iPhone 13 to get terabyte of storage, putting video cameras on notice

Apple’s iPhone 13, expected to be launched at the company’s California Streaming event on September 14, might have up to a terabyte of storage.

Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives said as much in a research note published last month, cited in MacRumours. He’d started forecasting the terabyte maximum storage capacity in March.

Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo concurred, saying the minimum capacity would be at 128GB — the same as the iPhone 12 Pro. From the iPhone 8 onwards and up to the iPhone 12, the minimum capacity has been 64GB.

It’s suspected that the phone’s uprated camera and higher-resolution video recording capability is behind the storage increase.

Minimum and maximum storage capacities for iPhone models.

The iPhone 12 continued the 256GB storage maximum started with the the iPhone 7 and carried on through the iPhone 8, 9, XR and then the 12 models. It was doubled to 512GB with the iPhone 12 Pro, which featured 10-bit HDR recording and 4K Dolby Vision HDR video at 24/30/60 fps.

In comparison the iPhone 12 was given 4K video at 24/30/60 fps, 1080p video at 30/60/120/240 fps, and Dolby Vision HDR (up to 30 fps). The iPhone 13 could get another increase in video recording resolution and size to cinematic video (subject in sharp focus, background blurred) and ProRes support (lossy video up to 8K resolution). An Apple white paper explains what this is in more detail.

It appears that, having killed the consumer still camera industry, the smartphone is going after video cameras. Low-end consumer camcorders have long been replaced by smartphones, but the rumoured specs for the iPhone well and truly rival the cameras used by professionals.

Wells Fargo analyst Aaron Rakers told subscribers smartphones account for 30–35 per cent of total NAND Flash bit consumption. He estimates: “Apple iPhone could account for up to 15 per cent of total NAND Flash bit demand.” That could make Apple the single largest flash industry customer in terms of capacity purchased.