Since the introduction of the iPhone, Apple has pushed the storage capacity higher with almost every release.
In 2009, Apple announced the 32GB iPhone 3GS, and in 2011 the 64GB iPhone 4S hit the market.
As the iPhone 5 release date approaches, and my 64GB iPhone 4S warns me that I don’t have enough storage space to update my apps, I have to wonder if Apple will bump the storage sizes of the iPhone 5 up this fall.
Running out of Space
I had just over 5GB of storage space left. In order to download these updates, I had to delete several apps including Modern Combat 3 and Almost DLSR, which was loaded up with video files.
After cleaning house I have 11GB of breathing room, but this has taught me that the iPhone needs at least 5GB of storage free to function.
My iPhone has a lot of photos and videos, which take up about half of the space, with Apps occupying another 16GB. I may be in the minority here, but I know I’m not alone.
Cost of a 128GB iPhone
Cost is the biggest factor that could prevent Apple from introducing a 128GB iPhone 5. According to iSuppli, Flash storage is responsible for most of the cost difference to Apple.
The price of 64GB Flash memory is $76.80, 32GB Flash memory is $38.40 and 16GB Flash memory is $19.20.
Even if advances bring the price of Flash memory down, Apple would need to charge a premium for a 128GB iPhone 5 or eat a larger portion of the cost if it retailed for $399.
Smaller 128GB Flash Chips
This February Samsung, a manufacturer Apple works with for parts of the iPhone, announced the smallest 128GB NAND Flash memory chip. These chips are smaller than a penny, and are already ramping up into high production.
Silver Lining in the Cloud?
The cloud could help alleviate some of the storage woes without the need for a 128GB iPhone 5. PhotoStream currently stores the last 1,000 photos taken, but if it stored more photos and included videos, users could rely on the cloud more.
4g LTE speeds will also help users call up photos and videos on the go, even with 4G LTE data caps.
Apps currently can’t benefit from the cloud, but if Apple would allow OnLive for the iPad and other services that stream games instead of storing the assets and processing locally, the iPhone and iPad could be used to play higher quality games without the need for massive amounts of storage.
Do you need a larger iPhone? Would you pay more than $399 for a 128GB iPhone 5?