The base-price iPhone 7, according to a recent report by The Wall Street Journal, will have an amount of storage that will make it usable. Not great, not amazing, not best in class, but usable. How exciting is that?
Well, it depends on your expectations.
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If you expect the iPhone 7, the latest and greatest Apple will have to offer, to finally catch up with every other post-2014 phone out there (even the Chinese ones which cost less than half the iPhone's price), then go celebrate.
I expect the iPhone 7 to be among the best phones out there, and to achieve that, Apple would finally have to do something unexpected — even if it's so simple as jumping from 16GB base storage to 64GB for the cheapest option.
At this point some of you may be dismissively waving your hand, thinking you can never please these tech journalists. But hear me out.
Remember 2008? George W. Bush was still president of the U.S., USB sticks still came in 256MB sizes and smartphones were a new thing.
Apple first introduced a 16GB iPhone in February 2008. Remember 2008? George W. Bush was still president of the U.S., USB sticks still came in 256MB sizes and smartphones were a new thing. And that was the first-generation iPhone, upgraded a year after launch, mainly to accommodate users' ever-increasing hunger for storage.
In 2012, with the release of the iPhone 5, Apple introduced 16GB as the base storage option. It was followed by iPhone 5S and 5C, then iPhones 6 and 6 Plus, then iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, and finally with the iPhone SE — all of which started with 16GB of base storage.
UPDATE: July 6, 2016, 7:07 p.m. CEST Our reader Hrvoje pointed out that the first iPhone model that started with 16GB of storage was actually the iPhone 4, which came out in 2010. An 8GB variant of the iPhone 4 was introduced a year later, alongside the launch of the iPhone 4S. This is one of those times when I don't mind being wrong, as it further reiterates the point above.
Hey Apple, when's the last time we had a pleasant surprise?
Apple has been waiting way too long to upgrade the storage, and it's time to double down. 32GB is not a disaster by any means — after all, most smartphones start there (though, in fairness, most of them also offer a sizable memory expansion via microSD memory cards). But apps are getting bigger, photos are getting bigger, videos are getting huge (try recording 4K video on a 32GB phone and see how far you'll get). Next year, all the flagship Androids will start at 64GB, mark my words.
There's also the simple matter of being fair to your customers. Unlike most smartphone manufacturers Apple has a hump in memory storage between its cheapest and second-cheapest model. Currently, the iPhone 6S starts at 16GB, then jumps to 64GB and, finally, 128GB. Rumors have it that the iPhone 7 will come with 32GB, 128GB and 256GB memory options.
But why the hump? Simply because Apple has traditionally been using its cheapest iPhone as bait to lure customers to buy the mid-range model. The somewhat sleazy practice became downright annoying when it became painfully obvious that 16GB of storage don't cut it anymore — sometime around the iPhone 6 — and then Apple did it again next year.
Most importantly, iPhone's overall specs just feel weak. Yes, it's a great phone, but the current model lags behind basically all competitors in terms of every spec you can think of. RAM? The Samsungs and the HTCs and the LGs have more than the iPhone 6S's paltry 2GB. Screen resolution? 4K phones leave iPhone's Retina in the dust. Battery size? You can easily find phones with twice the battery capacity for half the iPhone's price. With memory prices constantly falling, at least upgrading the storage memory should be easy. You have to wonder if Apple likes to stay behind on purpose.
It will happen, but when?
Rumors aside, I'm certain Apple will upgrade the storage for the cheapest iPhone 7. The company would get ripped to shreds by the press (and annoyed users) if it didn't. But with the rumors that the iPhone 7 will be far more evolutionary than a revolutionary upgrade, having it start at 64GB would be a really nice touch, instantly propelling it to the top of the smartphone chain when storage is concerned. Apple faithful have been waiting for their phone to be leading in some area for quite some time, and they deserve it.
Here's the more realistic option, though: The iPhone 7 will start at 32GB, and so will the iPhone after that, and the one after that — until we collectively start pulling our hair and crying out for more storage. It's just Apple's way.
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