Phil Schiller: MacBook Pro with 32GB RAM would have compromised battery life

“Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller has allegedly responded to an email from software developer Ben Slaney to further clarify why the new MacBook Pro maxes out at 16GB of RAM, noting that supporting 32GB of RAM would require a different logic board design which might reduce space for batteries,” Joe Rossignol reports for MacRumors.

The MacBook Pro uses 16GB of very fast LPDDR memory, up to 2133MHz. 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. — Apple SVP Phil Schiller

“Slaney himself wrote an article explaining how the new MacBook Pro uses a low power, enhanced version of DDR3 RAM called LPDDR3E, which maxes out at 16GB,” Rossignol reports. “To achieve up to 32GB RAM would have required using DDR4 RAM, but its low-power variant LPDDR4 is not supported by the Intel processors powering the late 2016 models.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Yup.

Why Apple’s new MacBook Pros don’t need 32GB of RAM – November 10, 2016
Apple’s MacBook Pro can easily run a ridiculous number of ‘pro’ apps simultaneously with 16GB RAM – November 5, 2016
Phil Schiller: Apple has more orders for MacBook Pro with Touch Bar than for any other professional Mac notebook ever – November 2, 2016
Apple unveils groundbreaking new MacBook Pro with revolutionary Touch Bar and huge Force Touch trackpad – October 27, 2016


    1. Schiller is full of shit.

      He has about as much courage as the Cowardly Lion in the Wizard of Oz.

      Tim Cook and his incompetent, bumbling Keystone Cops (Cue, Ive, and Schiller) need to go immediately.

        1. The alternative is fucking obvious. Apple needs to stop pasting the Pro label on thin fashion items. There is no defense for intentionally withholding the best hardware in order to prioritize Jony’s ridiculous obsession with being thin. Apple no longer makes ANYTHING that is user-focused, powerful, and customizable to be called professional.

          Longtime users have been complaining for years how fashionistas and bean counters will ruin Apple. Well, here you go. Apple no longer moves forward the user experience. It is years behind in performance and now makes disposable machines that are designed for one primary purpose: to force you to subscribe to the disastrous icloud. Sorry Apple, you have totally lost the plot. We can only hope that with new management you will again discover your roots, which was once to place user options and experience above all else. Those were good days, but since you show no loyalty to your users in keeping your Macs competitive and affordable, you will keep losing what few professionals you had left. Good luck selling overpriced fashion accessories to rich pop tarts and Facebook dweebs. I’m sue it will go fine for another few years until that fad passes and some young hungry company steps in with better products that just work.

    2. I have a 2011 MBP with 16 GB of RAM… and you still can’t get a MBP with 32GB? Apple has started chasing something else… now no monitors, Airport, iPhoto, iTunes, all formerly the standard of the industry, and the list goes on. The only Apple software I use now is Safari, Mail, Pages, and address book. It sounds like a list of software from 1995. Everything else I have switched to 3rd party. I’m not happy.

  1. Higher power demand & less room should be accounted for with a larger battery in a Pro machine.

    If your goal is reducing size/weight, then you aren’t making the Pro machine. They should do as MDN suggested and just put them in the Macbook Air line.

  2. Battery life is the excuse? I would think users of Pro devices would have back-up power blocks or aren’t far from a power outlet if they are computing for extended periods.

        1. There are professionals who work on the road and in the field. Swappable battery or backup power sources are necessary. I suppose one could haul an iMac around. The iMac is a sealed laptop on a stand. Apple doesn’t make desktop workstations anymore. The trashcan is the Cube 2.0. Power users deserve more capable machines in all configurations. Apple doesn’t care because they are busy pivoting to be a cloud rental outfit. Now with a gimmick bar to discover all the latest emoji.

        2. I was simply pointing out that my use case involves portability but that I have no significant requirement for battery-life (and implying that when thinking about computers, we should decouple these features). Without suggesting that I know better than Apple, I think I would differentiate products by functional capability not capacity, or at least work hard to minimize the confusion that different “levels” of products cause in the marketplace.

    1. Are they handing out stupid pills today? I have never seen so many instances of “my user case is the only reasonable user case” syndrome. Schiller gives a coherent explanation of why the MacBook Pros cannot accommodate 32GB of memory. There are several possible responses to that:

      1) Acknowledgment that any real-world device must incorporate engineering compromises. Not many people with that mindset here.

