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Apple confirms 128 GB iPad, while Microsoft admits Surface Pro's storage issues

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January 30, 2013

Apple added a 128 GB model to the 4th-generation iPad

Apple added a 128 GB model to the 4th-generation iPad

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When the first iPad launched, it was only a consumption device. Storage capacity of 16 GB or 32 GB is plenty for reading apps, a few movies, and a collection of games. As the iPad evolves, though, so does its capacity for productivity. Perhaps that explains Apple’s decision to release a 128 GB model several months into the 4th-gen. iPad’s lifespan.

Surface killer?

It wasn’t likely a coincidence that Apple announced the 128 GB iPad just a week before Microsoft launches the Surface with Windows 8 Pro. Microsoft is peddling the new Surface as the first real productivity-focused tablet, while framing the iPad as more of a toy. A 128 GB iPad is ammunition in Apple’s defense.

Still don’t believe us? Check out the verbiage in Apple’s press release:

Companies regularly utilizing large amounts of data such as 3D CAD files, X-rays, film edits, music tracks, project blueprints, training videos and service manuals all benefit from having a greater choice of storage options for iPad. The over 10 million iWork® users, and customers who rely on other incredible apps like Global Apptitude for analyzing team film and creating digital playbooks, Auria for an incredible 48 track recording system, or AutoCAD for drafting architectural and engineering drawings, also benefit greatly from having the choice of an iPad with more storage capacity.

The 128 GB iPad is Apple's memo to enterprise customers. It basically says that you don’t need a different tablet for productivity. The same tablet you use for play is also the best for work.

Smaller Surface area

The 128 GB Surface Pro has a mere 83 GB of free space

The 128 GB iPad announcement couldn't have fallen on a worse day for Microsoft. Just as Apple announced its higher-capacity tablet, Microsoft admitted that its tablet’s storage might not be what you expect.

In a statement to Engadget, Microsoft said that the 128 GB Surface Pro only ships with 83 GB of free space. Even worse, the 64 GB Surface ships with a measly 23 GB of usable storage.

By comparison, the 64 GB iPad offers 57.2 GB out of the box. The 32 GB iPad actually ships with more free space than the "64 GB" Surface: 29 GB compared to Surface's 23 GB.

In Microsoft’s defense, Windows 8 Pro is a full desktop operating system, complete with a restore partition (which can be deleted to free up space). It also allows for SD cards and USB peripherals to expand your storage.

Still, the astronomical difference in Surface’s advertised storage and actual storage is an embarrassing detail about a product that Microsoft needs to be a hit.

Release details

The 128 GB iPad 4 goes on sale on Tuesday, February 5. The Wi-Fi only model retails for US$799, while the Wi-Fi + LTE model will ring up at $929. Surface Pro releases in 64 GB ($900) and 128 GB ($1000) models on February 9.

Sources: Apple, Engadget

About the Author
Will Shanklin Will Shanklin covers consumer technology for Gizmag. He's previously written for Android Central, Geek, GottaBeMobile, Android Police, and The Huffington Post.
He lives in New Mexico, U.S., with his lovely wife, Jessica.
  All articles by Will Shanklin
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11 Comments

I really hope this pushes Google to add more space to the Nexus tablets also, with the other two sporting 128 GB they'd be silly not to. Then again, Apple has had oodles of more storage space in their iPhones than the Nexus and that didn't prod Google any.

exodous
30th January, 2013 @ 07:37 pm PST

Interesting that the author points out that this is Apple's response to 'enterprise customers' that the Ipad w/128GB is 'best for work' but not a single word about the price of $799 or $949. There are never ending articles about how the Surface is overpriced yet when Apple releases a similar product in the same price range, well, this is perfect for work.

Me, I can't wait for the Surface Pro to arrive. I will be first in line to buy regardless of the amount of memory. I know the limitations but I also know that I can add a 64GB memory card or attach an external disk drive for more storage. Can't do that with the overpriced Ipad.

Alfonso Rodriguez
30th January, 2013 @ 08:14 pm PST

Stick a 64GB SD card (~£30) in your Surface Pro and you've got 147GB of usable space. Problem solved. Or get with the program and store in the cloud instead. Yes, WiFi isn't (quite) everywhere but use internet tethering on your smart phone and it practically is. Who wants another SIM in their tablet anyway?

