There is a big disconnect in the way Apple talks about its iDevices and the amount of storage they offer, both local and cloud based. They call their devices "premium" and they charge extra for that premium. They call their iOS line "post-PC", the next step in everyday computing that will replace traditional computers for many people. They extol the virtues and how easy to use iOS products are and in many aspects these statements are true, but selling iPhones and iPads with 8GB's or 16GB's of storage in this day and age hurts the everyday customer. I am well aware that many people use very little storage but there are hidden problems that seriously detract from the user experience, even those who use under a gigabyte of storage. It's not the technologically literate who suffer, we understand what we are buying if we get 16GB's of storage, it's the everyday user. To make matters worse iCloud is not very user friendly to the un-technological people. Flaws with how it backs up iOS devices and especially pictures can mean users can lose valuable data because they don't understand how the iCloud back-ups work. Don't assume that I am just a cheap bastard who wants more storage for less money, this post is about the un-technological people and how Apple is hurting its brand for very little profit.
Many people in North America go for the cheapest option when buying an iPhone. They know an iPhone is good but have no idea why and no idea how much storage they need, they just know they don't like spending lots of money. They also like the status symbol so they get the latest iPhone, the premium model. Changing the base storage, on the premium model, to 32GB would increase the customer experience and the long term benefit to Apple. Why isn't 16GB enough? I have met many people who have had this experience: With 16GB's of local storage they soon find their phones filled with pictures, videos, and apps. They don't know about uploading pictures to cloud storage, they have never plugged their phone into a computer so they don't know that they can offload them that way, and they don't know how to delete pictures and videos from their phone. Which leaves them frustrated and hating their phone. A bad user experience that has them envying Android phones with an SD card slot. It would cost Apple around 10$, to upgrade from 16GB to 32GB, so it would be very cheap to start the premium line at 32GB and eliminate these frustrations for millions of people. It's so cheap for Apple to upgrade the local storage the only reason I can think of for why they haven't is that they make a boatload of money from people upgrading to the higher storage models. Apple makes around 90$ each time you upgrade to the next storage level and multiplied by millions that is a lot of money. The cheaper models, like the 5c, would have a baseline storage of 16GB for the people who use barely any storage space. 16GB is the absolute minimum storage an iOS device should have in this day and age. Apple just launched a version of the 5c with 8GB of storage, surely that is enough for the people who only use the basic functions of their iPhone?
I will equivocally say that an iOS device with 8GB is not enough storage for anyone. (Only 3.7GB of which is available to the user) I include the people who use barely any space on their iPhones. Why? I firmly believe that an iPhone, or iPad, should be able to act as a post-PC device just as Apple describes them to be. Meaning it never needs to be hooked up to a computer unless the user wants to. What does this have to do with storage space on an iPhone? An 8GB iPhone with a couple apps, pictures, or albums doesn't have enough space for major OS updates. My dads 8GB iPhone 4, which he barely stores anything on, was running iOS6 and when the patch for the 'goto fail' security bug (7.06 or 6.06 for older models) came he couldn't update his phone over the air because he didn't have enough space, he had to plug it into his computer. Just to be clear he was forced to update to iOS 7, he couldn't just update to version 6.06. The 'goto fail' bug was a huge security risk and updating was absolutely necessary for everyone. Without a computer he wouldn't have been able to upgrade his phone. This problem gets worse as everyday computing moves toward mobile, in the near future many people aren't going to own a traditional computer. So if someone owns an 8GB iPhone but not a computer their data's security could be at risk if they can't update their phones. Apple shouldn't put the 7$ they save by giving users 8GB instead of 16GB ahead of the users data security.
The second reason is that if the people who buy an 8GB model are just trying to save money, it's bought for a child, or it's the only one they can afford, and they use up all the storage on their device they will be frustrated by constantly having to delete things. This isn't good for Apple, they don't want users to be frustrated with their device, the experience is what sells iPhones. Apple wants its customers to be amazed with how well they are treated when they buy an iPhone. That's why if yours is faulty, chances are, walking into an Apple Store results in you walking out with a brand new iPhone. It would only cost Apple a couple bucks to upgrade the storage to 16GB, you would think 7$ is worth the improved user experience.
Apple gives you 5GB of free iCloud storage which is actually enough storage for most people because it doesn't count apps, purchased content or photos. It makes your data available on all of your Apple devices but it has one flaw, back-ups. If you store a lot of stuff on your iOS device and don't own a PC, iCloud is the only option for backing up your device. You can pay to upgrade your storage but the cost is steep compared to other cloud storage services and you literally cannot buy enough storage to back-up the larger storage models. In Canada and the US it is 20$ for 10GB, 40$ for 20Gb and 100$ for 50GB. (plus the 5 you get for free) Apple should be offering free iCloud back-ups for all of it's devices. Why? Back-ups are an essential part of our digital lives but many people don't understand that. A lot of people can back-up their phones with the free 5GB because Apple doesn't count photos, purchased content, or applications toward your storage limit. However there are a couple problems with this. Photo Stream, the service that stores and sends copies of pictures to your other Apple devices, only stores photos for 30 days. It also doesn't download full quality versions to your iOS devices only to a Mac, or PC with some software. So if you don't have a PC and your phone dies you may lose your pictures or have reduced quality versions. Not ideal. The second problem is that iCloud doesn't back up your purchased content or applications, it re-downloads them from the iTunes or App Store. If content is no longer available you have lost it forever. Un-technological people who choose to use iCloud back-up may be mislead with what is actually being backed up. iCloud back-ups are very useful but in the post-PC age they don't go far enough. Losing purchased content or applications wouldn't be good but losing photos you thought were backed up in the cloud could be devastating. If the general consensus was that everyone is going to own a traditional computer and they could back up their iOS devices there, the problems with iCloud back-ups wouldn't be a huge issue but in Apples own words we will soon be in the post-PC age. By selling your devices at a premium users should get premium service which, in my opinion, includes a free iCloud back-up.