The Likely Reason Why There Will Be No 64GB iPhone 5

By , Sep 12, 2011

Yesterday, we reported that the iPhone 5 might not receive the bump in storage that some have been expecting. Rumors swirling around a screen-grab from a Vodafone inventory listing, suggests that the iPhone 5 will arrive in one of four flavors — a black 16GB or 32GB option, and a white 16GB or 32GB option — 64GB of storage capacity was nowhere to be seen.

Now, at first, that might seem weird considering that Apple’s created 64GB iterations of the iPod touch and iPad lineup. But iCloud is right on the horizon, and with it, Apple has effectively eliminated the need for increased local storage capacity in their mobile devices. Check inside to see why…

The iPhone

For that reason, even though they’ve created prototypes in the past, Apple is likely declining the option to bring the first 64GB iPhone to market. Apple knows that it has a game changer on its hands with iCloud, now it has to convince its customers to take heed.

Outside of apps and photos, music is by far the biggest space consumer present on mobile devices. I should know, my iTunes library won’t even fit on a 64GB iPod touch, let alone a 32GB iPhone. With iOS 5, and the introduction of iCloud, that changes. Now, my entire library of iTunes music can be stored in the cloud and available on-demand, as long as I have a Wi-Fi or 3G connection.

Apple has offered up an extremely generous 250GB of space (or 25,000 songs) for your iTunes library. That means you would need nearly four 64GB iPod touches, or a whopping eight 32GB iPhone 4′s just to match the amount of space that Apple is giving you for a small yearly fee of $24.99.

Considering the average lifespan of an iPhone is around two years for your average person in a two-year provider agreement, that’s a mere $50 total for 250GB of space. The comparison ratio between the hardware and cloud solutions is downright staggering.

For that reason, iCloud is not only saving consumers money, but it also saves Apple money. It means Apple has to produce less SKU’s, allowing them to keep their product inventory simplified. iCloud is a win/win situation on both ends of the spectrum.

And that’s just for music. We haven’t even touched on such iCloud features as Photo Stream, iWork, and many more which are sure to come.

The iPod touch

The more I think of this situation, the more likely I think it is that the iPod touch is about to see a major change. The reason? It doesn’t really fit the philosophy of iCloud.

Sure, Apple can keep bumping up the storage size of the iPod touch, but that has to end somewhere. Apple has always been a company that works ahead of the curve. They aren’t afraid to drop technology that they feel is outdated, even if it’s well ahead of their competitors (see: CD Drives and Floppy Disks).

The problem with the iPod touch is that it doesn’t feature an always-on connection like the iPhone, or the iPad 3G. That means that while iCloud will work, it’s only going to work when you’re near a Wi-Fi Connection. Want to listen to your iCloud music while you jog? Too bad. Want to show off your Photo Steam while taking a stroll in the park? Not going to happen.

That is, unless, Apple does one of two things:

1: Add 3G Connectivity to the iPod touch.
2: Kill the iPod touch in favor of a cheaper iPhone.

We can save the debate about the likelihood of either scenario for another time, but that’s how I see it playing out. The fact that Apple ditched its annual music event that normally runs in September, is certainly indicative that something is up. It might not be as drastic as killing the iPod touch lineup completely, but something is definitely changing.

The iPad

The iPad remains somewhat of an anomaly, if only because there is an option for 3G available if customers want it. Most people that I know, including myself, don’t listen to a lot of music on the iPad, and they use Netflix for movies; hence, storage isn’t much of an issue there. Of course, Apple could always drop the Wi-Fi only version of the iPad altogether with the iPad 3.

So there you have it: Apple is finished with bumping up storage specs every few years. 32GB of onboard storage is the sweet spot, and it’s highly likely that a 32GB iPhone 5 will be the “high end” model, when it launches next month.

What are your feelings on iCloud, and storage space in general? Do you think this is the way to go, or do you think that Apple should continue doubling up the capacity of its devices every few years? Let me know your comments and concerns in the comments below.

