Phil Schiller again defends Touch Bar MacBook Pro’s 16GB RAM limitation – Apple Insider

“The MacBook Pro uses 16GB of very fast LPDDR memory, up to 2133MHz,” Schiller said. “To support 32GB of memory would require using DDR memory that is not low power and also require a different design of the logic board which might reduce space for batteries. Both factors would reduce battery life.”

If there’s less space for batteries, maybe the computer needs to be a bit thicker.

This shows how out of touch Apple executives are with their users. The pro users complaining about the new MacBook Pros don’t give a damn about these Macs being thinner; they want them to be usable. While not everyone needs 32 GB, the idea of limiting RAM because you want to make a computer thinner is simply unfathomable.

It’s interesting to watch Apple squirm. They reduced prices on adapters and dongles because of customer complaints. They slashed the prices on the new 4K and 5K displays, though the reduced prices, if temporary like those for adapters, may not last until the new displays ship. And they’ve had to explain the RAM limitation several times. People are not buying these excuses. Apple is making the computer they want, not the computer its users need.

Source: Phil Schiller again defends Touch Bar MacBook Pro’s 16GB RAM limitation

32 thoughts on “Phil Schiller again defends Touch Bar MacBook Pro’s 16GB RAM limitation – Apple Insider

  1. Too many so called ‘Pro’ users were getting bent out of shape before *anyone* had even used the machine!

    The simple fact is 16GB is plenty, because should any user hit that limit, after memory compression which will add 50% memory capacity, the system will swap so fast (using SSD PCI connection 4-5 faster than standard SATA) that you won’t even notice memory issues.

    Someone also posted a video showing about 30 apps open without issue and Apple is only commenting because so many people have got this issue wrong. Intel are constraining what Apple want to do at the moment.

    IMHO, The main issue was not at least supplying a USB-C -> USB-A cable, so that out of the box someone can at least charge their iPhone. And the price is always an issue, but updates to Kaby Lake CPU’s will improve value next year. At that point the machine could actually replace an iMac by using 1 or 2 displays.

    • I think there’s still an overal price-performance ratio problem with these new laptops. While the unibody design is time-tested, the touch bar is a great addition and the screen is excellent, there’s still a problem with the guts of the machine. For professionals utilizing 4K video and huge images, 16GB *is* starting to be restrictive. The GPU is a complete joke and going to be obsolete within a year.

      The USB-C argument will continue for a while, but largely be irrelevant by the end of 2017. I agree with you, they should have thrown in an adapter for USB-C to A simply so you can even use their own products together.

      But, ultimately, here’s a real story:

      I have a 2013 rMBP that I utilize for a variety of things: I write, I program, I run complex weather models, I edit/produce video, I do hobbyist photography, I play video games, and all of the other typical things people use computers for. I’ve been considering updating for a while, but had been holding out for the refresh. While I’m excited about the possibilities of the touch bar and love the practical improvements to the screen and SSDs, ultimately the guts of the machine are underwhelming for something that would cost me > $4000. 16GB of RAM is restrictive for my weather models.

      Lets put the GPU in perspective: Apple put a mobile version of a $120 desktop card that is designed to compete with a mid-range card from last year into their $3000+ laptop. Sure, it can power a bunch of 2D pixels, but it’s going to really struggle with anything even approaching a moderate requirement for 3D graphics or complex floating point calculations. It’s simply a no-go for me, and that’s with their top-end option.

      The CPU also leaves a bit to be desired, but the field has been relatively stagnant for a while now.

      Ultimatley, this laptop is not “for” me. In fact, I’m not sure who it’s for, exactly. The touch bar seems like a mass-market feature, yet it’s only in their top-end products. The cost is prohibitive for a large segment of the market. The people who have the money to throw around could easily get something substantially more powerfully for half the price, or buy the Apple product. I’m one of those people, and I’ve generally found that the Apple tax is worth it. This year? Not so sure.

      I really love macOS and a whole host of the software available on the platform. And it’s clear Apple has a vision of where computing is going. I think this year was the arrival of a bunch of new ideas for the platform, but a misfire. I don’t think it means they’re abandoning the Mac or are doomed or anything. It’s part of design and pushing things forward. Hopefully for the next revision they can sort through the feedback, improve upon some of these core deficiencies.

      Or hopefully these changes inform a very measured update to the iMac and I move into a 2-computer setup with a cheaper laptop.

  2. Too many so called ‘Pro’ users were getting bent out of shape before *anyone* had even used the machine!

    The simple fact is 16GB is plenty, because should any user hit that limit, after memory compression which will add 50% memory capacity, the system will swap so fast (using SSD PCI connection 4-5 faster than standard SATA) that you won’t even notice memory issues.

    Someone also posted a video showing about 30 apps open without issue and Apple is only commenting because so many people have got this issue wrong. Intel are constraining what Apple want to do at the moment.