      2) Insistence, as by Xennex, that REAL professionals never use their mobile computers in a location where a mobile computer is required, They buy laptops and use them as fixed work stations; other use cases are worthless. 44 people give an “excellent” rating to the notion that battery life is an irrelevant consideration for a laptop. 38 people downvote the idea that portability is even a design consideration for portable computers.

      3) The bulk of commenters seem to be suggesting that Apple should have gone with the slower core memory that would have affected everybody, not just those few who can’t live with 16GB that sometimes pages out to a very fast SSD. The battery life (but not the speed) could have been handled by making the case thicker and the computer heavier. Again, that would affect everyone, including those whose use case requires increased portability, not enormous memory. Even those who only chose to pay for 8 or 16GB would be stuck with the heavy design and slower memory chips.

      4) Others suggest that Apple should offer users the choice between two different computers, one with enhanced memory capacity and the other with enhanced portability. My guess is that Apple has run the numbers and determined that the market for a less-portable slower portable computer with 32GB is not large enough to justify a completely different design around a special motherboard. How many of the commenters here would buy such a thing?

      5) Finally, we have a comment below that the MacBook Pro should include both motherboards, one for use when it is plugged in and the other for use when it is running on battery. Again, where is the market for a computer with twice the thickness, twice the weight, and twice the price?

      Really, people!

      1. Yes, really!

        We need a TRUE turbo charged thicker MacBook Pro for serious work. Same with a Pro tower.

        In the old days, Apple delivered. Today they are blinded by bling and fashion.

        Get a grip.

        1. Let me try this in words of one or two syllables: Intel CPU can not now use the fastest LPDDR memory in quantities over 16GB. 32GB of such fast power-efficient memory is not technically feasible now for Apple or anybody else.

          So, Apple had to choose: use old slow DDR3 memory in a thick heavy case to allow 32GB for the few customers that really need it, or use new fast LPDDR memory in a thin light case for the great majority who can live with 16GB swapping to a fast SSD. Which is really the TRUE turbo charged MacBook Pro for most users?

          To repeat, just because your user case favors a high core memory quantity over high memory access speed and low power consumption does not make your user case the only one that Apple should preferentially address. User requirements differ.

          1. Your opening line elitist condescension aside, you have made some good points and thanks for the information.

            To use an Air Force analogy — I expertly fly stealth bombers, but I do not work under the hood.

            “Which is really the TRUE turbo charged MacBook Pro for most users?”

            I don’t know, but I’m sure someone has the acumen to conduct speed tests.

            My main point is, I repeat, 16GB is NOT adequate for Pro work as a traveling supplement to a Pro desktop. Or by itself, whatever users prefer.

            I have been buying fully loaded Pro Apple laptops for decades. Apple should do better. Removing ports for the sake of thin, or is it greed, is not good.

            I’ve been reading for years about Intel chips holding Apple back. Why don’t they just buy Intel and produce the finest and fastest chips first. Then my pipe dream of Apple making the fastest computers at every price point stands a chance.

            Ahhh, one can dream … 😊

    1. Couldn’t agree more.
      Apple TV can’t do 4K – you didn’t want 4K anyway, right?
      Mac Pro hasn’t been updated ever – but you can plug in all kinds of external stuff!
      iMac can’t be expanded – but it’s soooo thin!
      MacBook only has one port – use wifi!

  3. Perhaps making the housing half a millimetre thicker and putting in a few more Lithium ions would have solved that problem. This techno-anorexia is getting old fast.
    Phil Schiller it too full of himself and has too much say at Apple. Remember Steve Jobs and what he said about sales guys in charge!

    1. I am so conflicted. I love the Mac OS ecosystem. But more and more I am growing frustrated with the hardware. What am I supposed to go? Go to Windows hardware? Build a Hackintosh?

      With all the cash in reserves, all the talent they can hire, why not give us pros a nice, upgradable high end machine? Its just arrogance on Apple’s part. Or shortsightedness. Or stupidity. Or being too fat and happy.

  4. Well that’s that explained then.

    I don’t know Phil, but why don’t you use your innovative ass to put a bigger battery in it and make the laptop thicker to allow for that?

    Making it thinner is a restriction you have put on yourself, it’s not our problem.

  5. Translation: It would have taken too much time and effort (and money) to bother making a serious laptop for professionals so we didn’t bother.

