Apple iPhone 6S Reportedly Still Gimped With 16GB Entry-Level Model

If you were hoping that Apple would wise up and increase the storage capacity of its next generation, entry-level iPhone, you ‘ll probably have to wait until next year (or beyond). Images of the iPhone 6S logic board have surfaced ahead of its launch later this fall, and they show a device that comes equipped with 16GB of Toshiba flash storage, which is built on a 19nm process.

Given the fact that Apple doesn’t provide a microSD slot for expanding storage, 16GB can get cramped really fast with just a handful of games, apps, and a modest music library. Apple has run into issues in the past with iOS updates requiring an obscene amount of free space to install. The company is even going to extreme measures to ensure that its entry-level devices can upgrade to newer versions of iOS by deleting apps before installation to reclaim disk space, then reinstalling them after the iOS update has completed.

Apple iPhone 6

Apple’s refusal to kill the 16GB configuration should really come as no surprise, as Apple SVP Phil Schiller defended the decision during this year’s WWDC in an interview with well-respected Apple blogger John Gruber:

John Gruber: I think that with the current-generation iOS devices going 16/64/128—I think that 16, it's really hard to make an argument that that's good. It's more like "okay."

Phil Schiller: So one of the hopes, and maybe we'll see how we realize it all, but the belief is more and more: As we use iCloud services for documents—or Azure, if your product uses Azure—or for our photos, and for our videos, the more we're able to use these things—and y'know, music is in the cloud—that perhaps for the most price-conscious customer, the person starting out at the beginning of the line, are able to live in an environment where they don't need gobs of local storage because these services are taking off more and more of the load, and making their life easier…

And if we can give them a great solution with storage there, we can put that cost into other things, to make sure they have a great camera, or they have a great screen. And so it's all choices for the customer.

Apple does offer customers a choice with higher priced 64GB and 128GB offerings, but the wide chasm between the entry-level 16GB model and 64GB model is hard to ignore. Bumping the entry-level offering to 32GB would definitely give customers a better experience (which is what Apple claims to strive towards in all its products), but Schiller counters that “We work very carefully to canvas and survey exactly how much storage people use, at different price points, and how much they need.”

Further examination of the logic board shows that the iPhone 6S uses a newer NFC chip (the chip used in the iPhone 6 was released in 2012) and a new Qualcomm LTE chip which features data transfers speeds that have doubled to 300Mbps. But of course, carrier support for those outrageous speeds in the United States may be a little hard to find… for now.