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iPhone 4S Gets Teardown, Only 512MB of RAM Found

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 102 comments
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iPad 2's A5 has only 512MB, and so does the iPhone 4S' A5.

With every new generation of a device, we expect improvement. At the very least, we want to see a faster processor with more memory. This is no different between new computers and even new iPhones.

With the iPhone 4S, (though some were expecting a beefed up iPhone 5) we get a much faster CPU and GPU, but what about RAM? Most new top-end smartphones these days pack 1GB, but Apple made no mention of any RAM bump in the iPhone 4S.

Thanks to a teardown at iFixit, we now know why Apple didn't boast about any upgrade in RAM – because there wasn't one. AnandTech examined the chip markings and deduced that it's the same A5 found in the iPad with its 512MB of RAM. This isn't surprising, and it makes sense, from a production and supply point of view.

Developers making apps will also have to consider the lowest common denominator, which for iOS is the iPhone 3GS and its 256MB of RAM. The original iPad also only has 256MB.

Finally, here is a die shot of the A5 from Canada-based Chipworks. It looks a lot different from the image Apple used in its iPhone 4S video.

Overall, aside from the silicon changes, the iPhone 4S is built very similar to the Verizon iPhone 4.

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Top Comments
  • 26 Hide
    mavroxur , October 16, 2011 11:42 PM
    Slap a new name on it, make a few minor changes, charge 2x as much as the previous generation iCrap, and the Apple droids will flock to the stores and buy them in record numbers.... >_>


  • 24 Hide
    drapacioli , October 16, 2011 11:13 PM
    Is this really a surprise?
  • 19 Hide
    xyster , October 16, 2011 11:22 PM
    512mb,,, pffft.

Other Comments
    Display all 102 comments.
  • 24 Hide
    drapacioli , October 16, 2011 11:13 PM
    Is this really a surprise?
  • 3 Hide
    skyhide , October 16, 2011 11:14 PM
    Whaaaaaat?!!!
  • 19 Hide
    xyster , October 16, 2011 11:22 PM
    512mb,,, pffft.

  • 6 Hide
    supersmcow , October 16, 2011 11:31 PM
    not too surprising since tom wrote this, (http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/iphone-4s-a5-performance,3051-2.html)
  • 7 Hide
    JOSHSKORN , October 16, 2011 11:42 PM
    So wait, the iPhone 4S is a more COMPACT version of the iPad 2? Maybe when the iPad 3 comes out, we can just assume similar hardware for the iPhone 5?

    I really want to know just how the hell SIRI works. Where are all of its answers stored? To be honest, I was really wanting to get a DROID very soon, but after seeing SIRI and finding out that it's superior to anything that works with the Android OS, I don't know what to do. I REALLY don't want the iPhone 4S, not just because I'm not a fan of Apple, but I'm in a 4G area, and the iPhone 4S is not 4G.

    Then again, we haven't seen Android Ice Cream Sandwich, yet. Makes me wonder.
  • 26 Hide
    mavroxur , October 16, 2011 11:42 PM
    Slap a new name on it, make a few minor changes, charge 2x as much as the previous generation iCrap, and the Apple droids will flock to the stores and buy them in record numbers.... >_>


  • 0 Hide
    theconsolegamer , October 16, 2011 11:54 PM
    JOSHSKORNSo wait, the iPhone 4S is a more COMPACT version of the iPad 2? Maybe when the iPad 3 comes out, we can just assume similar hardware for the iPhone 5?I really want to know just how the hell SIRI works. Where are all of its answers stored? To be honest, I was really wanting to get a DROID very soon, but after seeing SIRI and finding out that it's superior to anything that works with the Android OS, I don't know what to do. I REALLY don't want the iPhone 4S, not just because I'm not a fan of Apple, but I'm in a 4G area, and the iPhone 4S is not 4G.Then again, we haven't seen Android Ice Cream Sandwich, yet. Makes me wonder.
    No no no no, you got it all wrong! The iPad is the one who is a bigger version of the iPhone! Remember those funny photos of Steve Jobs holding 4 iPhones holded by a masking tape back when the iPad was announced?..... yeah.
  • 2 Hide
    jiangyi , October 16, 2011 11:56 PM
    JOSHSKORNSo wait, the iPhone 4S is a more COMPACT version of the iPad 2? Maybe when the iPad 3 comes out, we can just assume similar hardware for the iPhone 5?I really want to know just how the hell SIRI works. Where are all of its answers stored? To be honest, I was really wanting to get a DROID very soon, but after seeing SIRI and finding out that it's superior to anything that works with the Android OS, I don't know what to do. I REALLY don't want the iPhone 4S, not just because I'm not a fan of Apple, but I'm in a 4G area, and the iPhone 4S is not 4G.Then again, we haven't seen Android Ice Cream Sandwich, yet. Makes me wonder.


