Goodbye 64GB. Hello smartphones with 1TB storage

Given the pace at which we are consuming and creating videos there is little room for anything below 128GB

The new iPhone 13 Pro models come with 1TB storage options, which may soon become a standard for the industry.

Mathures Paul


Published 17.09.21, 12:34 AM

The terabyte smartphone era is here and we will have to embrace it because video content is the way forward. Apple has announced iPhone 13 Pro models with up to 1TB storage space, bringing to an end the 64GB era. Not that the company is the first to usher in a terabyte change — Samsung Galaxy S10+ did it in 2019 — but it’s usually Apple that sets a trend.

Given the pace at which we are consuming and creating videos there is little room for anything below 128GB. Besides, app updates are ballooning up while a graphic-intensive game can easily take up 1GB space, so what’s 64GB in 2021. Good riddance to 64GB!

In-built storage is something most customers overlook while buying a new phone to save a few bucks. In fact, many customers in India are willing to buy a 5G phone but not a higher storage variant, even though 5G is unavailable and by the time it arrives, most mid-range 5G handsets will be tottering for a spec upgrade.

Paying for a phone with a little more space can save you a lot of headaches, especially when it comes to app updates or installing the insane number of apps that we demand (but not necessarily use). Frankly, 64GB has had its day in 2018-19 but we have been buying these phones. For Apple, 64GB has been around since 2011 even when it started offering 128GB, 256GB and 512GB options.

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This is like 2015 when 16GB became obsolete and when the iPhone 7 launched in 2016, 32GB became the default. But there’s a difference between 2015 and 2021. Back then, options like Google Photos and Flickr were allowing free storage to store huge amounts of photos and videos. Now, the free tiers of cloud storage options are restricted compared to the amount of data we are generating. Also different is how we are consuming media. In 2015 we were downloading music files and videos on our phones, which we could kill as and when space was required. Now we are streaming music and video — and paying for these services — while all the multimedia content on our phone is via the videos we are generating, and that too in 4K (8K will soon become the norm).

Look at Apple’s own take on the situation, when preinstalled apps and OS are taking up between 11GB and 14GB space. The fine prints of the technical spec sheet of the iPhone 12 Pro reads: “Available space is less and varies due to many factors. A standard configuration uses approximately 11GB to 14GB of space (including iOS and preinstalled apps) depending on the model and settings. Preinstalled apps use about 4GB, and you can delete these apps and restore them. Storage capacity subject to change based on software version and may vary by device.”

Say, you do get a 64GB phone, giving up one-fifth of the space for apps. Then you decide to download something like Clap Hanz Golf from Apple Arcade. That will be a more than 1GB download. Next you want to shoot in the company’s ProRAW format that was introduced with the iPhone 12 Pro models: It may average around 25MB per picture. This year, ProRes video format is coming on the iPhone 13 Pro models and space will be needed.

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In fact, one wishes that Samsung had introduced a 1TB variant of its new and very expensive Galaxy Z Fold3 5G, which now is available in 256GB and 512GB options. It’s an expensive device and you don’t want to run out of space in the next few years. Besides Samsung, ASUS ROG Phone 2 has a 1TB variant in the international market. You may argue that microSD cards are an option but many companies are doing away with expansion slots, besides SD cards can be unreliable.

Apple is not claiming to usher in the 1TB phone era but the iPhone 13 Pro could be the take-off point for the storage tier to become mainstream.


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