Why does the new M1 iPad Pro have 16GB of RAM?

That’s a lot of RAM, and it points to something big that’s coming.

Unpacking Apple's Spring Loaded event

Head over to Apple's website to take in the specs of the new M1-powered iPad Pro and you might notice something interesting. Buried in the tech specs is a line about the M1 chip that made me do a double-take.

The 1TB and 2TB iPad Pro models come with a whopping 16GB of RAM.

The existing iPad Pro has 6GB of RAM, while the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro/Pro max have 4GB and 6GB, respectively.

So, that's a lot of RAM.

The new M1-powered iPad Pro comes with 8GB and 16GB of RAM, depending on storage configurations.

The new M1-powered iPad Pro comes with 8GB and 16GB of RAM, depending on storage configurations.

Must read: Apple strengthens hardware ecosystem, gives hints on iPhone 2021 tech

Now, it might be there to make the higher-capacity models seem more "Pro," but somehow, I doubt it. I mean, the $1,899 for the 11-inch model with 2TB, and a whopping $2,199 for the 12.9-inch model does that nicely.

ZDNet Recommends

The best laptops: Our recommended models for every use case and platform

New year, new laptop? These are the devices that should be at or near the top of your shortlist.

Read More

What's missing here?

What reason could a higher-capacity iPad Pro have to need twice the RAM of its lower-capacity siblings?

The thing that pops into my mind is macOS. I'd initially dismissed this idea, but seeing this huge jump in RAM capacity, it wouldn't surprise me in the least if macOS, in some form, was coming to the iPad Pro at some point in this device's lifespan.

There's little else that would demand such a huge RAM bump. Sure, Google Chrome could eat that in a heartbeat, but that's the sort of RAM bump that would be needed to let iOS and macOS coexist on the same iPad Pro.

The only other thing that I can think of is that Apple is planning even better pro tools for photo and video editing on the iPad Pro, and that those tools would take advantage of the extra 8GB of RAM.

If that's the case, Apple has some powerful tools in the pipeline.

Why do you think the new iPad Pro needs 16GB of RAM?

Show Comments