iPhone 4 confirmed to have 512MB of RAM | iLounge News


iPhone 4 confirmed to have 512MB of RAM

Apple’s new iPhone 4 will contain 512MB of RAM. Mac Rumors reports it has verified that Apple confirmed the 512MB figure during last week’s WWDC conference. The 512MB will give the iPhone 4 double the RAM of the iPad, third-generation iPod touch, or iPhone 3GS, and will give iOS more memory to use when multitasking. In addition, the report states that Apple has said iMovie for iOS will only run on the iPhone 4, and not the iPhone 3GS nor the iPad, suggesting that the application may require iPhone 4’s extra RAM.

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These are the sorts of things that make me criticize Apple: A $500-$840 tablet computerish device shipped with… 256MB of RAM? In 2010? And now a device that, quite literally, just finished its world wide release is already incompatible with an Apple created app that is out just a couple of months later…

RAM is dirt, dirt, dirt cheap nowadays, at the volume Apple is buying these chips, the difference in cost between 256MB and 2GB is negligible, so why is Apple still putting less memory than a decent desktop needed 15 years ago if these things are supposed to be so powerful?

I’d gladly pay the $20 retail 2GB of memory would cost if only Apple would actually put it in there.

Posted by Code Monkey on June 17, 2010 at 4:45 PM (CDT)


Whoops, make that $40, hit the submit button too quick.

Posted by Code Monkey on June 17, 2010 at 4:46 PM (CDT)


i feel you code monkey on some aspects, but not all ram is created equal, and with that said not all ram is dirt dirt cheap.  Amount of memory is not all that determines price.  Physical size, and speed are two other important factors that play a major role in the price of ram, and can cause a pretty large jump in price.

Posted by Miles PO on June 17, 2010 at 5:06 PM (CDT)


What you are probably reading is an incomplete headline that doesn’t tell you that this isn’t a storage ram, but ram actually on the chip.  The bigger the cache memory, the more data the chip can access quicker.  As you probably know, the IPAD comes with up to 64 GB of storage ram.  Even though we are talking apples and apples here, the ram in question is the difference of apples and oranges.  A better headline might clear this up.

Posted by anincompleteheadline on June 17, 2010 at 5:08 PM (CDT)


Great posts and spot on everyone. I agree that there should be more user ram but considering the possible limitations of putting that on the same chip as the proc, Apple went the easy route. I am curious to see how things shake out once iOS4 is loaded.

Posted by DT on June 17, 2010 at 5:13 PM (CDT)


The RAM is embedded in the A4, so doubling it is not as trivial as snapping it into another slot.

Plus at the volumes Apple ship at, they may get discounted per-unit pricing but the overall cost is going to be roughly double, requiring more capital outlay.

They will likely sell every unit they make but there’s always the risk that sales drop off.  Say Android tablets undercut them by $200 this fall, for instance.

Anyways, there aren’t too many complaints about iPad speed.  It could always be better, especially with multitasking and using more RAM.  But it’s already a well-performing unit and if the competition drives expectations for better performance, then they can revisit the issue for iPad 2.

Posted by wco81 on June 17, 2010 at 7:02 PM (CDT)


Seeing as the iPad HAS NO CAMERA, it is conceivable that Apple did not intend iMovie at this stage in the game. 
It took 4 generations of iPhones for Apple to come to this point, and I think it’s very smart to see if iPads:

1) sold well at all
2) demand is there for this task.

They already know this for the iPhone demo, so sit back and relax there inpatient Code Monkey.  Really.

Posted by sb on June 17, 2010 at 8:06 PM (CDT)


Some great points here. I was about to say that the App in question is not intended for the iPad as it has no still or video camera capability. In fact, I would say Apple felt that the increase in RAM for iPhone 4 was necessary for the improved imaging. Now that it is being included in the A4, the next iPad will most likely have the 512 as it will be the standard build now. Like someone else stated, no one is really complaining about speed issues with the iPad. I heard it was quite snappy in fact.

