Apple limits 2016 MacBook Pro models to 16GB of RAM to maximize battery life

“Despite featuring more energy efficient Skylake processors, faster SSDs, better GPUs, and new thermal architecture, Apple’s revamped MacBook Pros continue to max out at 16GB RAM,” Juli Clover reports for MacRumors.

“Many customers have been wondering why Apple didn’t bump up the maximum RAM to 32GB, including MacRumors reader David, who emailed Apple to ask and got an explanation from marketing chief Phil Schiller,” Clover reports. “According to Schiller, more than 16GB RAM would consume too much power and have a negative impact on battery life.”

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 – Phi Schiller, Apple’s Senior Vice President Worldwide Marketing

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Would have been a cool feature to allow 32GB RAM onboard, but let the user to allocate a lower amount of it while running off battery. Maybe next time?

SEE ALSO:
The key mission of Apple’s new MacBook Pros – October 28, 2016
TIME Magazine: Apple’s new MacBook Pro Touch Bar is an inventive new way to get work done more quickly – October 28, 2016
Apple does touch right and, as usual, Microsoft does it wrong – October 28, 2016
IBT: Apple’s MacBook Pro Touch Bar is the coolest thing ever; will change the way we use laptops – October 28, 2016
Wired hands on with Apple’s New MacBook Pro: It’s a whole new kind of laptop – October 27, 2016
CNET on the new MacBook Pro: Apple’s amazing strip show reinvents the notebook – October 27, 2016
Hands on with Apple’s new MacBook Pro: Looks and feels so good it’s unreal – October 27, 2016
Apple debuts three new TV ads for all-new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar – October 27, 2016
Apple unveils groundbreaking new MacBook Pro with revolutionary Touch Bar and huge Force Touch trackpad – October 27, 2016

141 Comments

    1. @killerz

      I agree. Yet here are the major concerns no fanboy is talking about, in addition to the BS cap on RAM for professionals:

      No USB 2 or 3 (more adapter money for Apple and more headaches carrying around unneeded crap for consumers and business travelers)

      No card reader support

      Sealed case (no RAM or SSD upgrades so Cook can charge you 500 percent markups for extra storage upgrades)

      No magsafe (intentional move to derive more money from accidental breakage)

      Yet he charges you several hundred dollars for TouchiD (that first appeared years ago in the iPhone 5S); and for a gimmicky touch bar using a failed AW chip to give you access to your most important files… emojis!

      This is clearly no longer a “Pro” machine. It’s just a larger version of the amateur Macbook appliance. Tim Cook is a complete and utter joke. Yet some are still surprised that investors are pulling their money out of Apple; and the fact that Wall Street has long since lost confidence in this buffoon.

      When Microsoft is out innovating you, time to wake up fast. At this rate Apple will be the new IBM in just a few short years!

      1. they are clearly trying to slowly kill off their computer lineup. this was steve’s plan years ago, which is why they changed the company name to just “apple inc”. more profit in iPhones and iPads

        1. Have you actually used Windows 10 Pro? I have and it’s rock solid for me. I can honestly say it’s the first version of Windows that I actually like. Apple is not giving me what I need in a desktop Mac, so I’m off to build a Hackintosh that doesn’t require any hacked drivers to run. Many current Gigabyte, ASUS, EVGA, AsRock motherboards run macOS 10.12 Sierra right out of the box.

          1. I have run it too on a school computer. Pretty much no drama.

            Mac user since 1988. I produce HTML5 motion graphics for web use. The app I use to produce them was created by ex-Apple employees, it is key to my side business. For the first time, they are considering developing the app for Windows.

            I use several other support apps to produce the graphics. The important ones are also available for Windows.

            Point is: My support apps have the same interface on both operating systems. My critical HTML5 app would have the same interface if they decide to develop it for Windows.

            It would be a hard change to make after 27 years, but it is something I would have to think about.

            Flame away if you choose.

      2. “This is clearly no longer a “Pro” machine. It’s just a larger version of the amateur Macbook appliance.”