    SIRI works the same way as Google's voice search. It sends what you say to a server, and the server does all the hard lifting of understanding you and giving a response. Apple just took it to the next step by adding a text-to-speech component and having it talk to you in the end.
  • 15 Hide
    amk-aka-Phantom , October 17, 2011 12:03 AM
    jiangyiSIRI works the same way as Google's voice search. It sends what you say to a server, and the server does all the hard lifting of understanding you and giving a response. Apple just took it to the next step by adding a text-to-speech component and having it talk to you in the end.


    So wait, if you're offline, SIRI doesn't even work?! LMAO!!! :lol: 
  • 0 Hide
    razor512 , October 17, 2011 12:10 AM
    From using the iphone 4, 512MB memory is not enough if you like multitasking larger apps, especially the web browser.

    While the iOS is leaner than the android OS, (and significantly leaner than the webOS, You still run into limitations with the amount of memory and the lack of virtual memory.
  • 15 Hide
    phishy714 , October 17, 2011 12:12 AM
    So.. Apple charges its idiots alot of money for about half the hardware of other phones.

    Anything new to see here or was that it?
  • -9 Hide
    bennaye , October 17, 2011 12:14 AM
    Nothing that can fit into the palm of your hand need more than 512MB RAM. Sure, it may seem better on paper, but in reality it just sucks up battery and the extra RAM would just stay unused. Nothing you can do on your iPhone would realistically suck up more than 512MB.
  • 3 Hide
    jimmysmitty , October 17, 2011 12:26 AM
    Quote:
    Overall, aside from the silicon changes, the iPhone 4S is built very similar to the Verizon iPhone 4.


    And both cannot use Verizons 4G LTE network.
  • 0 Hide
    docken02 , October 17, 2011 12:27 AM
    Typical of Apple. It's more about the bottom line than it is for improving performance. Look at how long they took to update the Macbook Air line from Core 2 Duo to the Intel Sandy Bridge i-series line. Apple should not be able to get away with this insanity.
  • 0 Hide
    SmileyTPB1 , October 17, 2011 12:34 AM
    Hmm...Apple is building a product that is over-hyped and underpowered and then telling us it's the best one going just because it's the shiniest?

    Never seen them do that before. (oh wait, yes I have. Anyone look at the specs for the MacBook Air?)
  • 4 Hide
    halcyon , October 17, 2011 12:52 AM
    SmileyTPB1Hmm...Apple is building a product that is over-hyped and underpowered and then telling us it's the best one going just because it's the shiniest?Never seen them do that before. (oh wait, yes I have. Anyone look at the specs for the MacBook Air?)


    Yeah, the MacBook Air is horribly underpowered. Especially given all the better competition that's so much faster.
  • 3 Hide
    alidan , October 17, 2011 1:05 AM
    has anyone ran into lagitimate ram problems with ipad 2? i use one, dont own one, and i never ran into one.

    and yea, its amaseing how little people know YOU DONT NEED THAT MUCH RAM, its a mobile device, more ram sucks the already crappy battery even more. its not a desktop where you can cram 16-32gb of ram into it and have very little extra power used, its a mobile device where every watt counts.
  • 3 Hide
    mlopinto2k1 , October 17, 2011 1:33 AM
    Just looking for something to bitch about. Typical sheeple. Good job Apple, you yet again amaze the masses with your below average hardware and AWESOME usability. Sounds like they know what they are doing.
  • -1 Hide
    Stardude82 , October 17, 2011 1:51 AM
    You know they nerfed the clock-speed down to 800 mhz, too. Anyway, I will continue to enjoy my 1 GHz dual-core Atrix 4G with 1GB of RAM which I got for free with my contract and has been out for 8 months now.

    The less we talk about Apple the faster they will go away.

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