    IMHO, The main issue was not at least supplying a USB-C -> USB-A cable, so that out of the box someone can at least charge their iPhone. And the price is always an issue, but updates to Kaby Lake CPU’s will improve value next year. At that point the machine could actually replace an iMac by using 1 or 2 displays.

    • I think there’s still an overal price-performance ratio problem with these new laptops. While the unibody design is time-tested, the touch bar is a great addition and the screen is excellent, there’s still a problem with the guts of the machine. For professionals utilizing 4K video and huge images, 16GB *is* starting to be restrictive. The GPU is a complete joke and going to be obsolete within a year.

      The USB-C argument will continue for a while, but largely be irrelevant by the end of 2017. I agree with you, they should have thrown in an adapter for USB-C to A simply so you can even use their own products together.

      But, ultimately, here’s a real story:

      I have a 2013 rMBP that I utilize for a variety of things: I write, I program, I run complex weather models, I edit/produce video, I do hobbyist photography, I play video games, and all of the other typical things people use computers for. I’ve been considering updating for a while, but had been holding out for the refresh. While I’m excited about the possibilities of the touch bar and love the practical improvements to the screen and SSDs, ultimately the guts of the machine are underwhelming for something that would cost me > $4000. 16GB of RAM is restrictive for my weather models.

      Lets put the GPU in perspective: Apple put a mobile version of a $120 desktop card that is designed to compete with a mid-range card from last year into their $3000+ laptop. Sure, it can power a bunch of 2D pixels, but it’s going to really struggle with anything even approaching a moderate requirement for 3D graphics or complex floating point calculations. It’s simply a no-go for me, and that’s with their top-end option.

      The CPU also leaves a bit to be desired, but the field has been relatively stagnant for a while now.

      Ultimatley, this laptop is not “for” me. In fact, I’m not sure who it’s for, exactly. The touch bar seems like a mass-market feature, yet it’s only in their top-end products. The cost is prohibitive for a large segment of the market. The people who have the money to throw around could easily get something substantially more powerfully for half the price, or buy the Apple product. I’m one of those people, and I’ve generally found that the Apple tax is worth it. This year? Not so sure.

      I really love macOS and a whole host of the software available on the platform. And it’s clear Apple has a vision of where computing is going. I think this year was the arrival of a bunch of new ideas for the platform, but a misfire. I don’t think it means they’re abandoning the Mac or are doomed or anything. It’s part of design and pushing things forward. Hopefully for the next revision they can sort through the feedback, improve upon some of these core deficiencies.

      Or hopefully these changes inform a very measured update to the iMac and I move into a 2-computer setup with a cheaper laptop.

  3. The 16 GB limit isn’t about a thinner laptop. It is about battery life. Laptops are limited to about 100 Wh because of FAA regulations.

    https://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/ash/ash_programs/hazmat/passenger_info/media/Airline_passengers_and_batteries.pdf

    Even with that large and heavy of a battery, a 32-64 GB DDR4 design would get less battery life than the current MacBook Pro with 16 GB LPDDR3 with a much smaller and lighter battery. There are some who wouldn’t mind that tradeoff but I doubt it is the majority of the target market. Most in the target market will find 16 GB of very fast low-power RAM just fine and get the bonus of having a lighter laptop.

    Until Intel decides to support more RAM or Apple decides to forgo having long lasting batteries, the 16 GB limit won’t change.

    Having said that, Apple has made some pretty awful mistakes with this release. The one that is legitimately Apple’s doing is that the TB3 to TB2 adapters don’t support Display Port 1.2. This is bizarre and unconscionable. If you don’t support previous standards built-in, you make damn sure that your external solution actually provides compatibility. The half-assed TB3-TB2 dongle is nearly useless for many users. What kind of engineering trade-off was needed? Nothing comes to mind except a rushed to market product. The other incompatible TB3 reports may have some legitimacy depending on if Apple is actually following the spec but those are troubling too and very poorly documented by Apple.

    • There’s nothing bizarre about not supporting DP on the Thunderbolt adapter. Why on earth would you use a $50 adapter to connect your monitor, when you could use a $20 cable instead? The monitor you connect with a mDP port on your current computer probably has a regular DP port on it. So use a USB-C to DP cable, and don’t bother with the adapter – save it for Thunderbolt devices that actually use it.

  4. The 16 GB limit isn’t about a thinner laptop. It is about battery life. Laptops are limited to about 100 Wh because of FAA regulations.

    https://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/ash/ash_programs/hazmat/passenger_info/media/Airline_passengers_and_batteries.pdf

    Even with that large and heavy of a battery, a 32-64 GB DDR4 design would get less battery life than the current MacBook Pro with 16 GB LPDDR3 with a much smaller and lighter battery. There are some who wouldn’t mind that tradeoff but I doubt it is the majority of the target market. Most in the target market will find 16 GB of very fast low-power RAM just fine and get the bonus of having a lighter laptop.

