iPod touch 4G teardown: Only 256MB of RAM | iLounge News


iPod touch 4G teardown: Only 256MB of RAM


iFixit has posted its teardown of the fourth-generation iPod touch, discovering several interesting details about the new media player. Most notably, the touch 4G’s A4 processor carries the same marking on it as the iPad’s A4, indicating that the new device offers only 256MB of RAM, which is somewhat surprising given that the iPhone 4 has 512MB of RAM. The iPod touch 4G also features a a slightly thinner front-facing camera module, and it appears that the LCD and front glass panel are fused together like the iPhone 4’s, meaning users will need to replace both components should one become damaged and/or fail to function properly.

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I would like to express outrage, but I’m too used to this. For the value of a fast food burger, if that much, in extra profits, Apple pretty much halves the performance on touch users over iPhone 4.

Psst… Apple, over here, I have a clue for you: the profits you’d make from your cut on *one* higher end app sale would cover this cost differential. The probability that devs will make such higher end apps is greatly increased when you ship ALL models from a given year with comparable horsepower.

Posted by Code Monkey on September 8, 2010 at 5:27 PM (CDT)


I thought the iPod Touch was, “an iPhone minus the ‘phone,’” not, “the iPhone’s inbred handicapped 3rd cousin.”

Under than the profit motive hinted at by #1, I fail to see why Apple so terribly cripples the iPod Touch vs. the iPhone… maybe it’s a way to make the iPad (a.k.a. the “big iPod Touch”) that much more appealing?

Posted by Farnsworth on September 8, 2010 at 5:46 PM (CDT)


I am also disappointed but it seems that Apple wants to keep the iPod touch at the bottom of the iOS pecking order. I would image the iPad 2G will have 512MB RAM and so will the iPod touch 5G in 2011. This keeps them behind the flagship iPhone product.

Posted by Propeciakid on September 8, 2010 at 5:48 PM (CDT)


While it remains to be seen if this lesser RAM has any effect on performance, any good Marketeer will tell you that you don’t want to blow your load all at once. Sure, we all want the top of the line features NOW, but doing that eats away at incentives that entice future sales.

In the world of product life-cyle management, the name of the game is incremental gains. Even if you have the ability to make the most outstanding product today, if you don’t have any real competition (or don’t think you do), why not hold back some candy for next year’s “recruits” (aka iPod customers)?  We should all be used to this game by now.

Posted by rockmyplimsoul on September 8, 2010 at 6:33 PM (CDT)


Half the ram, crippled camera MP and a screen that isn’t as nice as the iPhone 4.

Remind me again why I would want to buy one?

Posted by Kloan on September 8, 2010 at 6:54 PM (CDT)


Lesser Ram absolutely impacts performance.  I regularly get down to <10 MB of ram on my jailbroken 3GS if I haven’t quit Safari in the background (with no third party apps running in the background), and I have no doubt that the situation will be only worse on the new iPod Touch and the iPad with their higher resolution screens and correspondingly higher memory using apps.

This is absolutely inexcusable. 

Crappy rear camera with no flash or autofocus, no GPS, crappy speaker, no vibration, non-IPS screen, and now half the memory.  Apple must really think that people will buy whatever crap they put in a box just because it is the newest thing.

Posted by 0megapart!cle on September 8, 2010 at 7:14 PM (CDT)


“Apple must really think that people will buy whatever crap they put in a box just because it is the newest thing.”

Unfortunately, history would say that’s pretty accurate.

Posted by rockmyplimsoul on September 8, 2010 at 8:04 PM (CDT)


@#5 - Because it costs $230 instead of $599, the price of an iPhone 4 without a contract.


Posted by aj on September 8, 2010 at 8:40 PM (CDT)


They took the 8GB ipod apart. its very possible that the 32 or 64 have the new A4 in them as apple has made the 8GB model worse before. So the 32 and 64 could possibly have the 512MB of RAM. But we’ll never know until someone takes those ones apart.

Posted by DrT on September 8, 2010 at 9:37 PM (CDT)


@4: Here’s the thing, it may not have any noticeable effect *because* devs will have to write everything with that constraint in mind. So long as Apple, in pursuit of such incremental profits, ships deliberately hamstrung touches next to the phone in terms of such basic components of RAM, it holds EVERYONE back (except Apple’s major stock holders).

RAM is too cheap for them to be shipping devices with these asininely teeny amounts of RAM. I get it, the touch is going to have a cheaper screen, a cheaper chassis, a cheaper camera, but it should not be hamstrung on the processor or its supporting RAM because, while the others are effectively cosmetic, the processor and RAM are not. As the saying goes: you’re only as fast as your slowest runner.

So either we wind up with a scenario where the better hardware of the iPhone goes to waste because devs don’t take advantage of it since half or more of all in-use iOS devices don’t have that sort of capability, or we wind up in a scenario where half or more of all in-use iOS device users get shoddy performance because their device doesn’t measure up to the iPhone that devs used as their benchmarks.

Posted by Code Monkey on September 8, 2010 at 11:05 PM (CDT)


Do we know that ALL the new iPod touches have 256MB RAM or are people just assuming? Because so far iFixit only took the 8GB version apart. And the 8GB version was always “special” in some way.

