The launch of the iPad 2 last week provided a few insights on what we might see from Apple with the launch of the iPhone 5 in the summer. One of the most telling observations was that Apple did not include any storage increases in the iPad 2, maintaining exactly the same range of options ranging from 16-64GB. This perhaps offers some hints regarding the potential specs of the iPhone 5.
With the iPad 2 maxing out at 64GB and the top storage option of the iPhone 4 at 32GB, there is no reason to expect that Apple would increase the storage in the new iPhone. The company is apparently in the process of upgrading MobileMe to allow for a large amount of data to be stored in the cloud. The fact that some of this storage may come free of charge means that increasing the onboard storage of iOS devices comes to be less of a priority.
However, the major downside to this shift in where data is stored relates to the cost and speed of data provided by cellphone carriers. Recent rumors suggest that Verizon will be discontinuing its unlimited data plan in the summer and with AT&T already placing data limits on its users, users will be struggling with pulling data from the cloud because of arbitrary limits placed on the amount that they can download.
If no storage increases are seen with the iPhone 5, especially as a result of a shift towards storing data in a revamped, and free, MobileMe service, we are unfortunately going to reach a point where users are really going to struggle with download limits. As data usage increases, the limits on our data tariffs seem to decrease. How long before an impasse is reached?