back to article Cheapest Apple iPhone 7's flash memory is waaaaay slower than pricier model

Apple is silently stiffing customers who don't spend enough on the latest iPhones. For the past few years, the cheapest new iPhone model had a storage capacity of 8GB, then 16GB, which in practice meant just over 12GB available if you include the bundled software. This meant there was insufficient space to perform an update …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is it faster then rotating rust

    if so then does it really matter?

    Some other questions come to mind.

    Can the hobbled iPhone shoot Video at the quoted definition and fps and store it? If so then what is the problem?

    Is it faster than most write rates for removable SD Cards?

    I guess the Ad hits on iFixit needed an uplift with nothing much to report after the Samsung Note 7 debacle.

    Never mind, there will be plenty for them to tear down next week with both Microsoft (Surface 4) and apple (Macbooks etc) releasing new kit.

    1. NoneSuch Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: Is it faster then rotating rust

      Do Apple Fanbois buy phones for performance or for the logo on the back. Seeing as every Apple case has a hole in it to show off the logo, I know which way I lean.

  2. J. R. Hartley

    Lap it up fanbois.

    You deserve it.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Which models get sent for review?

    That may be the explanation.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Which models get sent for review?

      I'm not sure Apple provides phones for reviewers, they have to buy their own.

      Anyway, this guy is just a web blogger, even if they send review phones to major sites like CNET he wouldn't get one.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Which models get sent for review?

        "Anyway, this guy is just a web blogger, even if they send review phones to major sites like CNET he wouldn't get one."

        Let me spell it out more slowly.

        Tech obsessives fuss about every performance metric, no? Even if it is real world irrelevant. Apple I'm sure is aware that the 32G version is, for whatever reason but simple striping seems most likely, much slower on writes than the large memory version. But it doesn't matter because the ones they give out to their favoured (i.e. not El Reg) reviewers will be the big memory ones, so they are not going to notice the slower write speed of the 32G. Typical bloggers are not going to buy two very expensive phones to do a comparison.

        The level of bottom-licking on many product reviews shows just how desirable approval by Apple can be in terms of access and test gear. I have the impression that Apple doesn't really need to do this in terms of technical specification - their phones do tend to outperform everything else in straight numbers - it's just control freakery laid down in the original DNA. The main benefit to Apple is that favoured reviewers tend not to report on non-adherence to standards or other commercial practices, and that they tend to rubbish competitor products.

  4. ma1010


    Dear El Reg:

    You go and publish a article like this about Apple with a very large value for "snarky," and THEN you wonder why Apple won't make nice with you? Tsk, tsk.

    1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Eh?

      We know exactly why we're black-listed - we just wish Apple would admit it.


      1. Youngone Silver badge

        Re: Eh?

        Sounds like a badge of honour to me.

    2. John 104

      Re: Eh?


      Yes, how dare El Reg report on factual data. Apple would rather they not disclose these dirty little details...

  5. SlackJawedYokel

    You're complaining about a half-empty glass

    I'm no Apple fanboy (won't buy a phone without a headphone jack, on principle), but I think we should consider that the 256GB option has much FASTER memory than the 32GB option, and for a very good reason. With a 256GB model, you're likely to be copying tons of music and videos to the device, perhaps often, to carry them with you. A 32 GB model owner is much less likely to do so, because they only have 16 GB of usable space to work with (more or less). 40+ MB/s write speed is more than fast enough for downloading apps, etc. on the 32 GB model.

    1. Zack Mollusc

      Re: You're complaining about a half-empty glass

      Surely with a smaller storage volume you will be writing to it _more_ frequently as you get bored with the current cat videos and want fresh ones?

  6. Steven Jones

    It's a matter of parallelism...

    So a device with 8 times the amount of flash memory achieves about 7.6 times the throughput on writes. That's almost linear, and it surely just implies that it's simply a factor that scales sidewise as more flash devices are added so more things happen in parallel. The memory isn't slower as such, it's just the way throughput scales.

    Presumably on the read side, there are other bottlenecks which prevents the 256GB device maxing out all parallelism of multiple flash chips.

    So not really "punishing", and how much does it matter in real life? Even at 42MBps, that 32GB flash storage device could be overwritten in about 13 minutes.

    1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: It's a matter of parallelism...

      The article addresses the parallelism and the speed in real-world uses. Basically, we know.


  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sequential write speed is not really relevant for a phone

    Random write speed does matter though - any word on what the difference is between the models for that metric?

  8. Gene Cash Silver badge

    Parallel vs... not?

    So maybe the 256GB one has 8 chips and stores in parallel, and the 32GB one has 1 chip and doesn't? Seems like a straightforward technical explanation, but I don't have any way of confirming it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Parallel vs... not?

      It could be confirmed if the speed of the 128GB model was measured and found to be around 4x the 32GB model and 50% of the 256GB model...

  9. Old_Geek

    Parallel arrays?

    The difference would be easy to explain if the larger memory consisted of 8 copies of the smaller array, and access were striped across the arrays. No need to jump to cynicism.

    1. td97402

      Re: Parallel arrays?

      "No need to jump to cynicism."


      El Reg is all about snark and cynicism. We come here for our daily dose. At least I do.

  10. MondoMan

    architectural issue?

    Leaving aside that the 32GB phone is reported to have a read speed *double* that of the higher-capacity phone, it's my understanding that flash drives typically achieve faster write speeds by writing to multiple flash modules in parallel, since individual flash module write speeds are so slow compared to their read speeds. This can be seen in the read/write speed specs by drive size within many SSD lines.

    If a single flash module in these phones is 32GB (as seems likely), then the 256GB phone model would have 8 such modules, resulting in 8x parallelism on write, and a predicted write speed 8x that of the 32GB model. Fits the data, doesn't it? No resort to a "cheap flash" conspiracy needed. :)

  11. suitedupgeek

    Yes but does it catch fire

    That's the only burning question that needs answering with any smartphone.

  12. W Donelson

    Still using USB 2 (ack) so does write speed make any difference?

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