Apple: Unlimited storage for iPhones?

The iPhone we're talking
The iPhone we're talking

The days of moaning about not being able to fit the entire series of Sex and the City on your (girlfriend's) iPhone could be a thing of the past.

Instead of wondering whether Apple will ever release a 32GB version of the device, a new system, currently being patented by the Cupertinos, could provide almost infinite storage.

Rather than holding the files on your device, just small bits of data - metadata - would be synced to tell the phone which file does what.

Then using either Wi-Fi or 3G, the file is streamed from a PC or Mac, allowing the user to have instant access to an entire library.

"As a result, the user perceives that the virtual media items may be available on the [the media player]," Apple said in the patent. "In this manner, the virtual capacity of an electronic device may be increased."

The iPhone Tardis

The files could also be set to delete once finished with, allowing continued upkeep of the onboard memory.

"For instance, a personal computer can be turned on and connected to the Internet to enable a portable device to access the media items stored on the personal computer," Apple added.

Another option would be for the iPods or iPhones to connect to each other in a similar way to the Microsoft Zune, which allows limited-time file-sharing between devices to allow users to experience others' music.

"This type of communication can be referred to as peer-to-peer interaction. In this regard, one mobile device can communicate directly with another mobile device" or to a plurality of other mobile devices," Apple said.

"In the peer-to-peer environment, one mobile device can communicate with one or more other electronic devices (whether mobile or stationary) in the immediate vicinity. Data sharing can be performed when such communication is available."

Gareth Beavis
Formerly Global Editor in Chief

Gareth has been part of the consumer technology world in a career spanning three decades. He started life as a staff writer on the fledgling TechRadar, and has grown with the site (primarily as phones, tablets and wearables editor) until becoming Global Editor in Chief in 2018. Gareth has written over 4,000 articles for TechRadar, has contributed expert insight to a number of other publications, chaired panels on zeitgeist technologies, presented at the Gadget Show Live as well as representing the brand on TV and radio for multiple channels including Sky, BBC, ITV and Al-Jazeera. Passionate about fitness, he can bore anyone rigid about stress management, sleep tracking, heart rate variance as well as bemoaning something about the latest iPhone, Galaxy or OLED TV.