Apple has a longtime stable tablet on its hands with the iPad. The recent followup, iPad mini has also been successful, yet not like the original iPad. Android tablets have been released like rapid fire since their inception, but until recently they have not captured much market share. The Kindle Fire lineup and Google Nexus series have started to slightly tip the scales.
The team from Cupertino might be looking to one up the Android onslaught with high end features. Apple has always prided themselves with quality and high end specs for most of their product line. 9 to 5 mac looks like they have some exclusive information on the next iPad to be released. What appears to be ready to happen is a new SKU for the iPad 4th generation line. This would mean most likely the same Retina Display HD display, form factor and lightning connector, but with a slight change. A hard drive bump to 128GB seems to be a very well educated guess.
Developers have recently found code in the upcoming iOS 6.1 source that hints at 128GB iOS device and support. A picture released on Twitter by @sonnydickson also revealed what looks like 128GB support in iTunes11, which is a new size for the software.
The four new sku’s point to the regular black and white option along with a cellular and wi-fi choice. No other information is currently available, nor has any of this been confirmed by Apple. A bump up in drive capacity does make sense as more and more content becomes available along with the typical large nature of movie and video files.
As wireless providers move forward on bandwidth caps, the stream everything from the cloud option becomes less and less friendly. Some ISP’s are even enabling data caps on the home internet service. Combine this along with the lack of expandable storage on Apple iOS devices and the 128GB option begins to fit right in.
Another possible reason could be corporate competition. The Microsoft Surface Pro tablet is set to launch on February 9th for $899. This tablet is geared towards corporate America as it runs full Windows 8 Pro and has an optional keyboard making it essentially a fully working laptop.
Hard drive options come in at 64GB and 128GB for the Surface Pro and this could be exactly what Apple is attempting to fend off. The 64GB Wi-fi only 4th Gen iPad comes in at $699. Doubling the capacity size could put it right in the same ball park or just under the $900 Surface Pro. Of course the Surface Tablet has full USB ports and a microSDXC card slot that have the ability add to the capacity in a few seconds.
Apple might need additional storage for corporate America if the long rumored Microsoft Office is finally going to be released for iOS products. Having the full featured product could eat up a lot of room with its installation along with the Office documents stored locally. You would think Microsoft would delay any Office release until well after the Surface Pro’s debut, but the Apple tablet market share appears to have peaked and it could be rushing things.
For now this is all guess work, but where there is smoke, there is fire. Apple is working on a 128GB device and the iPad makes a lot more sense than a 128GB iPod touch right now.