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Why the entry-level iPhone 6 has just 16GB of storage

Lucas Mearian | Sept. 19, 2014
Apple could be trying to spur iCloud use by limiting capacity on its most popular iPhone model

"Using just 16GB of onboard capacity also allows Apple to add in other features while keeping the entry-level price of the iPhone 6 low," Zhang wrote in an email reply to Computerworld. "They need to control how much storage is in the whole bill of material to achieve certain gross margins and operating costs.

"That is their sweet spot price," Zhang added.

Like the iPhone 6, when Samsung's Galaxy S5 smartphone was launched in June, it also stuck with 16GB of memory on the base model. Of course, the S5 (and the S4 before it) has a microSD slot for up to 64GB of additional storage.

By comparison, the entry-level HTC One (M8) model Windows smartphone has a meager 8GB of onboard capacity. But that phone retails for either $99 or $150 depending on the wireless provider, and it also offers 65GB of Google Drive storage free of charge.

Llamas said the 16GB is "generally very usable for a majority of smartphone buyers." The 16GB models of the iPhone 5 were the by far the biggest sellers, and Llamas, who  expects the same to be true with the iPhone 6 and its bigger-screened brother, the iPhone 6 Plus. Both models go on sale tomorrow.

By sticking with a 16GB base model, Apple was able to offer additional features, such as NFC communications and fingerprint detection, "not exactly cheap," Llamas said.

Llamas said given the choice between the larger screen of an iPhone 6 Plus or a 64GB iPhone 6, most will choose the larger screen.

"If a user wanted to bump up to a 64GB iPhone 6, they could spend $749 [unsubsidized by wireless provider], or they can get an iPhone 6 Plus with 16GB memory and 5.5-in screen," he said. "The prices are the same. But take a look at tradeoffs.

"I'd bet the iPhone 6 Plus with 16GB will also be the most popular," Llamas said.


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