A 16GB iPhone in 2015 is downright insulting

iPhone 6S
iPhone 6S

Opinion piece by techradar Senior Editor Joe Osborne

I not-so-proudly own a 16GB iPhone 5. Not because it's an Apple product or that it's "way old" at this point – I've owned iPhones since the 3G – but because of that number: 16GB.

I almost immediately hit that low storage ceiling once I got the phone back in mid-2013. And I can't even begin to count how often since I've had to play triage with my apps, games and music. ("If I want to buy this game, I'll have to delete a Spotify playlist, now which one…")

Understandably, I was bummed when last year Apple brought the mid-tier iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus to 64GB of local storage in introducing the 128GB model, only to do nothing for the entry-level device. "Surely Apple will give it the bump on the S iteration," I thought.

Well, here we are, gawking at the iPhone 6S and – what's that? – the base model still comes with just 16GB, not even 32GB? OK, now this is just plain offensive.

This isn't a new problem. Folks have been complaining about the paltry storage on the entry-level iPhones for years now. But now yet another year has passed with Apple refusing to give an inch to the huge lot of consumers who simply can't – or won't on principle – swing the extra scratch for more space. This is bound to come to a head at some point, no?

What does Apple have to say about it?

Not if you ask the source. Famed Apple writer John Gruber pressed Apple on the matter earlier this year in a podcast with SVP of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller. His response? In so many words, "just get on iCloud." (Old friend of mine and Business Insider's Ben Gilbert wrote an excellent teardown of Schiller's statement earlier this year.)

Frankly, Apple's not budging because it simply doesn't want to.

That's a piss-poor answer. Yes, certain tiers of iCloud may be more affordable this year than the last, but that doesn't solve the problem of asking customers to pay for a flaw in their phone of choice.

Not to mention that this form of storage relies on an internet connection. If you're on the go over LTE, you're essentially getting hit twice – once in that monthly iCloud fee and another in running up your allotted monthly data – just to show someone a photo stored on a remote server.

I think I can safely speak for everyone when I say this: no one actually wants to pay extra to store things somewhere other than inside the device they just dropped $200 (or $650) on to begin with.

Plus, that doesn't account for locally-stored music or podcasts for those grueling commutes. (I can't listen to the Spotify Indie Mix on the subway one more time – I just can't.)

What's the hold up then?

If Apple's hordes of fans aren't enough to sway the Cupertino firm, surely its competition might? Well, the Samsung Galaxy S6, LG G4, Sony Xperia Z5 and HTC One M9 all start with 32GB of storage for a comparable price – three of which were released months before the iPhones presumably hit the production line.

Sure, swapping that 16GB flash drive with a 32GB one would increase costs – from the "whopping" $9 the drives cost last year – but it's clearly nothing that's technologically impossible. Though, I must note that Apple has reduced the amount of space that iOS 9 will take up, but that's a band-aid, not a solution.

Regardless, if the flagship Android phone makers could swing the extra cost without it impacting you and I, why can't Apple?

Frankly, from the outside looking in, because Apple simply doesn't want to. As countless others have pointed out, this can't be much more than an aggressive (to put it lightly) pricing strategy. If THAT much more storage is only another 100 bucks, I may as well pay it now and not hate my phone a week after I've bought it.

It's that kind of thinking that's being preyed on here, and that needs to stop. Apple, your fans have given you more than enough over the years. (Your market value that outclasses some countries' GDP is testament to that.) Your fans deserve better than this.

Now, will I buy an iPhone 6S? Possibly. Probably. Let's see what those new Lumias look like in a month or two.

Joe Osborne

Joe Osborne is the Senior Technology Editor at Insider Inc. His role is to leads the technology coverage team for the Business Insider Shopping team, facilitating expert reviews, comprehensive buying guides, snap deals news and more. Previously, Joe was TechRadar's US computing editor, leading reviews of everything from gaming PCs to internal components and accessories. In his spare time, Joe is a renowned Dungeons and Dragons dungeon master – and arguably the nicest man in tech.