Can I Have Some More Please?

In my ‘the PC is dead, long live the PC’ blog I wrote about how hardware is going through one of the biggest evolutionary phases it’s ever experienced. It’s all to do with coping with the ‘anytime, anywhere’ demands of the mobile worker.

Back in the ‘olden days’ (early 2000s) we were constantly having to upgrade our hardware when we got a new operating system. PCs just weren’t built to cope with upgrades, and it was a constant battle.

At the time of writing, I said that hardware is built of tougher stuff now, so the need to constantly update devices had been replaced by a bigger business need – high availability, and strong connectivity.

I’ve changed my tune now though – I reckon we’ve come full circle, particularly as we’re using mobile devices for both work and play. And it’s all to do with the rate growth in the size of mobile apps.

This Christmas my youngest daughter couldn’t get enough of two apps for the iPad. One was the Bear and the Hare (the bear who had never seen Christmas – the full story of John Lewis’ Christmas advert) and the other was The Snowman game.

These two apps took up 10% of the iPad’s entire storage space. (When I bought the iPad I thought 16GB would be more than enough…)

I checked the storage on my iPhone the other day. I bought the biggest storage capacity you can get for an iPhone (64GB) and most of this has seemingly been taken up with a number of apps I can count on one hand, and photos/videos . The lack of space means that I am constantly juggling data to download all the iOS updates.

As smartphone cameras begin to have more pixels than hailstones currently battering our house, it’s inevitable that storage space on mobile devices is going to be pushed to the limit.

Connectivity, quite rightly, is starting to speed up. It’s still a need and still an issue, but by attempting to solve one problem, we’ve landed ourselves right back where we started from.

Increased connectivity speeds have paved the way for more innovative and ambitious mobile apps. These apps need more storage in order to be able to run. So, you’re again bound by the limitations of your storage capacity, processing power and memory just like we were in the olden days.

Cloud storage is great – but only for streaming. No amount of purchasing additional Cloud storage is going to affect the memory of the device. We need more processing power, and more onboard storage.

It’s actually the opposite to Cloud computing, which works by harnessing processing capability that’s sitting in the Cloud. This is all about ensuring that there is sufficient processing power and storage sitting on your device – and whilst the connectivity needs to be strong, so does the device’s memory.

So, will we eventually start to see 128GB iPhones? As far as I know Apple haven’t increased their storage offerings since they launched the first iPhone in 2007.  But now that single apps can be several GB in size alone, something needs to change.

Otherwise all the improvements being made in connectivity will have limited benefits.