Towards the end of last week, Apple issued a memo through the News and Updates section of its Developer portal announcing an increase in the file size allowance for App Store submissions. Starting now, apps can be as large as 4GB in size.
The previous cap was 2GB, but now Apple feels that iDevices have enough on-board storage to accommodate larger binaries. However, for base models with 16GB of Flash memory, only a single such app can live on the device next to photos, videos, music, and other apps.
“The size limit of an app package submitted through iTunes Connect has increased from 2 GB to 4 GB, so you can include more media in your submission and provide a more complete, rich user experience upon installation. Please keep in mind that this change does not affect the cellular network delivery size limit of 100 MB,” Apple said.
The announcement has led to (righteous) speculation that, starting this year, Apple will forego the 16GB entry-level storage option, setting 32GB in its place. NAND Flash gets cheaper by the year, so it’s certainly plausible, if not probable even.
Considering that the OS itself takes a fair amount of space on the handset, not to mention that Apple likes to pre-install devices with a flurry of apps as of late, a 16GB option is no longer relevant.
The same will probably happen on the tablet front, where the only remaining 16GB models will be the last-gen models that Apple usually keeps on store shelves for an extra year or so, offering affordable options to all customers.
So expect the only 16GB iPhone to still make it through 2016 to be the current iPhone 6 lineup. iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c will likely be discontinued.
Apple shouldn't have to increase the entry level price, though. Expect the iPhone 6S to retain the $199 / €199 price tag with a two-year contract.