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iPhone 6 Storage Capacity: Apple Takes Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

iPhone 6 storage capacity

The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus deliver on much of what consumers have been wanting from Apple. The biggest being the display. If they were to release a single 4.7-inch iPhone 6, it would have addressed most of the market clamoring for a bigger phone. They went one step further, delivering a massive 5.5-inch display on the iPhone 6 Plus. Now customers who are upgrading have tough decisions on which iPhone 6 to buy. As we see with each new year of iPhones, purchase decisions revolve around which color and storage capacity. Yet again, those are part of your decision process. Amidst all of the upgrades, Apple changed the storage capacity options. With an increasing number of premium smartphones offerings starting at 32GB, there have been no shortages of calls from users for Apple to double storage capacity. This year, they took two steps forward and one step back.

iPhone 6 storage capacity

Apple has lagged the market for years, clutching on to the 16GB/32GB/64GB options, while costs were a minimal factor. More on that later. This year, things changed, but they missed an opportunity to get things right. Instead of simply doubling storage across the board, Apple chose to double the the 32GB and 64GB options respectively to 64GB and 128GB. While those are great moves, they ignored the biggest problem in their product line. The 16GB iPhone 6/6 Plus, priced at $199/$299, doesn’t get a storage bump. So just like the iPhone 4s that was available on October 14th, 2011, the base model is stuck in the quicksand when it comes to storage. While all of the technology has improved, including a camera that takes bursts of images and slow-motion video, the storage hasn’t made the requisite bump.

iPhone 4s storage options

They don’t break out just how many they sell for each storage capacity, but it’s a safe assumption that the lowest cost model outstrips other models by a fair amount. For Apple, as with any company, it’s a matter of pricing and margins. The base model is their bread and butter. Despite massive upgrades throughout, they’ve managed to retain their $199 price point for the base model. Still, the jump from 16GB to 32GB is not an expensive proposition for Apple. If we look at the cost of materials from IHS for the iPhone 5s (and they might be adjusted down since 2013), the 16GB NAND Flash is priced at $9.40. The 32GB is $18.80 and the 64GB is $29.00. So, basically it would cost Apple an additional $10 to ship a 32GB iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Doesn’t sound like much, until you multiply it by millions.

Build cost

Having spent the last year with a 16GB iPhone 5s, I’ve had a number of occasions where I’ve bumped into storage capacity issues. Oddly enough, it doesn’t happen when I’m shooting pictures or taking video. Apple’s very own iOS updates require a significant amount of free storage, beyond the actual size of the update. So although I’ve often preached that you don’t need the one with bigger gee-bees, most folks do need more than 16GB. I keep my iPhone lean and mean. It’s got zero music on it and try to do a bi-monthly spring cleaning, where I delete apps that aren’t used with any regularity. When you undertake this sort of routine and still have issues, it’s troubling. With built-in storage, there is no turning back, unless you’re within the 14 day return period. The choice you make is what you’re saddled with until the next upgrade cycle.

I certainly don’t blame Apple for my choices. I also get the economics of selling smartphones. It would be great if every kid got a free pony with each iPhone 6 purchase, but that’s not realistic. When the inevitable iPhone 6 teardown and cost of materials comes out, I suspect the BOM + Manufacturing will be just south of $199. Remember, these phones retail for $649, so they are making a fair amount from each sale. If it’s way south from $199, than yes, I’m shifting my blame squarely on Apple. If it’s north, I’ll applaud their decision to give their customers more for their money, rewarding iPhone users with more phone, for less.

Ultimately, Apple cares about the iPhone experience. In 2014, that experience should start with 32GB of storage. Hey Apple, what do you say we split the difference. Better yet, I’ll gladly pay $10 to cover your costs. And if at any point, they want to throw in a free pony, I’m ok with that too.

What iPhone 6 Storage Capacity Is Right For Your?

Editor’s note: If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading. As for which storage choice is best, I highly recommend either the 64GB or 128GB models. Both offer a much higher value proposition than the base model. As a reminder, this price includes a costly 2-year contract, which subsidizes the price of the iPhone 6. Make sure you are getting the most bang from your buck. Apple also has this handy recommendation for folks who aren’t sure which best suits their needs. It should help guide your decision on how much storage is right for you. I’d also encourage you to use our comments or forum for further discussion.

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