Photo courtesy Apple via ABC News
(ABC News) -- Apple's iPad just doubled in size. No, not the physical size of the tablet - Apple's not pulling a Lenovo or Toshiba and releasing a tablet that you can't actually hold. But it is doubling the storage size for those looking for more space for files, photos, videos, presentations and books.
Just as the rumors predicted, Apple will now offer an 128GB version of its 9.7-inch iPad, which was previously available with just 16GB, 32GB and 64GB options. The model will look and feel just like the current iPad with a Retina Display and black and white color options.
Why add more storage space? Apple Senior Vice President of Marketing Phil Schiller explained in a statement that more people are using their iPads rather than their PCs, and the added storage provides more room for their needs. "Everyday they are finding more great reasons to work, learn and play on their iPads rather than their old PCs," Schiller said. "With twice the storage capacity and an unparalleled selection of over 300,000 native iPad apps, enterprises, educators and artists have even more reasons to use iPad for all their business and personal needs."
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Apple sold a record number of iPads last quarter, but its Mac sales were lower than previous quarters (4.1 million, down from 5.2 million in the same quarter last year). Apple CEO Tim Cook acknowledged on the company's earnings call last week that the iPad's cannibalization of the Mac may have accounted for at least some of that shortfall, but said the company embraces the shift.
"I think cannibalization is a huge opportunity for us," Cook said on the call. "Our base philosophy is to never fear cannibalization. If we do, somebody else will just cannibalize it... We know iPad has cannibalized some Macs, and that doesn't worry us."
Apple's stock took a big hit after announcing its earnings last week and has fallen more than 12 percent since it peaked at just over $700 per share in September.
The 128GB, WiFi-only version of the iPad will be available on Tuesday, Feb. 5 for $799, and the model with cellular connectivity will go on sale the same day for $929.
Apple has been rumored to launch the next version of its iPad later this year. According to reports, it will have a similar design to the thinner iPad Mini.
Joanna Stearn, ABC News