When the iPhone 6S goes on sale, the cheapest model you can buy will be 16 gigabytes. Does it mean you should buy it? Hell no! Apple shouldn’t even sell it.
A 16 GB iPhone in 2015 is the hand job of the iPhone world. It still works, it’s relatively easy to come by, but is it truly satisfying for an ADULT? No. No, I say.
At one point, 16 GB was a reasonable amount of phone storage. It was the mid-tier option compared to 8 GB models. Most top-shelf Android phones (your Galaxy S6, your HTC One M9) have done away with the folly of 16 GB. Other phones let you expand your device’s memory with a microSD card, boosting storage whenever you want.
But when you buy an iPhone you’re stuck with the internal memory. And the requirements to use iPhones like a normal person keep going up.
An operating system upgrade demands a substantial chunk of available space. For example, iOS 8 needed at least 4 GB for backup. And the maximum allowable iOS app size is now 4 GB, which means you can whittle your storage down to nothing with a few downloads. Fuck your vacation photos! High-resolution photos and videos take up more room.
Now, iOS 9 doesn’t need as much memory as previous versions. And you can store stuff on the iCloud. Even so, 16 GB is not a reasonable entry-level storage capacity. You shouldn’t be compelled to outsource storage to the cloud.
It’s obnoxious that Apple is trumpeting its new 4K video capabilities with incredibly high pixel counts on the iPhone 6S and its new Harry Potter-ish “Live Photos” and not bothering to mention that you’ll need its pricier storage offerings to get in the habit of storing all that fancy media on your phone.
Why would Apple offer a phone with a storage system that simply isn’t compatible with using the device like a normal person with mature needs? The same reason Apple does anything: It can bilk the sweet, naive people trying to save money up front on the latest devices.
I know it’s tempting to go for the cheapest option for the phone you want. That’s how I wound up stuck with an 8 GB iPhone 4 on an abominable three-year Canadian contract until recently. Stuck deleting Snapchat every time I wanted to take a few photos. It was no way to live.
Now I’m back in America and I want to spread the storage gospel: Do not make the same mistake with your next iPhone.
Apple profits like mad off this bogus tiered pricing system. The price difference in making a 16 GB phone and a 32 GB phone is tiny—roughly 50 cents a gigabyte, according to market research analyst Michael Yang. The iPhone is still a status symbol. Apple is betting on people purchasing the cheapest model of the newest phones, even if the cheapest model simply doesn’t make sense. And it’s also betting on people feeling infuriated enough by the shitty user experience of a 16 GB flagship model that they pay extra to upgrade to a more expensive version.
It’s gross to sit through an Apple presentation hearing all these purple-shirted dudes talking about how great using the company’s products are when this kind of choice makes it glaringly obvious that this is about convincing people to buy into a brand, not actually providing the best consumer electronics experience.
Apple won’t kill its 16 GB offerings until they stop making money. Let’s hasten that death. Don’t buy them. If you have to wait a little longer to upgrade to a 32 GB model, wait. Or go Android. This is a racket.
And if you already have a 16 GB iPhone, I’m not saying you should throw it in the garbage. But I am saying it belongs there.
Image by Sam Woolley