Why Apple is sticking with 8GB RAM for MacBooks, according to company execs

 MacBook Air M1.
MacBook Air M1.

Even the most hardcore Apple fan will admit that the company is downright stingy when it comes to the entry-level storage and RAM configurations its MacBooks come with. Last month, the launch of Apple's new M3 MacBook Air reignited criticisms that have dogged the iPhone maker for years. But Apple remains firmly in favor of selling Macs with 8GB of RAM in 2024, as we saw in a recent interview with Apple executives.

Both the base-level 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Airs ship with 8GB of Unified Memory, as do the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros. To upgrade to 16GB of memory, you'll need to fork over an additional $200. For reference, several of the top contenders on our best laptops list, like the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14, ship with 16GB of RAM.

In an interview this week with IT Home spotted by 9to5Mac, Apple senior product marketing manager Evan Buyze argued that 8GB of RAM in entry-level Macs is "suitable" enough to handle whatever paces an average user would put their machine through. He used web browsing, media playback, light photo and video editing, and casual gaming as examples of what entry-level MacBooks can handle without needing to invest in extra RAM.

That's true to some extent. However, given that Apple markets its machines for creative professionals, the argument that 8GB is enough to handle the most basic use cases doesn't hold as much water. Especially when it comes to the MacBook Pro, which is geared toward users intending to run more intensive tasks.

Kate Bergeron, Apple’s VP of hardware engineering, added that, thanks to Apple's chips, 8GB of RAM is actually more powerful than the raw specs would have you believe. It's not the first time Apple has praised the unified memory architecture on its M3 and other silicon chips for optimizing performance in such a way that it’s actually equivalent to PC systems with more RAM. Back in November, Apple's VP of worldwide product marketing, Bob Borchers, stated that 8GB of unified memory on a MacBook is "probably analogous to 16GB on other systems."

With more and more AI-powered features leading to a growing demand for memory-intensive programs, we can only hope that Apple will eventually increase their MacBooks' base configuration. For now, at least, customers are stuck with 8GB RAM variants.

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