Update: Well, that didn’t take long. Apple this morning announced a 128GB version of its fourth-generation iPad with Retina display. The Wi-Fi model will sell for $ 799 while the Wi-Fi + 4G model costs a whopping $ 929 — a $ 100 increment in both cases over the 64GB variant. The new model will go on sale February 5.
The original story is below:
Apple is preparing to release an additional fourth generation iPad model and it’s likely to include 128GB of storage memory, according to a report by 9to5Mac. The site says it received word about the new model from an unnamed source at a high profile US retailer, and though it wasn’t able to confirm the new storage capacity option, references inside iOS 6.1 and iTunes 11 suggest that is likely the case.
As 9to5Mac notes, currently the iPad is available in 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB configurations sometimes referenced to as “Good”, “Better, and “Best”. According to the data they’ve received, the additional model is referenced as “Ultimate”, and will be available alongside existing models in WiFi-only and WiFi + Cellular versions and black or white colors. It won’t be a new design but rather an additional SKU for the current iPad.
No release timeframe was mentioned in the report, and despite its source claiming the 128GB model would join the current lineup, 9to5Mac still warned that it could be an SKU specific to government agencies, retail, or for other internal uses. ZDNet seconds that with a little more skepticism, claiming that a 128GB iPad might indeed be in the pipeline, but it will likely debut with an update to Apple’s tablet and mark the end of the 16GB model.
The fourth-gen iPad was just released in November so an update doesn’t seem imminent, after all customers were already upset when Apple pushed the iPad refresh cycle up from March.
Ever since the introduction of the original iPhone in 2007 Apple has been gradually improving the storage capacity options for its mobile devices. The initial 4GB or 8GB options were upgraded to 8GB or 16GB with the iPhone 3G in 2008, then 16GB or 32GB with the 3GS and iPhone 4, and finally the 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB tiers available since 2010 with the iPhone 4S and first-gen iPad — all while maintaining the same price points.
If mumblings about the 128GB iPad turn out to be true — as an additional SKU for the current model or as an iPad refresh — it’ll be interesting to see if the iPhone and iPad mini get a bump in storage options as well.