July 24, 2015 Last Updated 8:03 am

Apple should dramatically boost iPad storage specs to make it new models serious media devices

The new iPhone 6s is said to raise its minimum storage option to 32GB, that’s a good move, but a similar storage level for the iPad would be a mistake

There is nothing TNM can say that will ever reach the ears (eyes, actually) of Apple. Hell, I’ve even spoken to Apple representatives about the Newsstand and bogus apps, those that blatantly violate Apple’s own developer rules, and it was like speaking to a wall. So I know no one at Apple will take the advice of this website, but maybe someone at the one or two websites Apple’s team actually reads might and will pass on the advice: the iPad needs a serious change in direction.


First digital issue of Red Bulletin from May 2011

I care about the iPad because it potentially can be as good or better a reading platform as print. As a digital publisher let me say again, I love print. Have my whole life, and my 30+ years in the publishing business. But a great iPad digital publication blows away print.

I remember opening up Red Bulletin for the first time in early 2011 and was blown away by its interactivity, though I wondered if it were possible for smaller publishers to duplicate the experience (it wasn’t). But issues of red Bulletin, at least the early issues, were storage hogs. In fact, just about any interactive magazine created using the Adobe DPS was way too large is size, not only because they took up so much iPad storage, but because they would take forever to download.

But today companies like Apple want consumers to stream their media – films, TV shows, music. By streaming media the companies have greater control over distribution, can take away your media from you if you unsubscribe, etc. We all get it, this is what the tech companies want. But listen to me, this isn’t what consumers want. Sure, we all love streaming media, but that does not mean we want to be a slave to it.

Rumor has it that Apple will drop the 16 GB option for the iPhone 6s. Thank God. The original iPhone had, as its entry-level option, only 4GB of onboard storage. Even with the my first iPhone purchase in 2007 I upgraded to the 8GB model knowing how little music I would be able to load onto the new phone if I bought the 4GB model. The iPhone 3G, or 2nd generation model, had 8GB as its minimum storage option, and it stayed this way all the way until the iPhone 5s.

I think the reason the iPhone 6s will offer 32GB as the base model has less to do with Apple understanding the needs of users so much as it does marketing (and lower flash memory costs): there won’t be that much new to offer buyers with the iPhone 6s except upgraded specs, and that has to include storage.

But about 6 weeks after Apple announces the new iPhone models it will also announce new iPad models (unless they decide to combine the events, which might not be a bad idea). Apple will likely raise the base storage model from 16GB to 32GB and proclaim it a big advance. That would be a joke, and everyone knows it. Microsoft, which doesn’t like journalists touching their devices, has already moved their Surface model to a minimum of 64GB. Apple should go straight to 128GB with a larger display iPad.

Consumers will need the extra storage not for the PDFs publishers want to deliver to them, but for innovative new digital books, magazines and newspapers being created by new digital publishers. Even an ePub3 eBook can be over 200MB if video or audio is added, and Apple recently updated both iBooks and iBooks Author to make these kinds of things possible. Is Apple’s hardware side talking to its software side?

  • J-P Chasson 3 years ago

    Good points, but I’d add one more: why aren’t digital magazine and newspaper apps workable for the Mac? Apple added iBooks to the Mac awhile ago, and just added for the iPhone. With laptops getting smaller, they start to work like tablets, yet the apps are trapped inside the iTunes store. Free our digital editions!

    • Adam Blades 3 years ago

      A very good point! However, I believe the reason is because of the more complex touch interfaces apparent in the latest and greatest digital magazines. I would find the reading experience of a digital magazine on my Mac to be more of a compromise than a benefit, and I would probably resort just using the web pretty quickly.

      But this is certainly not something I would be opposed to if it was done right.