October 15, 2008

How much storage does an "always connected" device need?

One of the reasons I bought the iPhone was to explore new opportunities made possible by an “always connected” device. Of course an iPhone isn’t always connected. There are coverage black holes around, and places where wireless data just isn’t allowed – eg planes and hospitals. But so far, for me at least, “almost always connected” is a good description.

Given that, there are some implications for what I hold on the device. I have a lot of music on it, but frankly rarely listen to it. Instead I find myself mostly listening to last.fm these days. There are only a few circumstances when that doesn’t work:
  • No coverage, obviously
  • Only 2G coverage. Last.fm is rubbish on GPRS/EDGE. It is fine on 3G though.
  • Abroad, when mobile data is just too expensive to use.
  • When I want to use another app, like now when listening to music while writing a blog entry.

There’s also an app called SimplifyMedia that let’s me play music from the iTunes library on my PC by downloading it over the air. Obviously the PC needs to be on, and I need coverage as above. But it means I can play specific tracks not just what last.fm chooses for me, even if they aren’t physically on the iPhone.

So, I do need some music on the device for those circumstances where the above apps don’t work, but nowhere near as much as I currently have.

Similarly for photos, I can put them in Picasa or Flickr and view them over the air rather than storing them on the iPhone.

I only bought an 8GB iPhone but thought long and hard about getting the 16GB one. Now, 8GB seems like too much! I’m sure, though, I’ll find other ways of using it all. For example, I wish I could download stuff from the BBC iPlayer to the iPhone to watch when I’m away from WiFi. Maybe one day.

Life in the cloud is fun!

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