The 10-year wait is over as iPhone 13 ditches 64GB storage for 128GB: Why now and is Android in trouble?24
Why is this exciting? Well, first of all, this is just another overdue upgrade for Apple, so we can't say Cupertino's making history - technically speaking. However! For the end-user, this change might be more monumental than you realize.
10 years after the introduction of the 64GB iPhone and seven years after the first 128GB iPhone, Apple seems ready to move on and give users double the storage for the same price.
Why is Apple ditching the 64GB iPhone to give you a 128GB base model iPhone just now?
As already mentioned, Apple takes its time with certain upgrades that otherwise seem very basic/minor from, let's say, an Android user's perspective. Storage is just one of them. However, like many other things in a company as big as Apple, this decision might be way more strategic than it seems at first.
You might think that Apple's finally decided to become more generous, and while this checks out, there are a few other good reasons for a 128GB iPhone 13:
- The increased popularity of apps like TikTok, which can quickly make you fill up your phone with short videos, which pile up.
- iPhone 13 will be able to shoot HDR videos at 4K just like iPhone 12; Cinematic Portrait Mode videos; as well as (maybe!) RAW photos that can very quickly eat up your storage space.
- The gap between the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro series is getting wider thanks to the new 120Hz display, superior camera hardware on the Pro models, and perhaps even satellite connectivity, which might be exclusive to the Pro iPhones (might not be - we’ll see). This allows Apple to give the standard iPhone 128GB of storage without cannibalizing iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max sales too much.
iPhone 13 Mini at $699, and iPhone 13 at $799 with 128GB of base storage - Android flagship killers?
Since the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max are about to become extremely premium compared to the standard iPhone 13, it only makes sense that Apple will try to challenge Android flagships not only at the $1,000+ mark but below that too.
Let's take a look at recent Android flagships to see how they compared with Apple's new 128GB iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Mini when it comes to storage:
- Ironically, Samsung is a bit conservative with just 128GB of storage on the ultra-premium Galaxy S21 Ultra, which launched at $1,199. In comparison, the same money would get you a 256GB iPhone 12 Pro Max - the Galaxy's main competitor.
- OnePlus is slowly but steadily establishing itself as a flagship brand instead of a "flagship-killer" one. If the company carried the same spirit as before, undoubtedly, at least the most premium OnePlus 9 Pro would have started at 256GB of storage. Instead, OnePlus is taking a conservative Samsung-ish approach here. Fair enough.
- Xiaomi is rather generous when it comes to the most premium Mi 11 Ultra - 256GB of storage that might last you for years, even if you're making good use of the incredible camera system of this phone.
- Honor has found the strategy that perhaps makes the most sense at first sight - the more premium the phone, the more storage you get. Still, these phones are costly, especially the Honor Magic 3 Pro+, so the generous storage is well paid for.
- Interestingly, Huawei might actually be your best option from the bunch. The P50 Pro and P50 both come with 128GB of base storage but also let you add an NM card, up to 256GB for a total of 384GB, or even up to 768GB if you were to get a 512GB Huawei P50 Pro. This makes the P50 series the only flagships with expandable storage, which is a huge deal!
A 128GB NM card will set you back about $40 / £35 / €35, which is much, much cheaper than having to buy a new phone because you've run out of storage (given that you can't bother to back up or don't want to pay for cloud storage). In fact, just the peace of mind that a phone with expandable storage gives you is enough of a feature. Too bad Huawei is very… banned to be considered competition.
In the end: The future of iPhone storage options
The 128GB $699 iPhone 13 Mini and $799 iPhone 13 are huge news for Apple users and even Android users who consider switching to the iPhone. It's not as big of a reassurance as a micro-SD card/ NM card slot, but it's fair to assume that 128GB of storage will be plenty for most users.
It's important to note that while the iPhone flagships have now caught up to Android flagships when it comes to storage, Apple's budget iPhone SE's future in that regard is still uncertain. The iPhone SE (2020) starts at 64GB, and it won't be a shock if the upcoming iPhone SE 3 keeps it low too.
I guess we'll have to wait and see! Meanwhile, warm up your microwaves, and have your popcorn ready to go for tomorrow's "California streaming" event, where Apple is expected to reveal the iPhone 13 series, Apple Watch 7 series, and AirPods 3! Oh, yes - seems like we don't get any iPads in September.