    It’s also is apparently too much bother for Apple to keep their desktop offerings up-to-date and to worry about nitpicky little details such as allowing the iPhone 7 to plug into the new MacBook Pro.

    Oh, and I looked at the Mac Pro webpage.
    It STILL lists the long discontinued Aperture 3 in the benchmarks.

    What the muddy well is growing on at Apple????

  6. bogus, brush off response!

    ” ……using a different logic board that might reduce battery space…..”

    Might? …….really Phil!…… might? …. lol
    do u guys build prototypes..? or you base your designs on “might”

    plus look at all the empty space there inside…..

    sigh .

    1. You know, we’re all blaming Phil here, but I reckon the real culprit is his Royal Highness Jony Ive. Jony is calling the shots, and Phil is his mouthpiece. Ive has a fixation on thinness over battery life, totally ignores customer preferences for the sake of fractions of a millimetre.

      He seems bent on downgrading everything Apple for pure profit, and it seems to me that Tim just follows his lead. Just my opinion. Too many times a case of “good enough will do.”

      Don’t get me wrong, beautiful designs in many aspects, but too many cases of ignoring customers preferences.

        1. You’re right! Point in case: a non-removable hard drive makes it impossible to use the new MBPs for IP-sensitive (R&D) or confidential work (Doctors, Lawyers, Journalists). You wanna trust the service with sensitive data on the hard drive when the laptop needs repair? Remember, there is no safe erase on SSDs. The only option is to remove the SSD and replace it with one containing only the MacOS and an admin account.

  7. like I said a while back :
    they should have kept Jobs scheme for MacBooks

    – Macbook a few ports . Lower price (entry level)
    – Air. More expensive , lightweight , expensive materials, minimum ports for ultimate mobility (for execs like Martha Stewart who loved hers and who don’t have ‘heavy content creation’ ).
    – Macbook pro: max features (like ports) , heavier.

    Clean easy to understand product placement.

    They could have made the new MBP with 16 RAM Touchbar as a ‘lux’ Air.
    Made the MBP heavier with 32 RAM and Max features and ports.
    They should have a real entry level Macbook at a ‘budget’ price.

    Instead now we have confusion where the Air has more ports than the Macbook, pros who have waiting for 32 RAM denied, magsafe (very useful for pros with tangles of wires and many people like musicians) gone etc…

    THEY SHOULD ALSO UPDATE THEIR MACHINES MORE REGULARLY. Major redesigns like Touchbar can be more spread out but pop in new processors and bigger drives etc when available.

    Mac Pro desktop folks are in even more pain:
    The Mac Pro D700 has one third the GPU speed of a mid range PC card and not upgradable , 256 GB drive (that’s a giant iPod!) 16 GB RAM base , Thundrbolt 2 etc and costs $4600 base….

    1. I believe the reason why this happening is because the BEAN COUNTERS and FASHIONISTAS have taken over.

      instead of making as I suggested above a ‘LUX’ Air (16 GB touch bar) and real MBP (32 GB, many ports, heavier) they LUMP them together to SAVE MONEY on production.

      they also didn’t UPGRADE the Mac Pro OR LOWER the PRICE (since 2013) as they figure LOWER SALES will be compensated by HIGHER component MARGINS from old parts.

      THIS IS TOTAL BEAN COUNTER MENTALITY which eventually destroys companies (Mac sales growth which have outperform PC sales growth for many years have lagged PCs now for several quarters).

      the Fashionista part is obvious: form in Apple trumps function , ‘thin’ wins in spite of some wanting more battery, overheating in some devices, Apple TV REMOTE, non upgradable GPUs in the Mac Pro to get cool cylinder shape, non upgradable RAM in the Mini ( can’t a DESKTOP can be an inch or two bigger ? ) etc.

  8. Sorry, Schiller has early zero credibility ‘explaining’ technical limitations, ever since his smug defense of the 16GB iOS models “being perfectly adequate”.

    Apple always trots out Schiller as some kind of foil, whenever people are pissed off.

  9. Real answer:

    “We’re building computing appliances now. We’re not building real Pro grade machines. We call them Pro machines because it’s a great marketing term. And, that’s it: marketing. People with lots of money want to be able to say they’re using “Pro” machines, and they’ll buy them — and pay through the nose for them — if they’re light and sleek and fashionable.”

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