Posted by Mike11 on September 8, 2010 at 11:42 PM (CDT)


I am an IPod virgin should I buy the 4th generation or a 3rd for less money?

Posted by Pskogie on September 8, 2010 at 11:54 PM (CDT)


@8 - You get what you pay for.

Posted by Kloan on September 9, 2010 at 5:25 AM (CDT)


@8, but the difference in cost per unit for 256 versus 512 is most likely around $2. I can live with the lesser screen, I can live with the cheaper chassis, what I can’t abide is Apple charging me $70 for 16GB of flash storage (about a 400% markup for the parts cost) and then deciding that $2 to double the RAM is too hard on their bottom line.

I will never understand why people feel the need to defend greedy and selfish choices by corporations that are actively working against them.

Posted by Code Monkey on September 9, 2010 at 9:09 AM (CDT)


@14, the point that you place is very true. Even if it did add about $5 to the cost of the touch they couldve implemented it among all the models. of coarse the 8gig version is probably for people with very small music libraries and cant hold as much so there isnt that much to multi task to. but they still market the thing as a a protable game player. most of the games now stay in the RAM when theyre closed and 256MB isnt enoguh. When my ipod starts up it says that about 130 MB is free. this gets filled up very quickly from even being in the music app bringin it to 50MB. thats like a second gen.
One of the main reasons that i wanted to upgrade from my 3rd gen to the 4th gen was for the increase in RAM. now apple preetty much lost a customer. i want all the other new things but this one thing is stopping me. until they figure out that they “better” models have more RAM they will probably lost alot of their customers.

Posted by DrT on September 9, 2010 at 10:08 PM (CDT)


ntil they figure out that they “better” models have more RAM they will probably lost alot of their customers.”

I wish, but probably not. It’s unlikely that more than a single digit percentage of iPod owners (and potential owners) could tell you more than the most abstract details about the tech under the hood. Nor would but a subset of that small percentage have an inkling of a clue about what that means for software development for the platform. I suppose, in truth, with the tens of millions of second and third gen touches and third gen iPhones out there with even lesser capabilities devs would also like to sell to that I’m probably over emphasizing the effect in the immediate future, but it’s still a bad decision overall for everyone involved except the stockholders.

I suppose I shouldn’t at all be surprised since, having followed Apple casually since the 80s and more closely since the mid 90s, it is clear that Apple chooses short term profits over long term gains 19 times out of 20 and, in spite of this supposedly bad business plan have, at the least, survived and down right thrived the last 10 years (sure it cost them nearly 20 points in the personal computer market, but who’s counting that ;-)?

What most people don’t seem to get about Apple is they have never given much of a damn about customer retention. Their business model and their profit model is built on selling to uncritical newbies to their products who don’t know about and/or don’t care about their shortcomings. As I said in another post somewhere, Steve Jobs boasting about 50% of Mac customers being first time buyers in the 2010 keynote, a stat very much like Apple has dropped many times in the past is NOT a good thing: if you consider the general stability of Apple’s market share, the slow rate of growth of the market, and the growing size of their sales, what it means is that half or more of all of these first time buyers never come back after a purchase or two.

Posted by Code Monkey on September 11, 2010 at 9:02 AM (CDT)


They currently don’t have the space or the tech to increase the RAM to 512mb.

Posted by okol on January 6, 2011 at 1:12 AM (CST)


i don’t know whats wrong with them but apple you loose one customer and that is me . i will not wait for the ipod touch with 512 mb ram but i will buy another device

Posted by rohit on January 19, 2011 at 8:29 AM (CST)


How could you even discrace or judge such a perfect piece of technology. 256MB of ram is all the I touch needs. Stop speculating so much and just enjoy it.

Retina is perfect, and so oh so pretty.
Processors fast.
And it does everything as the iphone.

People talk shit.

Posted by Cal C. on January 19, 2011 at 6:44 PM (CST)


Apple gets cheap all the time.
It seems they’re only concerned about short-term profits and they put the dollar too far ahead in priority by sacrificing what people really need.

it’s like being a penny wise and dollar stupid.

By producing the iPod with half the on-chip memory as the iPhone has the net effect of ruining the performance on the iPhone as well because programmers tend to write programs that will run on the slowest machines. This is because the cost to code in a program that specially takes advantage of more RAM on the chip is practically like rewriting the code from scratch. So it’s more cost-effective and easier to write a single program to run on both platforms.

The other major mistake when selling the iPod is the inability to upgrade the memory at a future date. If Apple had their head screwed on straight, and really wanted to make some money. They could trick people to buying the cheaper iPod As they do now and then when the customer realizes that he or she needs more memory, they could send it back to Apple for an upgrade for a fee.

as it stands now, if you buy the model too little memory the consumer is forced to, suck it up, pay up and purchase a new one,  “as if everybody has extra money to throw around”, or by an android.
  “At least then you can use flash applications.”

If you buy the bottom of the line unit you’re very limited to what you can do at the least you would need a 32 MB system. Unless you’re just looking for simple organizer.

It sure is crummy to be poor and always having to buy the cheap stuff that doesn’t really work right but it’s the best you can do for your you or your loved ones if you’re buying it as a gift.

Posted by michael azar on February 11, 2011 at 12:25 AM (CST)

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