Apple's New iPhones Start At 16GB Of Storage. That's Ridiculous

The company is laughing its way to the bank.

09/10/2015 01:48 pm ET | Updated Sep 14, 2015

Apple wants you to think its cool new iPhones start at $199, but forget it: If you want a device that won't have you ripping your hair out in three months, you'll need to cough up the cash for more expensive models.

That's because the cheaper phones come with a meager 16GB of internal storage -- an offering that makes Apple billions of dollars despite being inadequate for many users.

Bloomberg via Getty Images

At its press event Wednesday, Apple touted the new iPhone's ability to shoot 4K video and glorious high-quality photographs. These are great features, but they'll require a lot of storage space.

Apple continues to offer 16GB as the entry-level choice for consumers -- a small amount of storage that pales in comparison to rival phone-maker Samsung's Galaxy S6, say, which starts at 32GB. Without knowing any better, the layperson might pick up Apple's baseline choice, snap a bunch of pictures and go nuts when, months later, their shiny new iPhone starts to run sluggishly and refuses to store more apps and images.

Last December, industry expert Neil Cybart spoke with The Huffington Post and suggested that in offering a 16GB iPhone, Apple is planting a seed that will grow into a money tree down the line: The customers who buy the 16GB iPhone are actually more likely to spend more for beefier storage when they buy their next iPhone.

Cybart said that the iPhone with 64GB, the middle-tier storage option, costs Apple only about $15 more to produce than the low-end 16GB unit. But the company charges people $100 more for the 64GB model -- a pretty nice profit for Apple. 

Reached for comment on Apple's new iPhone 6S devices Thursday, Cybart told HuffPost he's not surprised that the company continues to offer 16GB phones.

"I wasn't too surprised Apple kept a 16GB storage tier," Cybart said in an email. "While for many users 16GB may be inadequate, there are some that don't mind having limited storage at a lower price."

That said, he told HuffPost that this could be the last time Apple offers the 16GB iPhone.

"We are likely moving to a point where Apple will double storage levels across the board, putting 32GB as the new base level with more substantial storage amounts as you move higher in price. There will likely to be more pressure for Apple to make that change next year," Cybart said.

In fairness, savvy users do have options that alleviate the storage pressure on the 16GB iPhone. Apple's aptly named iCloud service, for example, allows individuals to free up space on their devices by uploading data to the cloud. One could also use something like Google Photos to free up space.

But not everyone knows to do that. Even if they do, it adds an extra step to the process of taking photographs and video.

Save yourself the trouble: Buy the bigger iPhone.

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