Apple unveiled its latest iPhones this week, and they are – as ever – impressive. Better screens. Better cameras. Face recognition. Augmented reality. The list goes on and on. But there’s one feature that, while improved, still isn’t nearly good enough. Especially on the premium-priced iPhone X, the storage options still border on absurd.
To be fair, with 64 GB and 256 GB options, the iPhone X are better off than any previous iPhone models. The iPhone 7 starts at 32 GB, and it hasn’t been that long since Apple was offering phones with just 16 GB of storage. So even 64 GB is an improvement.
It isn’t enough, though. Surely a US$1,000 phone released near the end of 2017 ought to have more storage than an iPod from ten years ago. But it doesn’t. The iPod Classic, first released in 2007, started at 80 GB.
Let me just restate that, because it bears repeating: Apple thinks you need less storage on a phone that shoots 4K video, takes 12 MP photos, runs augmented reality apps, and plays HD movies than you needed a decade ago on an MP3 player that used a clickwheel.
Surely a US$1,000 phone from 2017 ought to have more storage than an iPod from ten years ago.
Even if you set aside the historical comparison, Apple’s decision is difficult to defend. The iPhone X shoots 4K video at 60 frames per second. After you factor in iOS, all of your apps, your face data, maybe a few photos and videos you want to keep stored offline for easy access, how much space do you think is going to be left over for those massive 4K 60p video files? The iPhone X shoots borderline pro-quality video, but its storage situation is worse than a cheap digital point-and-shoot.
That’s by design, of course. This isn’t an oversight on Apple’s part, it’s just an obnoxious upsell tactic. Want to actually use your iPhone X for video? You’ll need to pony up an extra US$150 for more storage, or an extra US$10/month for a bunch of iCloud storage. Or both.
That’s annoying but understandable on the cheaper iPhone 8. On the iPhone X, though, it’s unforgivable. This is meant to be a premium phone. It’s a phone that’s more expensive than virtually all of its competitors. It’s a phone whose ability to produce huge, ultra-high-def files is a major selling point. At US$1,000, there’s simply no excuse for the iPhone X having such a tiny SSD.
I suppose it’s hard to blame Apple for trying to make money when people are willing to pay it. But for a company that claims to worship at the altar of user service, it’s tough to defend the idea that putting only 64 GB into a premium-priced phone is what’s best for users.
Even if Apple refuses to include the microSD slot many of its competitors do, it could certainly charge less for storage upgrades. Nowhere but in an Apple store will you be charged well over a dollar per gigabyte for a solid-stage drive.
So, buy an iPhone X if you’d like. I have no intention of stopping anyone who wants to buy the X (nor any delusion that I could). But please do so knowing that even a thousand bucks apparently isn’t enough to buy more than 64 GB of storage in Apple’s world.
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