Does Anyone Actually Need a 128GB iPad?

By , dealnews Media Editor

On Tuesday, Apple announced that it would start selling a fourth-generation iPad with a 128GB storage capacity, doubling the size of the previously-largest model. The bigger devices will be available starting February 5 and will cost $799 for the WiFi model and $929 for the WiFi + 4G model. But do consumers really need this upgrade? And by extension, is it worth the extra money?

With the availability of iCloud (not to mention the Amazon Cloud Player app), from which you can download or stream any of your purchased content, do we need the devices themselves to have that much storage space at all? If you only have the WiFi model, it's easy enough to plan ahead and load the correct media on to your device before a long trip (or at least enough to get you to the next wireless access point), and with the cellular models you can swap at any time. (Of course, there will be scenarios when connections are hard to come by, and arriving at your secluded cabin only to realize that you can't access the entire first and second seasons of Downton Abbey is, admittedly, a real drag.)

It's actually been suggested that one of the reasons for this out-of-nowhere upgrade is not for user convenience, but rather because Microsoft is scheduled to release its Surface Pro tablet on February 9 — and the competing manufacturer just happened to gloat that the Pro would be available in a 128GB flavor. The theory goes that Apple is trying to steal the Pro's thunder, and, at $999, Microsoft is indeed going to find it hard to compete with an Apple product that's (stunner of all stunners) cheaper than a Windows device. Point: Apple!

What do you, dear reader, think? Do you have a need for 128GB of storage space on a portable device, or is it overkill? Is Apple filling a gap in their product line, or just spiting Microsoft? Let us know where you stand by sounding off in the comments below!

Photo credit digibuzz

Jeff Somogyi is the dealnews Media Editor. See more of his thoughts on Google+, Twitter, or on his blog.

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I have a 128 gig IPad and it's all most full. I have about 1 gig left. It's full of tv shows. And they're in HD.avi format. Also I use an after market player. It's called AV Payer HD.

It depends on what you want to use your tablet for. If you are just going to browse the Internet, watch YouTube videos, send messages, play games or listen to music, then you may not need 128 gigs. But as your library grows and the tablet starts to mimic the computer more, the need for more power and storage will grow.
Obviously Apple thinks they need it, but the real question is Apple losing it's mojo. One has to wonder if Jobs would have released such a product. Since when has Apple been worried about being technologically better then the competition? In the past it wasn't always the fastest or best from a hardware point view...and I'm talking raw hardware; Apple won because of software usability. If Apple is releasing this to steal Microsoft's thunder, then Job's legacy is slowly disappearing from Apple...then again that should have been obvious when the Mini got released...a product Job's said Apple would never release!
Do most people actually get near-perfect online streaming these days? From any desired site? Really? I still download a fair amount to my old-timey desktop Mac to avoid streaming issues. With a standard, mid-city, high speed cable connection, before it gets to wifi. Cellular can be better, but when moving outside metro areas? Isn't this question a few years early?
They need up the battery life from 3 years to 5 years or make it replaceable.
It looks like most of the comments so far have been from people who currently use, or grew up on desktop/laptops. One thing we have to understand is that tablets have already changed computing. For kids, this is the only computing device they have or use. They don't use and don't like laptops or desktops, those are their father's Oldsmobile, as the saying goes. For the next generation, desktops and laptops are dead, tablets and smartphones are the only computing devices they will ever use. Businesses are also converting over, already in many sales positions, tablets and smart phones are the go to devices.
In my opinion Apple didn't foresee people wanting 1430 apps (really nexusmtz? WOW!), 64 GB of music, parents wanting to load and retain their entire family's DVD library on a tablet (kids will watch the same movie 15 times). So perhaps Apple came out with 128 for them?
I'm working on NDA projects for the tablets that requires 1 GB apps. The future is coming.
There are clearly some Apple haters here judging by the comments I've read… My take is that YES some people actually do need/want a larger capacity iPad and if Apple is willing to make it available, why complain? If you have no need for it don't buy it, if ya do, well you know…
All of the complaints about the lack of an SD slot baffle me… For one we all know that destroys the simplicity of Apple design. Two, it eats up valuable space that could be used for another feature. Three Kingston make a great wi-fi storage unit called the Wi-Drive, comes in various sizes and prices and can be used with all IOS devices and even Android!
So, suck it up haters! ;)
I think that people now a days are using more media content available in the Cloud rather than locally stored, because for the average low tech consumer the hassle of converting videos, and maintaining a local library of pictures and music can be a complicated task. It is far more convenient to access the content on the cloud for the average user. Although there are a lot of people who are now using the tablets as a form of portable entertainment on long flights, and trips I include myself as one, yes I am using more storage, I own a android tablet with SD Card slot so I enjoy cropping and editing pictures I took on my DSLR, but as far as people specifically needing 128GB I doubt it, is more of a tech guru need than a average consumer.
I like loading up movies and tv episodes for when we take family trips. Plus I can store tons of music for myself.
Sometimes I like to carry my music library with me and 64GB isn't enough. I'm hoping the next update of the iPod touch will go 128
Apple will never have an expandable slot like most other tablets cause they have the Apple buyers locked in.....The heavy users will buy it when the rest of us just pop in a 128Gb SD card....whole lot cheaper...
This is just a way to re-package another Apple product....
Larger apps can quickly consume smaller capacities. Looking at my app list of 1430 apps, sorted by size, here's how many of my largest apps which would fit for each capacity:

