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Will Apple Stick To 1GB RAM For iPhone 6? Possible, But Unlikely

According to a leaked schematic from the Chinese repair firm GeekBar, at least one of the two models of the iPhone 6 (the 4.7" or the 5.5") would be using only 1 GB of RAM. If this is true, it would be a disappointing decision from Apple that could affect new iPhone 6 buyers sooner than they think.

It's no secret that Apple has been inclined to use significantly less RAM (usually half as much) than the competition's flagship mobile devices. One excuse for this has been that iOS is much more optimized and is a leaner operating system than Android. While that may have been true in the past, things are rapidly changing for the two operating systems in terms of RAM usage.

With the release of Android KitKat last year, Android received significant RAM utilization and management improvements to the point where KitKat can now operate smoothly even on devices with only 512 MB of RAM. With the new Android L version, things should improve even more for RAM usage thanks to the switch to ART and compressed memory addresses for 64-bit Android apps.

On the other hand, 64-bit iOS apps on the iPhone 5S have increased their RAM usage from the longer memory addresses by 20 to 30 percent. The 64-bit apps are typically more memory-bloated on all operating systems, so this isn't a major surprise, but this is a problem that will only get worse for iOS users who have 1 GB of RAM. As iOS becomes a more mature operating system that can support multiple apps and extensions running at the same time, devices with 1 GB of RAM will soon find themselves bottlenecked by the low amount of memory.

Why the rumor may not be true

Despite the shown schematic, it still seems highly unlikely that Apple would keep the amount of RAM the same. Apple typically changes the RAM every two generations, and it hasn't changed it since the iPhone 5, so it follows that the iPhone 6 release would be time for an upgrade to 2GB of RAM.

We've already seen Android devices with 3 GB of RAM, and with 64-bit ARMv8 chips arriving on the market soon for Android devices, we will begin to see handsets with 4 GB of RAM as we go into the next year. Apple's iOS devices will once again remain behind in the amount of RAM they support, but 2 GB should easily last for another two generations before Apple moves to 4 GB. The move to 2 GB of RAM would definitely be a major improvement for iOS devices.

We're only a few weeks away from Apple's September 9 event, so we fortunately don't have to wait much longer for the confirmation of the new iPhone 6 specs, whatever they may be.

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Lucian Armasu is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He covers software news and the issues surrounding privacy and security.