If you're one of those people who can never have enough memory, tablet-based computers may finally be catching up with your needs. Apple just unveiled versions of its wildly popular iPad with double the storage of its former maximum.
You can get the full story over at Computerworld. Basically, starting February 5, you'll be able to get a fourth-generation iPad with 128 GB of storage space. If you're okay with just Wi Fi, you can expect to pay $799; if you want one that can take advantage of cellular networks, you're looking at spending $929. That stacks up to paying roughly $100 more for twice the storage space of the former maxed-out iPad models.
That may or may not be a bargain. Computerworld ran some interesting numbers that show Apple may be making even more of a profit off the new iPad models than it is off the others. Calling on estimates from I H S iSuppli, the publisher noted that Apple plays $9.60 per 16 GB of NAND flash memory. That's the memory the company uses for iPad storage. But for every step up in storage, Apple increase the retail price by $100. So while the 128 GB iPad's storage costs Apple about $77, twice as much as the 64 GB version, “the 128 GB iPad will generate about $62 in additional profit per unit. Apple's profit will be $142 higher for the 128 GB iPad than the 32 GB device, and a whopping $233 more than for each 16 GB tablet,” Computerworld observed.
Is there another reason that Apple is putting this new iPad on the market – aside from the money, of course? Well, apparently there's some kind of demand for it. In a statement, it noted that “Companies regularly utilizing large amounts of data such as 3-D CAD files, X-rays, film edits, music tracks, project blueprints, training videos and service manuals all benefit from having a greater choice of storage options for the iPad.” Translation: we're hearing that businesses are using the iPad, too, and we'd just as soon encourage that as much as we can.
This doesn't mean, of course, that Apple is discouraging businesses or other users from buying and utilizing laptops. Let's not forget that the company has more than a few irons in that particular fire as well. It's more a matter of giving users the most elegant form factor for their purposes.
Taking that point into consideration may also explain why the iPad still doesn't function as a true laptop replacement. Consider this: if you need to multi-task with your apps, would you rather do it on an iPad or a (shudder) Surface? Believe it or not, the Surface offers true app multi-tasking, but the iPad doesn't – even now that it has plenty of space for it. Go figure.
Still, the iPad could have a genuine place in the office, perhaps as a supplement to other machines. It might make the lives of road warriors a little easier if they can get away with something lighter than a full-fledged laptop. If that's the case, they're going to need something on which they can run hefty office – or even Office – applications. Data, as always, can be saved in the cloud.
We'll see how all of this plays out, especially with Microsoft's Surface Pro version also coming out in February. I predict we might see a repeat of the recent holiday season, when Apple stores were packed and Microsoft stores and kiosks were, well, kind of lonely.
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