Productivity

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?