In case you haven’t heard, all those Retina Display iPad apps will eat up all of the storage space on your new and old iPad, and even your iPhone or iPod touch. Except that not all of them will. Most apps actually won’t make that much of a dent on your storage space, assuming they don’t use too many custom art assets.
CNET looked at a number of iOS apps and found that while there are some apps that ballooned in size tremendously, most didn’t actually increase that much. While some apps like Apple’s iMovie and Pages increased in size dramatically, others increased by just a few megabytes, if that.
Pages and iMovie increased so much because of their custom assets. iMovie jumped from 70MB to 404MB, because of the features put into the app. Apple included 17 audio tracks in the app which all hover around 2MB in size. There’s also 20 preview videos included for each trailer type in the app. Those video previews alone take up 100MB, much more than the original app’s size.
Pages, meanwhile, has a lot of art assets, all of which needed to be upgraded for the Retina Display. Pages increased from 95MB to 296MB. That can be attributed to the images included in the app, from the custom menus to the art that can be placed inside your documents.
That is the same reason Tweetbot for iPad almost doubled in size. Tweetbot uses custom art for just about everything, and those Retina Display images can be pretty large.
Apps that don’t rely on custom art, or that are mostly text-based won’t increase much in size. So apps like The New York Times, Evernote, and Amazon Kindle saw their sizes increase by just a few megabytes at most. The New York Times actually only increased 0.7MB, which isn’t much, though images downloaded to the app could take up more space.
Some games will be larger, but there are few apps that push up against Apple’s 2GB app size limit. Even Sky Gamblers: Air Supremacy, the game that we’re very excited about, clocks in at just 360MB, and it includes graphics for the iPhone 3GS up to the new iPad in the same app.
Many of the most popular games on the iPad are between 20MB and 50MB in size. Casual games like Angry Birds Rio and the new Flight Control Rocket come in at just 19MB and 31MB, respectively. Flight Control Rocket is even Retina Display-ready (though some art assets look pixelated on the iPhone 4′s Retina Display).
So yes, some apps will end up increasing in size, but it seems like many of us were probably overreacting to the initial increases.
Unless you’re making movies and playing a ton of games like Infinity Blade II (with Retina Display graphics it clocks in at 791MB) and Sky Gamblers: Air Supremacy, you should be fine. A 16GB model might still be a bit small if you plan on including movies, photos, and music, but it seems like a 32GB model should be fine for most users.