As always, Apple threw around a mind-boggling number of superlatives at their iPad / Mac event today. The world’s thinnest tablet, the biggest iPhone launch ever, amazing this and incredible that.
Two words that did not get a single mention though, in amongst all the big impressive words and numbers: memory and RAM.
The iPad Air 2 is clearly (very clearly!) the new flagship of the iPad line. It’s got Touch ID, a brand new 64-bit chip specially designed for it, dramatically improved cameras at front and back, significantly faster WiFi and superior LTE capabilites, and so on.
But .. does it have more memory than the measly 1GB that has so far been the most seen in any iPad model? It sure doesn’t look like it – as there was absolutely no word on that at all. And of course Apple has never listed RAM specs for their iPhone or iPad models, and the same holds true for today’s new models. So we won’t know for sure until iFixIt or a similar crew get hold of and dissect one of the new iPad models.
My money is on no change, or at the height of optimistic thoughts maybe 2GB for the iPad Air 2.
The thing is, even 2GB for the iPad Air 2 would actually be a pretty disappointing number. The iPad is and has long been the benchmark, the clear leader in the tablet arena. In terms of hardware, design, build quality, beautiful integration of hardware and software to create a superb user experience, it has been nearly unrivaled.
Apple certainly isn’t shy in talking up the overall improvements to the iPad Air 2:
Not only is iPad Air 2 thinner, it’s also a lot more powerful. We designed a new chip, the A8X, that delivers substantially better CPU and graphics performance than its predecessor. In fact, with its 64-bit desktop-class architecture, iPad Air 2 is as powerful as many personal computers. It’s power efficient, too, with a 10-hour battery life that lets you work, play, surf, and shop all day long.
“As powerful as many personal computers”. Well, that is true in some ways – but certainly not true when it comes to memory. And last I looked memory is a critical performance element on just about any computer – from laptops all the way up to powerful network servers.
It’s almost embarrassing by now to see how little attention Apple pays to RAM on their iPhone and iPad lineups. Even if the iPad Air 2 gets bumped up to 2GB, 2 of the last 3 phones I’ve owned had 33% more – 3GB.
The theory that many will put forward is that somehow the iPhone and iPad just don’t need more memory or memory specs that come close to their Android rivals. I don’t buy that either. I’ve just had too much first-hand experience with Safari tabs that have to reload from scratch each time I switch away and return to the app. Too many times where an app will fail to load or perform miserably until a number of background apps are closed down.
The iPad is a mobile computer, and Apple themselves compare its capabilities to those of a PC. It’s way past time for them to start giving it an amount of memory that is in line with the quality of its other specs.