Top-tier 2018 iPad Pro might get more RAM

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The 2018 iPad Pro might have more RAM than its predecessor, but only if you buy one of the most expensive versions.
The 2018 iPad Pro might have more RAM than its predecessor, but only if you buy one of the most expensive versions.
Photo: Apple

Apple has reportedly pegged the amount of RAM in the new iPad Pro to the amount of storage capacity. If this is true, it will be a significant departure for the company. Even on the pricy MacBook Pro line, RAM is consistent between versions of the same model, no matter how much storage is included.

If this report isn’t true, than every version of the 2018 iPad Pro will have 50 percent more RAM that the tablet Apple released last year.

2018 iPad Pro RAM: Good news, everyone!

Noted developer and Apple enthusiast Steve Troughton-Smith was tinkering with Xcode and discovered that the iPad Pros unveiled today have 6GB of RAM, up from 4GB in the previous versions.

He had to find this number out indirectly because, for some reason, Apple doesn’t announce how much RAM is built into its tablets and phones. So it’s up to others to figure it out.

Or maybe just sort of good news

Troughton-Smith took to Twitter to announce his discovery, but then quickly had a follow-up message: “Multiple people are telling me that only the 1TB iPad Pros get 6GB RAM.”

According to these unnamed sources, it doesn’t matter if you buy the 12.9- or 11-inch version of the tablet. Going for the maximum amount of storage is required to get the additional RAM. The cost of these top-tier versions is $1749 or $1549, depending on the screen size.

Varying the amount of RAM depending on other options isn’t unusual for competing computer makers. Take the new iPad Pro’s top rival, the Microsoft Surface Pro 6. Only the versions of this device with 512GB or 1TB of storage are available with 16GB of RAM. Choosing a smaller amount of storage requires also getting less RAM.

But as mentioned, Apple doesn’t follow this strategy. It will be surprising if that’s changed with the 2018 iPad Pro. Not impossible, just surprising.

2018 iPad Pro RAM: More is better, but not always a lot better

To consider what the difference between 4GB and 6GB of RAM means for the iPad Pro, take a look at one of Troughton-Smith’s follow-ups to his own post: “6GB of RAM is a *lot* of future-proofing for these iPads. It’s 50% more than before, which was already nowhere near saturated by the apps we use.”

iOS is very efficient about using RAM.  The current 4GB in the 2017 iPad Pro is probably more than necessary. Adding to 50 percent on top of that is gilding the lily.

You can perform a real-world test to demonstrate this to yourself. Open a dozen applications on a iPad Pro. Now scroll back to the first one and see if it needs to reload because the tablet ran out of RAM.  (Don’t use ones that connect to the Internet, as these will sometime automatically refresh themselves to get new content.)

Our 4GB test device passed this with flying colors. It could hold over a dozen apps in RAM simultaneously. So it will be nice if the 2018 iPad Pro has 6GB of RAM, but as Troughton-Smith pointed out that’s just future-proofing the device in case that huge amount is needed someday.