The tech dilema – Price per GB for Apple device storage

There is always one question an Apple device buyer must grapple with each time they make a purchase: How much storage space can I afford?

The reason is that while units like the iPhone XS, MacBook Air, and iPad Pro are powerful machines with lots of great features, they fall short when its comes to expandable storage.

Apple is well known for preventing the use of expandable storage in its devices, with the iPhone and iPad not supporting microSD card slots that many of their Android counterparts do.

The MacBook Air is another example of Apple limiting storage expansion, as you cannot just buy an SSD and slap it in like you would with a Windows machine.

This limitation plays into the company’s hands at the till, however.

Customers are given a range of built-in storage options to choose from when buying an Apple device. With the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, for example, the only two variables users have a say in are cellular connectivity and storage space.

The more storage space you select, the more you pay.

Price per GB

And pay you will.

The addition of extra built-in storage space on an Apple device sees its price rise sharply.

Using the new iPad Pro 12.9-inch as an example, going from 64GB of storage to 1TB results in the price increasing by R13,000.

Keep in mind that all other elements of the device are the same, the change in price is only due to the storage change.

To demonstrate how much you pay for additional space in an Apple device, we have calculated the per-GB price of additional storage for an iPhone XS, new Apple MacBook Air, and the new 12.9-inch iPad Pro.

We have then compared these per-GB prices to the effective per-GB prices of various SSDs and microSD cards available in South Africa – storage devices you would typically use in an Android or Windows device.

For the comparison we used:

  • iPhone XS 64GB and 512GB – Price difference: R7,300
  • iPad Pro 12.9 (Wi-Fi + Cell) 64GB and 1TB – Price difference: R13,400
  • MacBook Air 128GB and 256GB – Price difference: R3,500
Price per GB
Device Price and Storage Difference Price per GB
iPhone XS 64GB and 512GB R7,300 / 448GB R16.29
iPad Pro 12.9 64GB and 1TB R13,400 / 936GB R14.31
MacBook Air 128GB and 256GB R3,500 / 128GB R27.34
Samsung 860 Pro 512GB SSD R3,275 / 512GB R6.39
Samsung 860 Evo 2TB SSD R6,399 / 2TB R3.19
WD Black 512GB M.2 SSD R2,999 / 512GB R5.85
WD Black 1TB M.2 SSD R6,141 / 1TB R6.14
SanDisk Ultra 256GB MicroSD R1,995 / 256GB R7.79
SanDisk Ultra 128GB MicroSD R899 / 128GB R7.02

With a premium charged for additional storage, the final question you usually ask yourself each time you buy an Apple device is: How badly do I need that extra space?


Now read: iPad Pro vs powerful laptops – South African pricing showdown

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The tech dilema – Price per GB for Apple device storage