Will Apple Ever Kill the 16GB iPhone?

It’s that time folks. We’re getting close enough to the launch of a new iPhone for the rumor mill to kick into high gear. Around this time last year, many were praising the merits of sapphire for phone screens, only to have Apple omit that particular lifestyle feature.

Now with the 6S and 6S+ on the horizon, iOS fans are wondering if we’ll see improvements to storage.

This generation, Apple took a great step up for their mid-tier iPhone. Instead of spending $100 to bump up your phone to 32GB, you would receive a whopping 64GB. Unfortunately the base model iPhone remained at 16GB, which is a bit lean for a modern smartphone. Even 32GB can feel a bit cramped these days.

We’re expecting improvements to the camera, likely resulting in larger photos and video files. Phones are often a primary device for storing music, our apps are getting more demanding, and OS updates require a certain percentage of your storage to be unused and available. We ask a lot of our smartphones, and lacking the ability to upgrade the storage on an iPhone means users have to monitor their geebees very closely on that first tier iPhone. Continue reading “Will Apple Ever Kill the 16GB iPhone?”

How to Add Storage and Move Files on Your Samsung Galaxy S6

Samsung abandoned memory cards on the Galaxy S6, so while it has a fantastic camera, you can fill up that storage pretty quick with UHD video. Thankfully with USB host capabilities we have a couple options available to handle file management. Here are the two solutions I’m currently using on my GS6!

Leef MicroSD Card Reader Review.
Shop the Leef on Amazon.
Shop for USB OTG Host cables on Amazon.

Lawsuit Claims Apple is Falsely Advertising iPhone Storage and Why This Isn’t That Big a Deal…

Filed on Tuesday, a class action lawsuit claims that Apple is misrepresenting and falsely advertising how much storage is available in the iPhone and the iPad. Far be it from me to to defend on Apple on a situation like this, but the media covering this story has blown a fairly common practice wildly out of proportion. The filing itself reads like it was written by someone who lacks basic knowledge of math and technology.

This is a problem we’ve been dealing with since the advent of home computing. How do we accurately report how much space is on our device?

The main issue comes down to the discrepancy between advertising and how computers are actually programmed. To grossly over simplify, you are allowed to advertise a megabyte as being equal to 1 million bytes, and a gigabyte as being equal to 1 billion bytes. Makes sense right? All those metric-y words? This is known as “decimal notation”.

But that’s NOT how your computer utilizes storage. Your computer stores info via binary powers of 2. Your computer treats 1,048,576 as a megabyte and 1,073,741,824 as a gigabyte.

So if we do a little math, the outside of the box claims the iPhone has 16GB, in that it has sixteen billion bytes on board. But iOS will use that in binary compatible chunks. Those same 16 billion bytes will be reported to the operating system as 14.90 GB out of the box before you slap an OS on the device. Have a “32GB” phone? The OS will report that as 29.80GB when it’s totally empty.

The larger the pool of storage, the larger the chunk of data you lose via this advertising hijinkery. Have you cracked open a hard drive recently? Sure you can buy a box which claims to 4TB packed inside, but your computer will report that as 3.64TB. You didn’t “LOSE” this data, you did receive 4 trillion bytes, but your computer doesn’t use a storage device like that. It has to cluster them, so it looks like you’ve lost some 360GB, when you haven’t.

This practice is so common that pretty much every hard drive and flash memory manufacturer has some link in their respective FAQ’s that explains this very phenomenon. Here’s Seagate’s for example.

apple iphone ipad storage class action lawsuit chartThe chart being used in this class action suit is conflating the difference between decimal notation (1MB = 1,000,000 bytes) and binary notation (1MB = 1,048,576 bytes) to make it look like Apple is trying to do something nefarious, and to make it look like iOS has eaten up significantly more space than it actually has.

If we want to talk about bloat, I think Samsung customers have more reason to complain as the first batch of “16GB” Galaxy S5’s were delivered with less than 10 binary gigabytes available to the user depending on carrier. Samsung took more than 30% of the available storage for the OS, pre-installed apps, and partition.

What I hate most about this situation is that it forces me to defend Apple here. We do have an issue with how products are advertised, and it’s a problem we’ve had since the first storage devices were built into PC’s. What’s not going to help us explain this situation to consumers is screwing up the math being used to demonstrate the problem.

The problem here isn’t with Apple being “stingy”. It’s with an entire industry and how it advertises its products.

Review: RAVPower Wireless Card and Flash Drive Reader – Use WiFi to share files between phones and tablets!

ravpower wireless card reader movie streamingI’m stoked to see more gadgets like this.

Getting files on and off our tablets and phones can be painful. As much as these devices claim autonomy, often we still need to resort to plugging them into proper computers. Wireless drives afford us more flexibility in handling our mobile data, allowing us to build portable clouds, and providing us easier solutions for sharing media with other people.

Let’s take a look at RAVPower’s entry into this gadget class with the RP-WD01.

More info on RAVPower devices.
The RAVPower Wireless Card reader on Amazon.

Western Digital owned HGST turns to Helium for 6TB hard drive

western digital helium hgst he6 6tb hard driveIf you want BIG performance you have to start looking at exotic builds.

Storage is a big deal right now. Consumers routinely pick up thousands of gigabytes for cheap, and we’re all flirting with cloud storage which requires companies to run tons of redundant back ups. We’re creeping up on the maximum density per platter that physics will allow for packing info on a spinning disc, but other concerns can limit hard disc storage as well.

Namely air turbulence.

Yep. High performance drives spin up quickly. That 7200RPM badge on the side of your drive is commonplace these days, but that’s still pretty incredible when you think about it. Every second the platters are rotating 120 times. Those platters are designed around a certain fault tolerance and thermal envelope. Run them too hot too long and they’ll fail.

We’ve already posted about the new “shingled” array that Seagate and WD will look to use to pack more info on a drive, but that comes with certain sensitivities. Also, with each improvement in storage density comes the risk of losing even more data in the event of failure. HGST looks to improve run time and durability by hermetically sealing the drive in an envelope of Helium.

Helium is lighter than air, so there should be less resistance and turbulence. Less turbulence means less power is needed to spin the drive up, which results in less heat generated and a cooler operation temperature. Cooler temps should deliver long life cycles. It’s a very interesting solution for providing a more robust storage architecture. This kind of big storage affects every kind of service we use online today from social networking to streaming video.

HGST says the drives are “generally available now”, but bxpect the first applications to be for corporate storage. I wouldn’t be surprised to see these drives trickling out into consumer grade workstations next year.

Full PR after the jump. Continue reading “Western Digital owned HGST turns to Helium for 6TB hard drive”