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  • Kjeldor

    Off topic: what is that tweak/app in cydia that you can use to track one’s iphone? It was talked about here in iDB before.. You install it in the iphone that you want to track.. I forgot the name. Not Find my iPhone

    • Shelly

      Paying extra for the cloud sucks for the consumer

  • james016

    I’d still prefer to have local storage. I mainly listen to music on my iPhone when I am travelling. Usually on the London Underground so iCloud will not be available then. This also applies when I am flying or abroad. Roaming charges would apply to the latter.

    • Kev

      Absolutely. And 3g providers provide 1gig max. Enough to listen to one or two albums? And 3g disconnecting whilst travelling. Give us the memory!

    • JoBerlin

      I agree. And a second thought: Cloud services suck. Why isn’t there a cloud service that has a built-in encryption function in the client? I don’t want to give my private data to complete strangers.
      And when you work in Europe you are not allowed to use cloud services hosted in the USA for storing client and sensitive data because US companies break European data privacy laws. They have to hand data to US authorities when asked for it and doing so is against the law here.

  • Shawn

    I’m from a country where there’s no iTunes music store (only Apps), so your story won’t convince anyone in from my country. But we need the space for Apps!

    Besides, it makes no sense have 32GB of music on your iPhone and having the remainder of your music on the iCloud. How are you going to listen to those on the iCloud and not on your phone? 3G streaming? Wifi on-the-go? It just sounds cumbersome.

    Sure you’ll own the music, but you’ll have to download the music into your iPhone first. which means we still want those 64GB iPhones…

  • Night

    I really, really, do not see iCloud as that great. I like to have all my music (or the one I’m on the mood to hear) on my without the need to have internet. You say that it only cost $24 a year, but add the cost of the 3G on the phone plus the limit you have each month to download.

    How much will it cost you to download 64 GB of music each month with a limited data plan? And if I have to download it at home (where I have unlimited data plan) what makes it different from having to connect my idivice to itunes?

    No to mention places where you do not have internet cover, the extra battery life 3G (or 4G) eats.

  • bc

    I still don’t see how iCloud and similar services can succeed when the wireless providers continue to tighten the reigns on data usage. It seems they are heading toward phasing out unlimited data plans (future and current) so it’s not going to be cost effective to be constantly streaming music in addition to you regular data usage. I would much rather have more storage space, have most of my music on my phone, and have my music play instantly (not wait for it to buffer).

  • http://www.crocsforkids.org WaterTrooper

    I myself would still like my 64GB. Depending on where you’re at it might take sometime to download the files from iCloud.

  • Andrew

    I want local storage. I don’t care about the cloud. When I have a connection, I’ll listen to Slacker, Pandora, etc. I like to use my ipod when I don’t have a connection, or the connection is shaky. For me that includes being at work, on a plane, metro, etc. I also want that storage to do with whatever I please, store photos (that again I don’t have to rely on the cloud for), store movies, take videos with the HD camera, install big apps, etc.

    I love my iphone, but if there’s one thing I hate, it’s Apple continuing to decide what is best for me instead of providing options for power users who aren’t retards, so we can make our own damn choices. I’d pay another $100+ for an iphone version with 64gb.

    The cloud is neat, but I don’t have a connection often enough to want to pay extra for it, not to mention there are plenty of apps out there that have allowed me to stream my music library from my home computer, just the same as the cloud. And they have been out for years. The theory is nothing new, and for those of us in the know, we aren’t gaining all that much new capability, it just has apple’s name on it and is a touch more tightly integrated. Big deal. It still relies on AT&T’s shitty network (or Verizon, not much better in my area). I want my local storage!