        Sadly, regrettably, you have summed it up perfectly. The walled garden has now grown to epic proportions.

        CLUELESS COOK needs to move on.

        Apple owner since my Lisa … 😡

      3. Look at what we lost…

        MagSafe. <- Dongle needed to duplicate functionality
        USA-A 3.0 <- Dongle needed or hub to convert to USB type A connector
        HDMI <- Dongle needed for USB-C to HDMI
        Display Port. <- Dongle needed for USB-C to DisplayPort
        SD Card <- Dongle needed for USB-C to USB type A connector to camera, or get a card reader
        Thunderbolt Connectors <- Dongle needed for Thunderbolt via USB-C
        TOSLink Digital Audio connector <- Dongle needed (if available) or get gear for new USB-C connection

        The ability to connect an iPhone to a new MacBook Pro without buying a dongle or a new USB-C to Lightning

        It's all about the dongles.

        1. Granted we are in a transitionary time with wired connectivity. But you’ll note that every one of your connectors (save the SD slot” and possibly toslink) can be replaced with the single USB-C interface.

          So the choice is to keep multiple cords for each type of external device indefinately OR keep one multi use dongle and slowly attrition out legacy devices as you replace them with devices sporting the universal USB-C interface.

          As for magsafe – I miss that one. But I don’t know if that was a simple marketing choice or a technical one.

          Apple’s train keeps moving – parallel ports, floppy drives, CD rom drives, no internal drives etc etc. The choice is to hop on for the ride or not.

          If you feel replacing 5 different kinds of connectors for a single one is “losing” than so be it. I don’t.

          1. If Apple cared about user experience, it would offer a few legacy connections while RAPIDLY transitioning its entire lineup to the new connector. But clearly Apple assumes people will just buy overpriced dongles every time they pull this stunt. It doesn’t have to be this way.

            Right now our house is a mess of cables, not one is USB-C. We can’t even plug in an iOS device to the newest MacBooks without buying an adapter. Only a couple external displays support USB-C without an adapter. I bet there’s a 10 to 1 ratio of people who would rather have an extra 0.15 inch thickness and a half pound more battery and one of each legacy connector plus one new USB-C port. On the next minor update Apple could start removing things we don’t use everyday. Bad choice Apple!!!!!!

      1. @KingMel

        Welcome to Forced Adapter World, by Tim Cook.

        If I pay three grand for a new Macbook Pro, I can’t read SD cards without paying Tim Cook for an adapter.

        I can no longer have magsafe without a future 3rd party adapter licensed by none other than Tim Cook.

        I can’t use any USB device without an adapter.

        If I spend over $1200 on the LATEST iPhone I can’t plug into the LATEST Macbook Pro without an adapter.

        I need to spend several hundred more dollars just to get old Apple tech added to my new MBP (Touchid and an unsold, extra inventory Apple Watch chip for the childlike touchbar).

        Apple REMOVED the 3.5mm jack on the latest iPhone and KEPT the 3.5mm on the latest Macbook Pro. Thus you can’t use your laptop to charge your phone without paying Tim Cook’s Apple for an adapter. You can use your headphones with your new laptop, but you can’t use them with your new iPhone without the included adapter (is this sh*t really happening).

        That’s because we all know paying $1200 for a phone and $3000 for a MBP is not enough. Tim Cook’s greedy Apple actually needs ALL of our money.

        Enjoy your $tay in Forced Adapter World.

        1. Dude, get a dell! I know you are the same troll that likes to get really nasty…but i feel inclined put you in your place anyway. When i’m working, my MBPro is plugged in to power and an Apple monitor- with a buch of stuff plugged in. My new MBPro will be plugged into a dongle with power going into that (theres tons on amazon for under 20$) with a bunch of stuff plugged in. Theres a cool one that has hdmi + dvi+ vga. ANother with 3 USB and power in. The OWC dock looks cool and serves as a second charger. Point is, I’ll get the couple of dongles i need for all my use cases. I carry around 3 now. In the long run, every thing will be USB-c and pc MB Air copying wannabes will all have Magic Bars. You seem to be hung up on price. Quality costs money dipshit, and those of us with real jobs think nothing of it. Have a super day!

