Will the iPhone 16 Pro Start at 256 GB of Storage?

iPhone 16 Ultra Concept 4RMD 2 Credit: 4RMD
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It’s about that time again when we begin to hear speculation and leaks about how much storage Apple will pack into its latest iPhone models. First among these is a report that the standard iPhone 16 Pro will raise the floor to 256GB like last year’s iPhone 15 Pro Max.

It’s a report that should be taken with a larger-than-normal dose of your favorite savory seasonings, if for no other reason than how often we’ve heard these songs.

For example, we’ve been hearing about a 2 TB iPhone since 2021, when pundits predicted that the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max would gain that as a top-tier storage option. However, today the highest capacity iPhone 15 Pro Max available still tops out at 1 TB.

That particular rumor came on the heels of the iPhone 13 Pro gaining a new 1 TB variant, marking the first time any iPhone had been available in four storage capacities simultaneously.

That was also the first year the standard iPhone models moved their storage capacities up a notch, dropping the 64 GB entry-level model that had been the norm since the iPhone 8 increased the base storage in 2017 and replacing it with a 512 GB version on the top end.

That trend continued into 2022 with the iPhone 14 lineup, which featured identical storage configurations to their iPhone 13 predecessors. Ditto for the iPhone 15 models, with one exception: the iPhone 15 Pro Max lost the 128 GB version, thereby increasing its starting point to 256 GB. That was likely what prompted rumors of a price increase for the larger model, although the price technically stayed the same; we just lost the cheaper option from the lineup.

Wonderlust iPhone 15 Pro Pricing

Now, in a post at the Mac Observer, LeaksApplePro notes that Apple may be considering following suit with the smaller iPhone 16 Pro. Citing “people close to the industry,” the report says that Apple “could be considering” increasing the base storage, which suggests that it may also be largely speculative.

It’s not clear how much solid evidence there is to back up this claim, but even if it’s speculation, it certainly seems plausible. Apple’s higher-end iPhones have offered higher storage tiers than their standard models since the iPhone XS ushered in the 512 GB version in 2018, but last year was the first time in the entire history of the iPhone that two sizes in the same iPhone class have been offered in different storage configurations. While the reasoning behind that was never clear, it’s an aberration that Apple would probably want to address in some way.

iPhone Storage Capacities 2007 2023
Jesse Hollington / iDrop News

Theoretically, Apple could fix this by introducing a 128 GB version of the iPhone 16 Pro Max, but that seems highly unlikely. Not only would it be a step backward, but the improved photographic capabilities of the Pro iPhones demand more storage; Apple even limits some storage-hungry features on 128 GB models, such as ProRes video recording in 4K.

Eliminating the 128 GB version on both iPhone 16 Pro models would make a lot more sense in several ways, as it would reduce the lineup to the more traditional three storage tiers and also help to set the Pro models apart from the standard iPhone 16 and iPhone 16 Plus, which will almost certainly still start at 128 GB (and likely cap out at 512 GB).

There’s also the possibility that we could finally see an increase to a 2 TB storage configuration this year. If so, something will have to go to make room for that since Apple isn’t likely to start selling five storage configurations. While it’s possible Apple could leave a gap in the storage tiers — it wouldn’t be the first time, since the iPhone X, iPhone XS, and iPhone 11 Pro all omitted a 128 GB version in between the 64 and 256 GB models — it still makes more sense to get rid of the runt of the litter and start the whole family at a healthier 256 GB.

What that might do to the price of the new models is a more complex question. The $999 starting price for the iPhone 15 Pro is a sweet spot that Apple is likely reluctant to abandon. This would mean that Apple would have to double the storage on the iPhone 16 Pro while keeping the price the same as the iPhone 15 Pro, putting the iPhone 16 Pro Max in a more awkward position of having to either maintain a more significant $200 gap or drop $100 in price from its predecessor.

[The information provided in this article has NOT been confirmed by Apple and may be speculation. Provided details may not be factual. Take all rumors, tech or otherwise, with a grain of salt.]

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