  • j.johnson

    If the iphone 5 is going to have a 8 mega pixel camera then the photos and videos that it takes will be larger in size and will take up more space. iCloud is cool for music and pics but what about video? With an 8 mega pixel camera one may be more inclined to shoot more video and edit it on the iOS version of iMovie. I know i plan on it. Especially if the rumors are true about a larger screen. I dont want to have to chose between what i want on the cloud and what i want on my device. I would much rather just leave it on my device.

    I understand that they want iCloud to take off. I really do. But most peoples music collection is well over 64GB. Why not give the people something that they want and is readily available? Im going to use iCloud regardless. Now just give me my 64GB iphone and i will be happy.

  • tc

    With the advent of iCloud we will need ahem “cell phone carriers” to bump up the data plans just saying lol

    • MB

      Why would you pay for music on iTunes and then pay to access it again in the cloud, you are paying to listen to it twice!!

  • Clement

    Will iCloud streaming Kill my Iphone battery? Hello?

  • silas

    1) You must surely realize that you are an outlier – the vast, vast majority of consumers have low-bit-rate mp3s at about 5MB each, and have about 2,000 of them. That works out to about 10GB, which means that even the 16GB mid-range iPhone works just fine for them.

    2)…which matters, because iCloud is NOT the end of local storage – contrary to what you and many other pundits are predicting. You said it yourself: “my entire library of iTunes music can be stored in the cloud and available on-demand, as long as I have a Wi-Fi or 3G connection.”

    Who wants to rely on a crappy 3G network (even Verizon’s) just to listen to their iPod? Who wants the music to go off every time they go into a tunnel? Who wants to burn through their battery in 5 hours because they’re pushing the wireless antenna constantly? Who wants to pay their cellular provider even more $$ every month because they’re blowing through bandwidth caps? Nobody.

    The only reasons Apple likely won’t upgrade the new iPhone’s storage are 1) that the price of large flash memory chips hasn’t come down enough for Apple to offer a free upgrade like they did two years ago (but the price will eventually come down, and Apple will eventually bump the storage); and 2) the Android and WebOS and Windows phones competing with Apple only offer 4GB or 8GB or 16GB of storage, so there’s no competitive pressure.

  • James

    Fuck 64gb, fuck Apple and fuck the cloud !! How about Apple get with the program and give people the option of expanding their memory with memory cards .. Apple are the nazis of the smartphone world with their dictatorial view on what you can do with YOUR device, what is so wrong with expandable emeory, they could integrate that so easily but they wouldn’t make as much would they, people are forced to buy 16 or 32 gb and if you could expand the memory people wouldn’t buy the 32 at all.

    I love Apple products but I despise Apple as a company.

    • cjhall

      James you have a foul mouth and sound so silly and young!!
      Now Steve is dead, and he has done great things and the company employs millions all over the world.

  • Simon

    “Eliminated the need for increased local storage” – really? Really? Because of course, obviously you’re ALWAYS going to have access to a data connection, everywhere in the entire world…

    • http://www.idownloadblog.com Jeff

      32GB is still more than enough to do what you have to do until you get somewhere with an internet connection, whether it be 3G or Wi-Fi. You guys are acting like Apple is decreasing storage. They’re simply keeping the status quo. Most people are doing fine with a 32GB iPhone 4 now. If anything, this is just adding even more storage.

  • Daniel

    I personally would like to see a 64gb version so I can easily put in my TV shows and Movies (via media players sich as VLC) onto my iPhone and watch them at my leisure.

  • Jay

    But Apple has to realize that every new customer that at least goes to VZW or AT&T isn’t going to have the ability to constantly stream/download (whatever iCloud does) their music and data with the relief of unlimited data. After a few days, all that 3G usage is going to wipe that 2GB data cap clean. I hope that they don’t eliminate local storage, at least keep the storage the same way it is. Don’t up it, just keep it the same. I honestly still have no clue how this iCloud is supposed to work, or even if it’s going to help me. I don’t but all my music from iTunes, so what does that do to half my library? I can only synch half with iCloud? Idk, there needs to be more clarification with that thing.