  1. I’ve got to decide if I am going to pull the trigger on a new 15 inch.
    For my use, 16GB RAM is fine. I can see this would be an issue for graphics work etc.
    What is annoying for me is that the base model only has 250GB of SSD. That fills up real easy if you have movies whilst you’re on the road or you want to keep all your docs with you.
    So I am going to have to go for the upgrade to 500GB which at $200 is a bit steep.
    I’ll wait until the third party vendors have them available so probably not till next year.

        1. I think it’s just the non toucher model that has removable flash storage.
          Soldering the storage on sucks for more than just the lack of ability to upgrade. An even bigger issue becomes data recovery on a notebook with liquid damage. This is an issue service centers deal with on a daily basis.

          1. The article was about the non-TB MBP, and it didn’t say anything about the TB-MBP (noboby has one to take apart!). I think there’s no reason to assume that the TB version differs from the non-TB in that respect.

      1. You are correct that thumb drives could be a good way to watch movies. Getting a drive with 50gb capacity could do it.
        If I wants to increase captivity of a 250gb machine then a 240 gb thumb drive costs over $150. I might as well upgrade the drive size in the new unit I intend to buy.
        The SSD drive in my current 1st gen rMBP had helped improve the longevity of the unit. It still flies and looks great after 4 years. The SSD capacity has been the biggest issue since I have to remove files when it gets too full. For convenience and the ability to work for 4 years or more, increasing the drive size makes sense. I doubt that the SSD will be user upgradable so it has to be done at the time of purchase.

        1. Or just a little external. We have a bunch of the Seagate Backup Plus Slim 1TB drives ($59.00) and one of the 2TB units ($99). Get the little optional padded zipper case and you’re good to go. There’s no real need for SSD just to store files or playback media.

          1. You’re still buying 1TB & 2TB drives? How quaint.

            From a content creator standpoint, I’ve shot 160GB worth of new content just so far this fall.

            And needless to say, the prospects of dropping +$1200 to upgrade to a 2TB SSD when they retail for half of that is a highly questionable value paradigm.

  2. What about professionals like me who want to run VMware or Parallels virtualization software? We need more RAM.
    I spend most of the day at my desk, plugged in. I use Mac because it is stable and enterprise grade.

    Battery life is less important too me than performance. RAM is critical for performance of virtual machines.
    Most important to me is having a high performance laptop. I can run Linux and Windows alongside MacOS.

    1. I suspect the new laptops will make heavy use of swapping memory with the SSD’s. The SSD’s included in the new MacBook Pro’s are quite fast at transferring data- 3 Gb/s.

        1. Not if they are endurance SSDs. Totally depends which models the choose to include. Some can last several years of several drive writes/day and should last the life of the computer. Also, if they’re smart they will employ undersubribing technique to increase endurance. But Apple like folks to replace HW every so often, so I could be giving them too much credit

          1. While I really am not happy with these new MBPs, one does have to actually acknowledge that Apple does typically pay attention to detail and put high quality components in. Their RAM and SSDs have never been cheap commodity parts in the past. I am interested to see the full teardown reports with details on the chipsets

    2. I’ve got 16GB in my 2014 MB Pro. I use the full Adobe Creative Suite, Cinema 3D, FCP, Xcode, etc.
      I “imagine” that 32 GB would be preferable, but honestly I’ve never felt memory confined. I don’t doubt that there are use cases for 32 GB, but it is pretty exceptional, and beyond mainstream.

      1. I could use 128GB (yes that’s Bytes not bits) of ram. Running pro audio apps, I load all the audio and video in my session into ram. 16 GB is not enough. I fill up a 2TB drive every couple of weeks.

        It would have been good to get a Pro machine from Apple, maybe a 17″ display and an extended keyboard (some key commands, in Pro apps, only work on the number pad) 48 hour battery life. Start the base model storage at 1TB, max out at 24TB, ad back mag safe and add another 4 thunderbolt ports, each with their own dedicated controler. We need something like this, a real Pro machine and not a fabulous way to send heart emojis. We all know how “Pro” it is to send emojis!!

