Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Bigger, not necessarily better: Apple announces 128GB iPad 4

It's confirmed. As we reported as a rumor -- but one with about 99.99 percent reliability -- yesterday, on Tuesday Apple announced a 128GB version of the iPad 4.

The highest tier of storage on any iPhone or iPad to this date has been 64GB, whether an iPad or iPhone. As we believed, the 128GB iPad will be priced with the same sort of differential pricing as lower iPad tiers.

What does that mean? Each tier of iPhone or iPad storage rises $100 in price. A 16GB wi-fi only iPad, therefore, runs $499, while the 32GB model is $599 and the 64GB model is $699. The 128GB model will run $799. A wi-fi + cellular version will be $929, following the normal $130 premium for the cellular edition.

As we noted early, Apple's internal moniker for the device is "Ultimate." Apple has previously called its 16GB through 64GB storage tiers “GOOD,” “BETTER,” and “BEST,” respectively, and with the new SKUs, we can see this new model is being called “ULTIMATE” model.

ME392LL/A (P101 ULTIMATE A-USA), ME323LL/A (P101 ULTIMATE B-USA): black/white wi-fi only
ME406LL/A (P103 ULTIMATE A-USA), ME407LL/A (P101 ULTIMATE B-USA): black/white wi-fi + cellular

The P101 and P103 names are Apple’s internal terminology for the wi-fi and wi-fi + cellular iPad 4s, respectively.

Developers earlier found references to 128GB iDevices in the still beta iOS 6.1, so we assumed that any release of hardware would wait until after the final version of iOS was released. Apple released iOS 6.1 yesterday.

Of course, references to a 128GB iDevice could mean that in the future a 128GB iPad mini and a 128GB iPhone 5 might be available, too. So far, though, Apple has remained mum on the idea.

Aside from the increased storage, there is no additional update to the device's hardware, meaning no improvements to display, processor, or anything else. Of course, as the iPad 4 was only announced a few months ago, no other upgrades were expected.

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