  • Brent

    this argument doesn’t work if you consider quality of media (my entire collection is apple lossless), having more than 2 movies on your phone, and having more than 2 photos on your phone and um HELLO?! APPS?! hipstamatic currently takes up close to 300 mb on my phone, and I don’t think apps are getting any lighter. And I’m not adding another bill for more iCloud storage on top of my monthly bill to AT&T. I don’t think the next iPhone will have a 64 gb storage option. But I think it has a lot more to do with profit margins and unquenchable demand than it has to do with iCloud.

  • Mark

    They’re doing it to get money. If you can’t store it on your iPhone, you have to put it on iCloud. And if you have more stuff, you need more space(even though you would have more space already on your iPhone if they had the higher capacities), and to get more space, $$ for apple.

  • potamus

    Dear Jeff,

    It doens’t matter how much time you invested in the making of this video. Sorry to say you’re on your own on this thought, bro. iCloud could be a nice companion to the iphone, but it will NEVER be a replacement for local memory. I listen to music on my iphone/ipod when I’m outside my home (like 80% of the users) if I have to rely on my carrier’s 3G I better be dead since all my data plan will go down the drain in less than an hour.

    APPLE: give us the 64GB iphone now, if not the 128, or what’s even better: give us a f%&@! memory card slot.

  • MattaNZ

    Yeah a$$ to that

    I don’t have any music on my phone, I do have 16GB of Apps and the rest in movies and tv shows – so iCloud ain’t going to help – and we don’t have unlimited data plans so my puny 2GB per month will be gone in days

  • Apple Turnover

    I don’t see a reason why Apple can’t fit 64 GB of 24nm Toshiba NAND memory in the iPhone 5. The package size wouldn’t be much larger than the 32 GB package in the iPhone 4. Production of the 64 GB memory modules had already been sampled and started and since Apple ordered such large quantities from Toshiba, Apple should certainly getting a decent price break.

    I don’t know how these rumors get started that Apple can’t or won’t increase the memory in the iPhone 5. Apple is Toshiba’s biggest memory buyer and I’d pretty much think what they’re producing is for Apple’s use. The memory manufacturers are always shrinking memory packages on a yearly basis and unless Toshiba can’t supply enough memory in the quantities needed then there really shouldn’t be much of a problem for the iPhone 5 to have more memory. Nobody knows for sure how many components Apple was able to shrink down to make room for more memory. Unless you know the internal dimensions of the iPhone 5, one can only speculate about what Apple can fit in an iPhone or not. It’s certainly not impossible. 64 GB would give the iPhone a huge edge in storage over most any other smartphone since I think the most current amount is 16 GB internal and a 32 external microSD card (total 48 GB) for Android smartphones.

    The author is just stating his opinion and I’m stating mine. We’ll see who’s correct in a month.

  • ALL.RS

    In my country the normal plans are 100Mb, 300Mb and 500Mb. What I will do with that?!
    In my opinion Apple should release B and W iPhone with 32 and 64Gb. The iP4 with 16Gb that here costs 600€ will be de iP5 32Gb and the iP4 with 32Gb that cost 700€ will be the iP5 with 64Gb. Is just stupid still thinking on a 16Gb model. Maybe for the low cost-iPhone, not for a phone that I pay 600€.