16GB - 27 apps
32GB - 84 apps
64GB - 551 apps
128GB - 1430 apps (with 52GB left for media or more apps)

You can see that even at 64GB, I have to walk away with as little as 40% of my app library, and that's with no photos, videos, music or documents. Throw in a few movies to watch over the HDMI connector, and a decent karaoke and music library to keep everyone entertained, and I'm down in the 32GB range, or about 6% off my apps.

When you look at it that way, 128GB looks pretty reasonable. Had it been available for the holidays, I'd have purchased it for sure, and I'd have found a way to fill it.
I believe it would be very very nice to have Apple add a SD card slot for content that can be stored without being tied to the OS or an app. A SD card would be nice to store things like pictures, music and/or movies. I agree it's anti-consumer not to add it. As for the utility of having an ipad with 128 GB of storage without a SD card slot, I can't say. I don't own an iPad and am not sure how much storage I'd use.
@brianlmoon-- It's not rocket science to have a separate storage device such as an SD card and have the OS know where to look. If you think that putting in an SD card is complicated, I don't know what to think. There is no legitimate reason Apple can't offer an SD card besides pure greed. I love my iPad and my iPhone, but I don't like to be forced to buy a whole new product just to increase storage capacity. It's anti-consumer!
I would love the 128 G iPad. I currently have the 64G original Ipad and I have to admit that I am an apps addict. I also put lots of pictures on my ipad and some videos. I would love the larger storage capacity. I use my Ipad for travel and it is the best thing ever.
Brian Moon (DealNews)
@Macadamiamac It's not as simple as an SD card. The content on an iOS device is very much tied to the applications. The applications are very much tied to the OS. If you moved an application to the SD card, how does the OS know there is an update for it? If it does know, how does it update it if the SD card is not in? For data, How do you tell the Movies app where movies are? Pick a storage device? A person has to teach their Grandmother how to choose an SD card? Heck they got her the iPad because she could not use her computer. Let's leave the SD card slots for the funky Asus and Samsung thingies. Keep my iOS devices nice and contained please.
Yes, we need 128 GB devices!!! I am a big user of data and I went back to IPhone/IPad from Android since I find it easier to only have to manage one portable storage device. I am not thrilled by Apple pricing, but the products have been great and glad that I now have Iphone 5. Just wish Mophie would hurry up with their Juice Pack cases....
How about an SD card slot instead? But that would hurt Apple's bottom line, n'est pas?
Apps get bigger as more features are added over time and more and more apps continue to come out so I suspect that Apple will phase out the 16GB models shortly. Despite cloud-based services, cloud storage is not a substitute for storage space on the device itself. Apple should really get with the program and put an SDXC card reader into their ipads. But then Apple uses could do memory upgrades themselves instead of having to buy a new device every year, which is contrary to Apple's policy of releasing an incrementally inproved device every 6 months to a year to get users to upgrade yet again.
Does anyone really need an iPad? But if you're a wall street banker, and you just have to spend $1000 on a present, then this is a nice gift.
I could see photographers loving a 128 GB iPad. Especially if they've got an Eye-Fi that's automatically dumping the photos to the iPad.

I myself am an app junkie. I have only a 16 GB model, and I have to strain to keep 1 GB free. I'd love 128 GB...I might have room for some photos myself...and maybe a movie.
I thought hard about this. Then I stopped and simply remembered a time when I thought 128KB of memory would last me through the millenium and Bill Gates' (aledged) comment that no one would ever need more than 640K. I know I'm talking RAM but the point remains. Besides, there's more than music to consider.

If you would have told me 15 years ago that a copy of Adobe's Creative Suite would take up 5 DVDs I would have struggled to accept it. A better analogy perhaps: we've always had just enough room in our refrigerator. It was always packed tight but we managed to fit everything. One day we upgraded and moved the old frig to the garage thinking we would have all sorts of food storage now. Instead we now have 2 totaly packed refrigerators.

There are a lot of "app happy" consumers. And while we're a ways off from the days of 50GB+ iPad apps, we're also still a ways off when most of our apps are run from the cloud. Until then, consumers generaly will use most of what we are given.
I really think that for extra space on any cloud device you have to pay per GB per year, and over all it will cost you more than when you buy extra space on your iPad and pay only once for it. Second point you brought that you can always upload content you need before long trip doesn't always work because it takes time to upload large files as well.