Posted by Mitch on June 17, 2010 at 8:54 PM (CDT)


@ #4 ... nothing wrong with the headline, any reasonable person would know this is RAM, not 256MB of memory for storage.

The A4 processor does not have RAM on the chip itself, it is “Package on Package” (PoP) design such that the RAM is attached to the CPU package.  And since the iPad uses the same A4 CPU, Apple has found a way to bump the attached RAM to 512MB in iPhone 4. However, it remains to be seen whether or not the iPhone architecture still uses a 64-bit wide bus as on the iPad (I would have to believe so).

It is likely that the iPad development pre-dates the iPhone 4 development cycle far enough such that the iPad design was locked in by the time the 512MB capability was proven out.  So, I would expect this change to find its way into the iPad someday.

I think the fundamental issue Code Monkey brings up is: considering the closeness of the releases of these two product lines, one would think that there would’ve been a desire on Apple’s part to fold in the 512MB of RAM into the iPad at the last minute. But, perhaps this is all part of Apple’s modus operandi to stagger enhancements to a product line.

Posted by rockmyplimsoul on June 17, 2010 at 9:04 PM (CDT)


rockmyplimsoul - I would buy into that modus operandi if Apple had hyped this significant RAM increase.

I am more apt to agree with your other point. The iPad was deep into it’s release schedule when the 512 threshold was broached. Apple does tend to not rush hardware out without plenty of testing. Testing in the lab. Testing at Steve’s house. Testing at a beer garden…

Posted by Mitch on June 17, 2010 at 9:33 PM (CDT)


Well, seeing as how Apple hasn’t acknowledged the 512MB (they’re usually mum about stuff like that with the iPhone ... no need to confuse consumers with technical jargon), perhaps the hype has yet to begin. If anything, this memory increase may be touted in terms of a specific capability rather than a numbers game.

Posted by rockmyplimsoul on June 17, 2010 at 10:34 PM (CDT)


How nice it is to have confirmed the hidden limitations of the “magical” iPad so many of us paid good money for.  It’s pretty incredible that Apple can 1) sell a device like the iPad while knowingly hiding such weakness (and it is a weakness that will rear it’s ugly head come iOS4) and 2) release a new phone that is more powerful than the iPad that preceeds it.

Pisses me off.

Posted by SantiagoDraco on June 18, 2010 at 12:51 AM (CDT)


While 512 MB of RAM is clearly minimal in a personal computer, things are different in a mobile device. 

First, like mentioned, the RAM is built onto the A4 chip.  There are no A8 chips that accept SO-DIMM ram chips, so the “ram is cheap” argument is meaningless.  There are A8 chips that have 1 GB on the die, but they are much larger than Apple’s A4, especially the one that they squeezed into the iPhone.

Second, with some clever coding, 512 MB or even 256 MB is not much of a limitation on the mobile front.  On the busiest day, you will never half even half of the number of processes running on your mobile device than you would on your Mac.  It’s comparing apples and oranges, and it’s really meaningless.

All that said, 512 MB in a mobile device is pretty standard for a high-powered phone at this point, and it’s more than capable for a lot of very advanced tasks on a mobile unit.  In fact, when the iPad was released, the only A8 chips with 512 MB on board were double or triple the size of the iPad’s A4.  The fact that they squeezed 512 MB in while making the entire chip smaller for the iPhone 4 is pretty remarkable. 

Stop complaining, your iPhone will work great.  Jeesh.

Posted by Andy on June 18, 2010 at 7:11 AM (CDT)


#12 - Where exactly will this RAM issue come into play on the iPad? I am not being facetious, I really want to know. I assume you have an iPad. Do you often wish it was considerably faster? Most of the reviews I have read actually state that it is pretty darned fast. I do not have one, so I really do not know.

You mention hidden “limitations”. What will you be limited on once iOS4 comes out. The iMovie app that is mentioned is not an iPad app anyway. iPad has no video camera, therefore it has no need for video editing software.