        1. ” We need something like this, a real Pro machine and not a fabulous way to send heart emojis. We all know how “Pro” it is to send emojis!!”

          Talk about spot on!

      2. If this is going to be your main system then no. 32 GB is recommended for creative work and other high demanding tasks. I have a machine with 16 and it fails to open heavy files I create with my iMac with 32 GB of memory. I think it is a mistake from Apple to produce a “Pro’ and “top” model limited by 16 GB. All because it must be thing and rely on a battery.

        1. I agree with you 100%. 16 GB won’t stand for primary machine. My MB Pro is not a primary machine. In principle I am in agreement with all those complaining about the limitations on what is supposed to be a PRO machine. I would gladly give up size and weight reductions for a laptop with enough battery that could power 64 GB or more RAM, and supported top GPUs. Apple has taken a wrong turn with making size and weight the predominant design goals. Make the MacBook small and light, but make the MacBook Pro the size it needs to be the industries most powerful laptop.

    3. I was very impressed by the machines. But Apple has not made a real “Pro” Mac in almost 5 years. What I want to know is if they refuse to make real “Pro” machines how do they do the computational heavy lifting at Apple for the internal consumption?

    1. The memory system would have to be different for all MBP users, hitting them ALL with reduced batterry life. Apple has to make a choice here, or build, test and sell two different MBPs.

      1. Whatever it takes. They need to offer a distinct PRO model of everything they make with pro options, not just middle ground models. iMac Pro, MBP Pro, Mac Mini Pro, and heavens to murgatroyd an updated & very upgradeable multi-option tower Mac Pro.

        1. it’s sad that they don’t build these pro models .
          Today with sophisticated manufacturing (just in time manufacturing techniques where machines are built according to order) they don’t have to risk loses to excess inventory. Tim Cook actually perfected this (winning for Apple the ‘Supply Chain ‘ award 6 or more times in a row).

          Especially if they built more STANDARD machines like a TOWER pro vs the cylinder. As stocks run low they can just order things like more Standard PC video cards, more SSDs , RAM etc. No big risk to Apple on sales. (low R&D and manufacturing costs as well) They can also mostly sell them online, most pros are willing to wait a week or so extra to get their machines vs NO proper machines today.

          Sadly I’ve come to the conclusion that Ive is now so obsessed in impressing his design buddies in Fashion, Jewelry (Ive’s dad was a Silversmith) that he wants to build ‘fashion’ items (things should be neat, small, jewel like ) vs sturdy Pro ‘Trucks’.

          To a PURE designer a watch strap is MORE IMPORTANT than a Mac Pro as the strap is worn on the wrist for all to see while a Mac Pro just sits under the table . You don’t get kudos (from the uppity design crowd) for building things like an old fashioned ‘Tower’. A Watch Strap has ‘History’ i.e you are competing with design greats over hundreds of years, computer towers have no artistic pedigree . (that’s why he tried the cylinder impractical as it is, as Towers have no cachet at all).

          (I’ve got two art degrees myself so I think I’m guessing right … ) .

          1. Well I hope you’re proven not right (soon) but how long can Apple string this agonizing anticipation and false sense of hope out? The “constant disappointment” effect (This time? THIS time?) will start losing existing converts Apple in the past worked hard to get (myself in 1992).

            And at this point I wouldn’t blame anyone to do what they have to do. The dollars are just hanging & waiting in space to be spent on the right pro offerings.

          2. This is Ive’s best pal Marc Newson’s Lockheed lounge made of metal. Although not ‘thin, small’ which is Ive’s own obsessions it exemplifies what I’m talking about. Completely impractical (you can’t actually sit on it comfortably ) but a giant design landmark

            article:
            “The Lockheed Lounge by Australian designer Marc Newson has retained its title as the world’s most expensive design object, after selling for more than £2 million.”

