Much has been said about the cost, trade-offs, and compromises involved with purchasing Apple’s new MacBook Pro. Apple unveiled the device, which comes in three new iterations, yesterday at a press event, and people pouring over its spec sheets and purchase options have complained that its limiting 16GB memory option is severe given the price tag. Apple has now come out and explained that any more RAM in a notebook of its size would have a detrimental effect on battery life.
The answer comes from up high. When a MacRumors reader emailed a general Apple line about a 32GB RAM option, he got a surprise response from marketing chief Phil Schiller himself. Here’s the exchange:
Q: The lack of a 32GB BTO option for the new MBPs raised some eyebrows and caused some concerns (me included). Does ~3GBps bandwidth to the SSD make this a moot issue? I.e. memory paging on a 16GB system is so fast that 32GB is not a significant improvement?
Schiller: Thank you for the email. It is a good question. To put more than 16GB of fast RAM into a notebook design at this time would require a memory system that consumes much more power and wouldn't be efficient enough for a notebook. I hope you check out this new generation MacBook Pro, it really is an incredible system.
So this would seem to undermine any speculation as to whether the new MacBook Pro’s performance upgrades mean a bump in memory isn’t neccesary. Now, Schiller didn’t really answer that part of the question, so there remains the possibility that the improved bandwidth does in fact go a little ways toward making up for the lack of RAM. But Schiller’s reply does point a more concrete finger at battery life, which Apple tends to prioritize over other benefits in its notebook lines.