Apple Mobile Products and Their Unexpandable Memories

20 April, 2011 09:01PM · 4 minute read

It always seems to the tech geek population that there’s no such thing as too much memory. The more photos, music and videos we keep on our portable devices the more we rely on memory to store it as we are out and about. ¬†Initially, Apple released the iPod with a miniature hard disk drive with the tagline “1,000 songs in your pocket”. The concept was that you would run out of battery before you finished listening to all of the songs and in addition, you were unlikely to listen to all 1,000 songs in a single sitting. Back then that was fine as it was never expected that your mobile device would hold your entire music collection.

Fast forward nearly 10 years and technology changes from hard drives to flash memory but the question of how much memory does one need remains. The answer is different for every person but recently, one of the key differences is that people are no longer seeing their portable device as one to store their favourite music but instead to store their entire music collection - which obviously requires more storage.

The need for expandable memory seems to be make sense to let users add extra memory if/when they think they need it. From a user perspective though, what I’ve anecdotally found to be the case is as follows:

The reality is that most normal people buy a product in a box and never, ever upgrade its parts but only seem to upgrade the whole box when either A) it breaks or B) they decide it’s too slow or C) there’s a new product with a great new feature that they really want.

This mentality shows that Apple is tuned in to what MOST customers want and it also suits their business to make their products unexpandable. The two biggest advantages to Apple by preventing user memory upgrades are A) they can charge a premium at the time of purchase that is well above what the memory actually costs and customers with more money will happily (perhaps not too happily) pay for the extra memory for it; B) there are no compatibility issues with memory cards by third parties meaning less support and customer complaint about such issues (see Windows Phone 7 memory card sensibilities); C) if people really want the extra storage for their music they may be forced/deflected towards purchasing an additional Apple product specifically for that purpose that has more memory (i.e. iPod Classic).

Is it fair? Probably not but then this is business. Will other suppliers sell more of their products than Apple just because they have expandable memory cards? For a percentage of the geek population yes, but then that’s not very many people compared to the rest of the population that purchase these products.

Sorry fellow geeks: you can forget Apple providing user upgradable flash memory in their mobile devices for the forseeable future.