WWDC 2021 didn't answer one of Apple's biggest mysteries

I was hoping that WWDC would shed light on the mystery of why some M1 iPad Pros have 16GB of RAM. It didn't.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

Rewind back to April when Apple released its new M1-powered iPad Pro tablets. Here we got a crossover between the Mac and the iPad, where Apple put its new silicon into the high-end iPad Pro.

But it went further than that.

The 1TB and 2TB versions of the iPad Pro -- hardware that costs as much as many Macs -- were kitted out with a whopping 16GB of RAM. That's more RAM than some Macs have. [See: Apple iPad Pro]

What's the deal with that?

I'd hoped that the WWDC 2021 keynote would shed some light on this. Perhaps a release of Final Cut Pro for the iPad Pro, or some new AR trickery, or something like virtualization support.

That's a negative.

So, the high-end iPad Pro is equipped with a heavyweight amount of RAM, and yet beyond allowing more apps to remain open in memory, it's not leveraged in any specific way.

So, what's the deal?

One possibility is that Apple did this so that there was more than storage differentiating the lower-capacity iPad Pros from the higher-capacity versions. It would make sense because Apple is no stranger to being criticized for overcharging customers for RAM and storage.

Now you're paying for both RAM and storage, which blurs the cost lines a little.

Another possibility is that Apple is streamlining its supply chains for the M1 chip and is offering an outlet for versions with 16GB of RAM, even if it doesn't mean that much.

Then there's the possibility that Apple just wanted people to see it and talk about it. After all, it's odd for Apple to mention how much RAM iPhones and iPads have, so this 16GB number stands out not just as different, but as a big number.

It's a very dull, banal reason, but in the absence of anything that leverages this amount of RAM, it's starting to feel like the most plausible.

Why do you think the M1 iPad Pro has 16GB of RAM?

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