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The 16GB iPhone may finally be going away soon

Apple's iPhone 7 will reportedly start at 32GB of storage

The days of 16GB iPhones are nearly over. Our friend Joanna Stern at The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Apple's next flagship iPhone — the iPhone 7 or whatever it's eventually called — will start out at 32GB of storage; there won't be any 16GB option offered. If true, the bump in storage to the entry-level model will finally address a longstanding complaint regarding Apple's iPhone family.

In recent years, 16GB simply hasn't been enough for most consumers to hold all of their apps, games, music, photos, and 4K video recordings — even when you factor in iCloud storage and other cloud services. Warnings about low storage start popping up, and it all takes away from the iPhone user experience that Apple prides itself on.

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Senior Apple executive Phil Schiller has previously argued that cloud storage helps 16GB smartphones remain viable for customers. "The belief is more and more as we use iCloud services for documents and our photos and videos and music, that perhaps the most price-conscious customers are able to live in an environment where they don't need gobs of local storage because these services are lightening the load," he said last year.

Apple Iphone
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

With the iPhone 6 and 6s, Apple offered a choice between 16, 64, and 128GB. 16GB doesn't cut it, but 64GB might still be a good deal more than some people need. So with the iPhone 7, it sounds like Apple is bringing back the happy medium of 32GB.

But then the question becomes what comes after that. 32GB / 64GB / 128GB seems reasonable, but with the iPad Pro now offering up to 256GB of built-in storage, it wouldn't be a surprise to see the iPhone — or perhaps just the Plus model — make that leap too. Either way, at least the 16GB iPhone has almost met its end. Yes, Apple and carriers will likely continue selling existing 16GB iPhones for a couple more years, but it's still a big (and overdue) moment. Like always, Apple is expected to unveil the new iPhone in September.