  • Akrauss

    I agree with all the comments above and as you will see everyone wants the option of a larger onboard memory – - me included !! I have a 32 GB ipod touch that is just about full – - mostly with music. I have an HTC droid phone that I am very happy with and the only reason for me to switch to the iphone would be to have my phone and music on one device. Unless the iphone 5 is offered in 64 GB, I will stick with my current phone. The other thing about icloud is even when there is a 3g/4g or wifi connection, will it further downgrade the quality of my music, versus having the music played off local memory ? I hope Apple is listening here and takes note – - everyone wants larger storage capacity. You offer it on the ipod touch, so offer it on the iphone.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002090550614 Kash Gummaraju

      the iphone has the ipod app u can play movies, listen 2 music… everything and no 4g will be offered for the iphone unless there is a battery which can handle it without running out in 2-5 hours in standby mode

  • MikeF

    Apple have wanted the iPhone to be an online device from the very beginning, when they imagined that users would be happy to run third-party apps on line (and after they belatedly realised that people might want apps at all). They obviously have their own reasons for this, most likely related to revenue and control. But it is interesting to see how many app vendors find that it is a selling point to be able to say that their apps run without internet connection. Local storage is an obvious need for me – I don’t want to be stranded. Being dependent on a (costly) connection is like being dependent on a power supply. It’s a form of unreliability. My 32GB iPhone is over half full, mostly with apps, and I have only had it a year – at this rate I will be reaching the limit well within what I hope to be its lifetime.

  • Graham

    Oh look, a 64GB iPhone…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002090550614 Kash Gummaraju

    if a the ipod touch is added 3g then there will be no difference between it and the iphone the ipod touch could always get a phone app and use it for free, so apple is 98.78% not going kill the itouch the most popular mp3/handheld gaming device a cheaper iphone would create frgamenting, There is fragementing between the ipad and other idevices, the samller devices can’t run ipad apps, the ipad can run all of them, but the apps meant for the iphone and itouch when displayed on the ipad are small when expanded a bit blurry or pixelated as that the indvidual pixels are easy 2 see( my typing is but cuz i’m sleepy)

  • Adam D

    Music in the cloud = more to download = less battery life = more $$$ for the carriers and electricity companies

    Ad@m

  • Anonymous

    I don’t see any advantage in this line of thought. There is already a 64 GB iPhone 4S. Why wouldn’t they provide an 64 GB iPhone 5??

    The price/GB of flash memory is declining at a staggering rate. At January 2006, a MLC FLASH NAND chip was priced at $1.30/GB, which gives us $20.8 for 16GB, $41.6 for 32 GB and $83.2 for 64 GB. For sure, this cost is lower today.

    Apple puts a price rate of aprox. $100 per step up the iPhone memory, which would give still about the same profit of $24.99 for the iCloud premium storage space. Of course manufacturing costs and service costs are not always easy to compare, but as a rough estimate, it is clear that it doesn’t make too much sense in terms of profit to Apple.

    And remember that in Hardware, Apple can (and do) put premium prices in their products that people pay. As services, be sure that Apple cannot have the same large margin of profit that it has in their hardware price.

    Finally, all the against to have files in the cloud that people had already posted here: Not available in situations that you do not have internet connection, not available in all countries, etc….

    • http://www.facebook.com/Saroku Patrick Mair

      I think you missed something here. This was written BEFORE the iPhone 4S came out, before they knew that the 4S will be the 4S, when everyone thought the 4S will be the iPhone 5.

  • Anonymous

    Thats $50 bucks for two years for ALL OF your devices. I have an iPad and an iPhone, and of course the Apple TVs, and the non-connected little square Nano.

  • Usdoj Usdoj

    i think that the iCloud is a great idea but, until the cell phone providers allow you to stream the music and other apps from iCloud to your IOS device if believe it will be a short lived thing. People are already being “throttled” back one they hit the 3GB mark. I believe there is much more room for improvement before this happens.

  • http://www.facebook.com/raghav0211rocks Raghav Prasad

    This would be sheer stupidity ! The Indian iTunes Store does not have music , tv or movies on it ! How on earth am I supposed to take any benefit of apple’s iCloud service then and with not having 64GB of local memory buying an iPhone would be a pretty worthless investment for someone like me who has a lot of music and some of which is not even available on the American iTunes store just imagine the Indian iTunes Store doesn’t have three of the most important elements to enjoy iCloud ! This would be effing insane on apple’s part ! :(