            Newson now works part time with Ive at Apple.

            Both of them have so much FREE TIME ( as they are not bothering with iMacs, Mac Pros or Mac Minis… ) they are currently jointly designing the Christmas Tree for Hotel Claridge.

            1. to be clear, I have admired Ive in the past but as a Mac Pro user (and an investor) I’m just frustrated we can’t get things like a MP with upgradable GPUs.

              as a person who likes art I can admire Newson etc stuff in an art frame of mind but I think tech also needs to be practical in a ‘tech sense’.

              when Jobs was around there was BALANCE (mostly — things like the Hockey Puck mouse etc being unusual aberrations ) but now it seems like stuff that can’t highlight certain types of design like a PRACTICAL MP TOWER doesn’t get made and too much is sacrificed for certain design sensibilities like size and thinness (not upgradable RAM in a Mac Mini doesn’t make sense, it could be bigger and upgradable . as a desktop an inch or two bigger would make little difference).

        2. Totally agree and I have posted the following several times.

          Apple needs to offer PRO computers at every price point that blow the competition out of the water.

          CLUELESS COOK needs to go …

          1. Cook doesn’t need to go in order for them to do that, just the will to do it. Is Cook the one really responsible for that or is it a group consensus? But it is a CEO’s responsibly to realize income anywhere they can get it and it does seem they are leaving pro money on the table. Even if the pro lines were loss leader, break even or marginally profitable it would still keep Apple in the Truck game. The alternative isn’t pleasant to contemplate. It’s not reasonable to expect everything can be done with an iPad or mobile device. We are a long ways away from that. If ever.

            1. No, Clueless Cook needs to go. He is not getting the job done.

              He ignores the PRO MARKET and like a crow is more attracted to shiny bling and haughty fashion.

              I agree he is neglecting trucks and leaving money on the table. I also agree I can’t ever imagine a tablet replacing the high end work I do for a myriad of reasons.

              But that truck money is a minority of their earned income led by iPhone sales that relegates Pros like myself to bald neglected stepchild status.

              I don’t want to hear about team consensus crap within Apple meetings. Steve got it DONE!

              You tell me why the richest company on planet earth CANNOT do it ALL. Satisfy the loyal Pro users like myself and the cool kid gadget crowd.

              This is ridiculous already for far too long and the new laptops are following the same curve. Like the models following the trashcan remove decades old expansion options and force one to buy dongles, cables, adapters, etc.

              Wrong direction Apple. Make laptops thicker, heavier, faster and include necessary ports and increased battery life and ram.

              Apple owner/user since my Lisa … 😡

            2. As far as consensus I agree Steve would brook no mealy-mouthed decisions by committee if he felt strongly enough. But it’s a different day at Apple HQ. I agree as well with the embarrassment of riches in their vaults why they cannot service all even IF PC/Mac sales are falling off is beyond me. The whole ports thing is intended to streamline but does anything but if you have tons of dongles and cables falling away from your Mac. Why I and many others want a tower Mac Pro again. I have been threatening to move away for about two years. Time for me to put up or shut up and move on to other solutions that give me what I want. I would advise everyone to e-mail Cook & Schiller directly and loudly but politely voice our complaints and see if we can’t turn the tide, even though it seems a day late and a dollar short.

            3. Agree with your post.

              Here is a radical idea: Make Mac Laptops THICKER, HEAVIER, more TRUCK LIKE a Ford 350.

              Offer ALL MODELS?!?

              Blow out the ram and battery life.

              Apple’s OBSESSION with THIN, light AND ELIMINATING ports on all Macs and not offering upgrade options — WHY?!? WTF?

              Ahhh, you don’t have enough money in the bank?

              Disgusting … 😡

            4. I agree pro models are a different class and should eschew all of the pretenses of consumer thin and light considerations and move away from effete design and focus only on performance, options and upgreadeability. It might be more boring for them but heaven to us.

          2. Apple doesn’t currently do that and is the largest company in the world. By default, that means that any company that you are CEO of (I’m sure you must be, being so knowledgeable about what multi-billion dollar companies should and shouldn’t do) is smaller by comparison.

