Anyone up for an all-you-can-eat memory buffet?
Despite using the same M1 processors as the new MacBooks and iMacs, the latest iPad Pros have been constrained so far by a hard restriction on how much RAM an app can utilise. The current iPadOS beta appears to be changing that, however it is unlikely to help the majority of customers.
The iPad Pro 2021 update, branded “the fastest device of its kind” is available with either 8 GB or 16 GB of RAM, depending on storage capacity. However, it was discovered in May that applications could only assign themselves 5 GB of that capacity before failing, despite the fact that the OS could still access the whole device’s memory.
Apple’s second iOS and iPadOS 15 betas, passed on to developers on Thursday, allowed developers to request an entitlement that gives their apps access to more RAM, with its description in developer documentation outlining that it is only for “supported devices,” and that the app must still behave correctly if it can’t access more memory.
It also provides a method that may be used to determine the amount of RAM available, implying that there is no stated upper limit on memory app usage.
Of course, the list of “supported devices” is likely to be restricted to the most current iPad Pros, as they’re the only ones with enough RAM to make the 5 GB restriction an issue. Previous generations of the iPad Pro were limited to 6 GB of memory, while other models are limited to 4 GB or less, hence the restriction about behaving correctly with less memory.
We’ve also yet to see apps that actually need more RAM than that, as the original 5 GB limit was only revealed by the developer of image editing app Artstudio Pro when stress testing the tablets.
The removal of this restriction may be seen positively by iPad Pro users, since it puts their tablets closer to parity with macOS computers as Apple strives to integrate its ecosystem with the M1 processor and beyond. However, we’ll have to wait until the autumn to see it in App Store apps, as that’s when iOS, iPadOS, and all of the other improvements promised at WWDC21 are expected to arrive.