iOS Beta and Retailer SKUs Hint at 128GB 4th Gen iPad

iPad 128 GB

Apple may soon add a 128 GB capacity option to its iPad tablet line, according to information found in a beta version of iOS released Saturday and reported by iDownloadBlog. As first discovered by Twitter user iNeal, the fifth and latest beta of iOS 6.1 contains a new reference to a 128 GB partition size.

iOS beta software is shared by all iOS devices so the inclusion of a new 128 GB partition size could also indicate greater capacity for a future iPhone or iPod touch. However, additional information reported by 9to5Mac Sunday claims that Apple will add a new iPad SKU in the coming months. It is possible that this new SKU, which according to Apple’s product naming scheme is “better” than all current SKUs, represents a 128 GB fourth-generation iPad.

Since the iPad’s initial launch in 2010, Apple has offered the devices in 16, 32, and 64 GB capacities. The company now also offers the smaller iPad mini in the same capacities.

Due to an increasing reliance on cloud-based storage and a desire to protect its margins, Apple has not broken the 64 GB capacity barrier on any iOS device. As the company faces increasing market pressure from competing Android-based tablets, however, it is possible that Apple will soon adopt larger capacities as one method of differentiating its products.

An early 2013 launch of a new iPad capacity could also be seen by Apple as a way to keep interest in the product high until it can launch the next major revision, an event that recent rumors indicate won’t occur until October.

UPDATE (10:03 AM EST): 9to5Mac now reports that sources indicate Apple will charge US$799 for the 128 GB Wi-Fi only iPad and $929 for the Wi-Fi + Cellular model.