In reality, the iPhone probably needed this boost in RAM for those exact reasons. It has an HD video camera (producing HD video content) and it will have the ability to edit this content. Those are RAM intensive features. While 256 probably does not negatively affect those iPads, it certainly would have been an issue on the iPhone 4.

Would you have been ticked off if Apple had pushed the iPad release to June to wait for this RAM increase capability? An increase that would quite possibly bring nothing major to the table given the hardware and functionality of the iPad. I would have been ticked. In truth, had this info not been reported, you probably never would have known your iPad was already a slow, underpowered dinosaur. Because it isn’t. It is still a quick, functional entertainment device.

Posted by Mitch on June 18, 2010 at 7:36 AM (CDT)


#12. This wasn’t a “limitation” until you got ticked that iPhone 4 has more RAM.  I use my ipad for the bulk of my job now and I’ve never felt it was slow for anying.

IPhone 4 is an HD generating device.  IMovie for iPad is unnecessary.  I wish I could run it on my 3GS, but I’ll survive until I can upgrade in 18 months.

Posted by DP on June 18, 2010 at 12:03 PM (CDT)


My iPad has taken over an amazing amount of my laptop time.
Never had an issue.
Fast. Just works.
So yes, I see the whining because someone says the new iPhone has more RAM.  Wah wah. 
You people are ridiculous.
Obviously, the iOS 4 for iPad is different from the iPhone because it’s not coming until Fall.  Maybe, just maybe, Apple knows what it’s doing and it will work just fine.
Tell me about the “limitations” you have…I’ll wait.
Oh yeah, no iMovie.  Well, you bought it knowing it had no iMovie, so…

Posted by sb on June 18, 2010 at 2:37 PM (CDT)


I work in cell-based hardware, so I can attest to how common Apple’s testing methods are. Supposedly, the prototype that was lost at the bar was mainly for testing the new antenna setup, so it doesn’t matter what apps or memory is in there. The only thing that really matters is the baseband. I’ve gone in my test vehicles with three or four devices, all GPS equipped, attached to the car to do “Verizon guy” type tests.

As for the iPad’s lack of memory, there really isn’t much of a complaint on my part. I’ve jailbroken it and used Backgrounder, and the iPad is capable of handling 2-4 apps with ease, including stuff that runs in the background like Pandora. Now, these can crash every so often since they weren’t written for a multitasking environment, but it’s not a very big deal since the apps start back up so quickly. 512 MB should be plenty to make apps run well, though I suspect that the RAM boost was just as much for the new video capabilities as anything else. What’s really amazing is that all of these new mobile OS options do everything in low power without a swap file. That’s progress.

Posted by marinelayer on June 18, 2010 at 2:49 PM (CDT)


I feel like a fool for buying the iPad.  What was I thinking?  This magical device that is suppose to bridge the gap between smart phones and a PC is anything but.  How does Apple justify all of this.  I mean basically the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad are all the same platform, right.  How do you justify the price of the iPad when a smaller device under the same platform has more tech.  I’m not buying that the iPad’s screen is what justifies the price increase, 
not when the new iPhone is packed with so much more.  More ram, a gyroscope, front facing camera, rear camera with a flash, retina display, and it’s a phone.  How can they release them so close together and not see that customers would feel screwed?  The new iPhone appears to offer so much
more than the iPad, but I’m being lead to believe that my iPad is suppose to bridge the gap between a iPhone and a Mac.  Is that not the way Apple advertised it, along with the non existent unlimited 3G data plan.

Yeah it’s magical alright.

Posted by MCM on June 18, 2010 at 5:16 PM (CDT)


@#18, all I can say is, LM*O!  You are a card.

Posted by sb on June 18, 2010 at 5:30 PM (CDT)


lol @ people blaming Apple after regretting the iPad. This is why you think about whether you actually need the product, or whether it actually warrants a purchase, instead of just blindly following a company.

Posted by JD on June 18, 2010 at 7:43 PM (CDT)

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