND retina display for this release? Holy crap THAT would have been the true 'next' iPad to release. No?

          Not at all, the 128 isn't a new model, it's an answer to a market segment that requires the feature in response to the Surface. Why should a consumer who has a definite need for a product have to wait till a 'traditional' release once a year

          Consumers should probably get over the entitlement and excitement they presume has to be in every new product

            Of course its a new model and itll be marketed as such with a new pricing pointto match. Its about time they DID go 128gb, plus, at least unlike surface youll get most of that space with the ipad. However its not entitlement from a consumer when they pay a premium price for such a product. Its an expectatio n and a fair one at that.

            "Consumers should probably get over the entitlement and excitement they presume has to be in every new product"

            And with that, the magic that made Apple what it is today has gone.

              And that's the issue, it's a phone not magic... If your expecting magic your looking for the wrong thing....

              Apart from the screen, the shape/material & camera advances what big leaps in Hardware are you expecting? Specs are specs for the most part and only affect incrementally the performance the user gets, the OS evolves slowly usually in the form of adopting existing ideas from other platforms/apps... Android has made significant improvements mainly because they had to compete

              The products maturing..... When it comes to 'magic' your usually referring to the buzz felt from the initial launch (first imac, first ipad, first iphone) because its new and different, and no product does this repeatedly and consistently

                Ahh! Totally agree.
                People need to chill out.
                These products are constantly evolving. iOS is only 5-6 years old. In comparison to other operating systems, it has ages to go before it reaches its prime.

                  Apart from the camera and the appearance everything else is always incremental and generally 'boring' and 'non -innovated'

                  Even the processor only really affects the OS.... I was more 'overwhelmed' by iOS 6 than anything on my iPhone 5, apart from being sexy as hell appearance wise... An iOS update can be more 'changing' then any Hardware update as its generally got a more significant effect, and with a far greater uptake

            That was silly of them then if it was in response to the 128Gb surface which has no where near 128Gb of space.

      I am really surprised that noone is talking about the USB2 interface. If this isn't upgraded, it will take many, many hours to copy data on or off this device - making it all but useless. If this isn't upgraded to USB3, this product will not be worth much at all.

        apple zionists will tell you that they can transfer files wirelessly

          Apple is a Jewish conspiracy? I never knew.

          This actually slower than the USB 2.0 ....

        I'm going to say no, as I seem to remember the storage interface being relatively low speed for iPads. But regardless, you aren't going to slam 120Gig onto one in one go, generally speaking. You are going to do it gradually, a few files at a time as you need them. Upgrading to your next 128Gb iPad is a more painful prospect, but they may have upgraded by then.

          They can't upgrade to USB 3.0, unless they break their promise that the lightning connector will be used for at least another 10 years. The lightning port only has 8 pins, but USB 3.0 needs 9 (10 on the device side, the extra pin being for OTG detection). The reversible, really small plug was a great idea, but I think they've kind of shot themselves in the foot there.

            Actually, the lightning connector may be able to support USB 3.0, check this: http://arstechnica.com/apple/2012/09/teardown-revives-hopes-that-lightning-might-be-usb-3-0-compatible/

        Agreed. USB2 is getting way too old for this. I've got a 64GB iPhone and its already painfully slow putting ~20gb on it. Imagine chucking on a bunch of HD movies for a trip. Or resyncing your iTunes library. Or backing up and restoring. You'll be there forever!

    128Gb - backed up to the iCloud - via wireless.
    Somehow, I feel my battery will be flat before the backup completes.

    I don't see why you need any more storage than what you need for your constantly accessed files and apps, for all the pushing apple has done for cloud services you'd think charging this much for a storage upgrade would be redundant.

    They can see their customer base shrinking, so they're increasing their profit margin on each device

    From where I sit Apple stuffed up big time by selling the iPad Mini at $329 ($A369) - Apple should have sold it at $299 or even $249. It would have run out the doors at that price!

    It’s a touch unusual for Apple to release a new iPad with such little fanfare

    Maybe it's just me but that feels like what they did when they unveiled the 4th generation devices too. It felt very much like one of their "ohh and one other thing" announcements that came after something that was taking the bulk of their focus, in this case the iPad Mini.

    I know some others disagree, but the entire 4th gen has and continues to feel like a filler release for a number of reasons such as the low key announcements (128GB version and the refresh in general), the timing of the release relative to lightening and the fact it made no effort to change the external design of the device...a pattern we have admittedly seen with the iPhone releases but then again, the iPads due for a smaller model after they added size and wight with the 3rd gen.

    Its strange for Apple to announce/release a new(ish) iPad now. What about their 'real next'' iPad release in March/April? Or are they going to push that out to the end of the year with the new iPhone?
    I dont believe so. They wouldnt release the next iPhone and iPad at the same time. Apple fans would have to buy both devices at the same time, which they wont, which would ultimately hurt sales.

      I'd also question the ability to get enough of the components that are shared between the two devices such as the processors, which in the past have been quite similar from one device to another. Every time a new iPad or iPhone is released we hear about component shortages, I'm not sure how their supplier will cope with two devices at once.

      Maybe they'll stockpile parts further in advance, but if they have the components it doesn't seem to be advantageous to hold back the devices release.

    hi there apple uses a ssd not hdd the 128 gb ssd not hdd apple is non hdd

    hi there good news apple releasing a 128 gb iphone 6

    As an older consumer, I like the idea of more space for my craft mags and patterns. I have several years do them.. Some now off the I pad and on a stick..alas. Looking like upgrading to 128 gig, though I wish I could continuously expand the memory and I think a lot of other grannies would too!

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