            This would lead me to believe that they know better what to do with a company of that size than you do, well reasoned though your argument may be.

            1. Wrong again is definelty appropriate.

              “Apple doesn’t currently do that and is the largest company in the world.”

              Correct and no excuse. Apple should blow out PCs worldwide at every price point. No?

              So you are saying my point is invalid because I am not a CEO?

              I don’t have to be a chicken to know when an egg is rotten.

  3. These are amazing new machines for a wide spectrum of customers, covering most by acceptable price points and features. These are “prosumer” systems on par with iMacs (27″ can take 32GB), another example how Pro is not really Pro. There is a segment of truly Pro customers who are more interested in raw power and performance and will pay for it. I’m afraid those systems will never be made by Apple.

    1. Sorry – MacBook Pro machines are not prosumer machines – at least they didn’t used to be. Look at any development shop and they are mostly MBP’s. I’m a developer and my 2012(!!!!) rMBP maxes at 16 Gb. After a four year wait for an update, it’s ridiculous that I can’t purchase a model with a higher RAM capacity. So presuming the same timeframe for an update, Apple expects me to wait another four years to potentially allow for larger RAM capacities. That’s crap. Meanwhile, Xcode will continue to require more and more swap space with every release.

    2. I think you’re right, not anymore.

      The “Pro” market pales in comparison to the consumer market and they are making a LARGE amount of money there. Not only that, the consumer market is “change friendly” and accepts the features of whatever they buy (many are still first time buyers). Pro’s to Apple are a headache and are more trouble than they’re worth (for example, the FCP switchover awhile back). They don’t NEED Pro’s anymore and they’re trying to show them the door. When the year comes that the iMacs are updated with no Mini or Pro updates (followed by the cancellation of the Pro), it will finally be crystal clear. They’ll continue to make mobile Macs because “easy to sell to” non-Pros will snap them up like crazy. BUT, as Steve said, this is a PostPC world and if your vision of computing requires a monster high spec machine, you’ll have plenty of brands to choose from, but not Apple.

  4. The solution is simple. Stop prioritizing thinness over functionality, so you could, you know put a larger battery in the damned thing to compensate for the increased RAM structure and give us professional users a ‘Pro’ machine that deserves that moniker.

    1. totally,

      looks like mr. apple is hitting the point of diminishing returns.

      paring away pounds and thickness was, for some time, a laudable goal, anyone who lugged an old wall street model can tell you that, but nowadays laptops are hardly an imposition to carry around. – and for you few for whom it is, may i suggest you buy a gym membership and go lift some weights – i think you need it.

      so now we are at the point where they are hobbling utility to make them thinner and lighter – this is just getting nuts.

      if jony ive has such a fetish for thin then perhaps he should look in the mirror and do something about his rather ample middle that seems to keep expanding along with his bank account.

      there is something seriously haywire with the apple leadership brain trust, and i say that as a 30 year user and 20 year investor. – you may have given me financial security and many years of great products, but things are changing and not for the better.

    2. Imagine if they didn’t make it thinner, and used the existing unibody.
      We’d have 32 or 64 GB RAM option.
      We’d have 20 hour battery life!

      Stop making it thinner.

      Start making it more powerful!

    1. The more I think of it the more I believe the touch bar is a cynical attempt by Apple to sell $3000 Macbooks to people who absolutely do not need them. This is supposedly a “Pro” computer and they actually spent some time demonstrating how it can be used to insert emojis? Are you F-ing kidding me? Apple has every right to make money but they can get off their high horse of being interested in the betterment of humanity. I think they hit their high point with Steve Jobs talking about Apple being at the intersection of technology and the liberal arts, so much for that.

      Apple will make far more money of these laptops selling a dozen at a time to the teenage children of Saudi oil sheiks to flaunt on Instagram than from real professionals. Starting the presentation with the virtue signalling commercial to handicapped people was also cringe-worthy. No other company pats itself on the back as hard as Apple.

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