Talking tech since 2003

Update, 1/29/2013 9:08 AM: Apple has confirmed that it will be releasing a 128 GB iPad with Retina on February 5. The information leaked yesterday was right on: it’s a fourth-generation model that comes in black & white, as well as Wi-Fi ($799) & Wi-Fi + LTE ($929) configurations.

Owners of the highest-end 64 GB iPad with Retina might find that, even with all of that space, there still isn’t room for all of their apps, music, movies, magazines and books. Sure, iCloud is there for those who can live with having a hefty chunk of their data sitting on a remote server somewhere, but for those who aren’t near a Wi-Fi hotspot, or for those who don’t own a 4G version of the tablet, relying on iCloud isn’t the best option.

According to a report from 9 to 5 Mac, it seems that Apple might be in agreement. Sources are now hinting at a 128 GB iPad model that would come in at $799 for the Wi-Fi version and $929 for the 4G LTE-enabled version. This model would double the storage of the largest iPad with Retina that is available and give users even more space to store their media libraries and apps. This iPad would not be a brand new model — instead, it would be an additional SKU of the 4th-generation line, and would be sold right along side the 16 GB, 32 GB and 64 GB models that are already available. Much like those current products, the 128 GB iPad would be available in both black and white, and in both Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi + LTE flavors.

Late Apple CEO Steve Jobs labeled the iPad as a “post-PC” device — a device that represented the future and could exist even if use of the traditional PC faded away. The iPad has certainly lived up to that premise with its friendly UI and monstrous app library — and it hasn’t done too bad in sales, either — but storage space is one area that the device has skimped on. PCs regularly pack in hundreds of gigabytes of storage, and some PCs are being released with hard drives that reach into the terabytes. If users are truly going to leave their PCs behind in favor of the iPad, the device needs to meet the storage needs of its users. Adding a 128 GB model won’t change the world, and users might still have to make some sacrifices in terms of what they keep on the device and what they don’t, but it’s a good first step.

If Apple does indeed release a 128 GB iPad with Retina in the near future, it would certainly make the company’s product release timeline more cloudy. The third-generation iPad — dubbed “The New iPad” — was released back in Spring 2012. The iPad received a spec-bump in Fall 2012, but instead of calling it a mid-life update to the third-generation model, Apple instead chose to call the “iPad with Retina” its fourth-generation iPad. And every iPad model — except for the fourth-gen — has launched in spring.

Long story short: releasing a higher-capacity fourth-gen model would seem odd if Apple plans to update the iPad line this spring. We could be looking at a Fall 2013 release for the fifth-generation iPad model, and a pretty boring spring from the Cupertino-based electronics company. But we won’t know for sure until the 128 GB iPad model is confirmed.

We’ll stay on top of this story and keep you up to date on any new developments.

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