    Until Intel decides to support more RAM or Apple decides to forgo having long lasting batteries, the 16 GB limit won’t change.

    Having said that, Apple has made some pretty awful mistakes with this release. The one that is legitimately Apple’s doing is that the TB3 to TB2 adapters don’t support Display Port 1.2. This is bizarre and unconscionable. If you don’t support previous standards built-in, you make damn sure that your external solution actually provides compatibility. The half-assed TB3-TB2 dongle is nearly useless for many users. What kind of engineering trade-off was needed? Nothing comes to mind except a rushed to market product. The other incompatible TB3 reports may have some legitimacy depending on if Apple is actually following the spec but those are troubling too and very poorly documented by Apple.

    • There’s nothing bizarre about not supporting DP on the Thunderbolt adapter. Why on earth would you use a $50 adapter to connect your monitor, when you could use a $20 cable instead? The monitor you connect with a mDP port on your current computer probably has a regular DP port on it. So use a USB-C to DP cable, and don’t bother with the adapter – save it for Thunderbolt devices that actually use it.

  5. I remember when we used to say 640MB was all you need. I feel like I am hearing the same thing all over again. When the only people saying “You don’t need more than 16 gigs” are the ones who don’t need more than 16gig (or even 8), it really is hard to take them seriously. I don’t need more than 16 gigs. Big video does.

    But what is more unconscionable in my opinion is not allowing upgrades of either the ram or internal ssd. Sometimes wanting more is about the future than the present. Two years from now, I just might need 32 gigs (because not all programers know how to write efficient code) or a 2TB internal SSD. Now I have to buy a whole new machine instead of getting more life out of my already expensive investment.

    Joe

  6. I remember when we used to say 640MB was all you need. I feel like I am hearing the same thing all over again. When the only people saying “You don’t need more than 16 gigs” are the ones who don’t need more than 16gig (or even 8), it really is hard to take them seriously. I don’t need more than 16 gigs. Big video does.

    But what is more unconscionable in my opinion is not allowing upgrades of either the ram or internal ssd. Sometimes wanting more is about the future than the present. Two years from now, I just might need 32 gigs (because not all programers know how to write efficient code) or a 2TB internal SSD. Now I have to buy a whole new machine instead of getting more life out of my already expensive investment.

    Joe

  7. The MBPs continue to under deliver and are definitely underpowered. The opening comment sums up your average user. That is not an insult, it’s a good laptop, but it is not pro. MacBook Good.

    Pro users would like a laptop from apple called ‘pro’ to be pro. The MBP is pro as in ‘this is the best we are going to offer you’.

    I feel the MBP has evolved backwards over the last 8 years, apple market it as pro, but it’s not pro. It’s good.

  8. The MBPs continue to under deliver and are definitely underpowered. The opening comment sums up your average user. That is not an insult, it’s a good laptop, but it is not pro. MacBook Good.

    Pro users would like a laptop from apple called ‘pro’ to be pro. The MBP is pro as in ‘this is the best we are going to offer you’.

    I feel the MBP has evolved backwards over the last 8 years, apple market it as pro, but it’s not pro. It’s good.

  9. > If there’s less space for batteries, maybe the computer needs to be a bit thicker.

    Maybe some Pro users who live outside the twitter chatter / latte sipping residents of UK-US cities really appreciate thin + battery life? Today I talked to two pros – photo+video reporters. One of them covered, extensively, the Tohoku (2011) and Kumamoto (2016) earth quakes. The other one is a war photographer, very recently back from the mess in Irak. For them, 16GB is _not_ the issue…

    • I’d like to see sd cards transferring images to the new mbp in war torn, earthquake ravaged areas of the world…..
      damn! Has anyone seen my dongle?

    • “For them, 16GB is _not_ the issue…” But that really does highlight the issue. There are a lot of diverse needs in the Pro community. Apple is not offering a Pro laptop line-up to address a diverse Pro market. All for the sake of aesthetics.

      Joe

  10. > If there’s less space for batteries, maybe the computer needs to be a bit thicker.

    Maybe some Pro users who live outside the twitter chatter / latte sipping residents of UK-US cities really appreciate thin + battery life? Today I talked to two pros – photo+video reporters. One of them covered, extensively, the Tohoku (2011) and Kumamoto (2016) earth quakes. The other one is a war photographer, very recently back from the mess in Irak. For them, 16GB is _not_ the issue…

    • I’d like to see sd cards transferring images to the new mbp in war torn, earthquake ravaged areas of the world…..
      damn! Has anyone seen my dongle?

    • “For them, 16GB is _not_ the issue…” But that really does highlight the issue. There are a lot of diverse needs in the Pro community. Apple is not offering a Pro laptop line-up to address a diverse Pro market. All for the sake of aesthetics.

      Joe

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