JuMo
31st January, 2013 @ 01:28 am PST

I agree - memory cards are cheap enough and getting bigger and cheaper by the week. Until Apple produces a full Mac OS tablet along side the iPad to compete with the Surface Pro, there isn't a better option from a productivity standpoint. With the implied promise of seamless integration and transition from Windows 8 Phone to tablet to desktop, I hope MS can keep the bugs and marketing debacles to a minimum. They need this, but more than that, consumers need this...

Vince Pack
31st January, 2013 @ 07:49 am PST

Isn't anybody getting tired of being fleeced. The I-Pad could have the capacity to expand storage as needed if only an SD card slot or similar would be added to the design. This is is not invention or technological genius, this is pure and simple a rip off

ukrauskopf
31st January, 2013 @ 08:46 am PST

Do you think the Surface Pro storage capacity is a matter?? Imagine if you have an external hdd with 1To, and you can stock all you want in with the usb port and use it with surface on move and with desktop at home or at office. It's too pro apple saying iPad with 128Go is a surface killer, I bought iPad2 and iPad2 and then sold them, and now waiting for the surface pro, if you want compare ipad and surface compare with surface rt not pro.

sthan
31st January, 2013 @ 09:09 am PST

I tried the Surface keyboard out with Word on a store display. It was no better than typing on a glass surface. We have a Zagg keyboard for our iPad and it is much better (and cheaper) than the Surface keyboard. If you are trying to target the business market, why would you make the keyboard so poor?

Shishkabugs
31st January, 2013 @ 09:22 am PST

Considering that an ipad needs to be synced with a pc to be of any use at all I can't understand why anyone would possibly need 128gb of memory in one, or how they can justify charging £240 extra for 112gb of extra memory when an 128gb ssd drive can be had for ~£60 these days.

Christopher Devine
31st January, 2013 @ 04:33 pm PST

I get how people are all "overpriced iPad" and "getting fleeced again". With the obvious solution "you can always add 64Gb SD" or " have external 1Tb drive". Not the first time Apple has milked people.

MS Surface (even with a ghost onboard for backup) is gobbling 35Gb. A blank Win7 install is like 5Gb. What else are they running in there? That size is small business database territory.

All I can think about external storage expansion is the inconvenience of having external storage hanging off your device. For the SD storage option, what guaranteed reliability do you get? There are no heat spreaders for the SD card other than through the pins. Even so, with all the heat inside the tablet cavity, if you are outside on a hot day, how can you guarantee data integrity? And how would the SD compare in speed to internal SSD.

The only saving grace is maybe using a Sandisk Extreme Pro 64GB 95MB/S (SDSDXPA-064G-X46), that can take up to 85 Celsius and give you the r/w throughput. But in my part of the world this card is $170. You’re basically up to iPad prices, just to work around Microsoft’s space issue. Madness

Nairda
31st January, 2013 @ 08:48 pm PST

Readers and Writers alike need to quit trying to compare the Surface Pro to the Ipad or any other IOS or Android device, you're comparing apples to oranges (pun intended).

The Surface Pro is a Laptop in Tablet form and runs a full OS suite with hardware comparable to a mini desktop system.

Yes its battery won't last as long as an IPad or Surface RT system because it's running a Core I5 processor, not an atom.

Yes the 128 GB version has less available space, it's using a full OS, not a Phone OS.

So isn't it time to start comparing the Surface Pro to other Windows 8 Pro devices and not to your mobile phone?

JamesRS
3rd February, 2013 @ 08:30 am PST

$800-$1000 fir a tablet..wtf...i'll just stick with my $600 laptop that outperforms both of these tablets, and every other tablet out there...i got an i5 cpu, 8gb ram and 256gb ssd....when these companies can make a tablet with similar specs for roughly the same price then i'll buy a tablet..until then it just makes more sense to go with a laptop....as for the sd card option all you need is a class 10 sd card, $60-$80 for 64gb....the surface pro has a full suite of productivity programs plus full os hence the hdd space issue

Erlord Ofthe Afterscape
5th February, 2013 @ 11:08 am PST
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