Associated Press
A new Apple iPad on display using the video during an Apple event in San Francisco, Wednesday, March 7, 2012. Apple is preparing to release its first 128GB version of the iPad 4 just a few days before the Microsoft Surface Pro hybrid, and some see it as a defensive measure.

Apple is preparing to release it's first 128GB version of the iPad 4 just a few days before the Microsoft Surface Pro hybrid, and some see it as a defensive measure.

Twitter lit up after Apple announced a 128GB version of its iPad 4 Tuesday. The model, available in black or white, will launch in the U.S. on Feb. 5.

Apple seems to want this new iPad to take the place of users' PCs.

“With more than 120 million iPads sold, it’s clear that customers around the world love their iPads, and everyday they are finding more great reasons to work, learn and play on their iPads rather than their old PCs,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing in a statement. “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.”

The new iPad would find itself in the laptop realm, considering that it's in the same price range.

According to CNET, the average price for a laptop is $703, and the wi-fi only model of the new iPad would cost just a little more at $799.

The new iPad would not only compete with PCs. One analyst said Apple's announcement shows that the company is defending itself against incoming laptop/tablet hybrids like Microsoft's Surface Pro.

The new iPad model that connects to cellular wireless will cost $929, which is almost as much as the Microsoft Surface Pro.

Microsoft's hybrid is $999 and also has 128GB of local storage and offers laptop-like performance. It will launch in the U.S. on Feb. 9, according to Forbes.

"Given what we estimate to be a 3-quarter slide in 10-inch iPad unit sales, we can't help but detect a defensive element to Apple's latest iPad," Glen Yeung of Citibank said in a research note.

Despite Apple's apparent willingness to compete with PCs and hybrids, some say an iPad with that much local storage is unnecessary.

Matt Baxter-Reynolds from ZDNet wrote that only people with very specialized jobs would find the new iPad useful. He said that even companies who provide iPads as application platforms for employees should be fine with no more than 32GB of local storage because those companies usually have their employees use Wi-Fi and cloud storage.

"Most people don't need this much local storage, especially not when connectivity is getting better, generic cloud storage is getting more mature, and content providers are getting more capable," Baxter-Reynolds wrote.

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