Kuo: It's Intel's fault Apple's MacBook Pro maxes out at 16GB

The fix will have to wait for a new chip, says Taiwan's most celebrated Apple analyst.

The MacBook Pro could get an update next year that would eliminate the 16GB limitation that has upset so many Apple loyalists, according to KGI Securities' Ming-Chi Kuo.

From Mikey Campbell report in AppleInsider Monday night:

Apple's 2017 MacBook Pro update, expected in the second half of the year, may gain support for up to 32GB of RAM, making the platform a more compelling option for power users.

As AppleInsider noted earlier today [here], the recently released MacBook Pro series is powered by Intel's Skylake class of processors with LPDDR3 memory, a specification that supports up to 16GB RAM. Next-generation Cannonlake CPUs that efficiently run LPDDR4 RAM at higher allotments are scheduled for release in time for next year's MacBook update. If Intel fails to ship Cannonlake on time, however, Apple will likely turn to Coffee Lake, which features the same LPDDR3 specifications as Skylake.

Apple is being blamed both for waiting too long to update the MacBook Pro and for jumping too soon into the wrong Intel 'lake. Any wonder Cupertino tries so hard to control the whole stack?

See also: How reliable is Ming-Chi Kuo?


  1. Richard Wanderman said:
    I’m not so sure it’s underpowered, between the new GPU and the faster SSD it’s probably snappier than the last few models with similar processors, especially at heavy lifting like video and image crunching.

    I’m fine with incremental change, I just wish it was across the board.

    November 1, 2016
      • Richard Wanderman said:
        No problem. Many of the critics are upset about the CPU being the same as the last few models but as we all know, the CPU is just one of many components that add up to throughput speed.

        I’m not sure Apple’s ARM chips are the solution (messy software issues) but I do think Apple is doing what they can to wring every last bit of speed out of this architecture and this update may be a good one for many of us. Too soon to tell. It just struck me that historically, Apple has made a point of talking about how they’ve improved things while keeping the price the same or lowering it. This time they only seemingly modestly improved things and bumped up the price and this, it seems to me, is causing the concern.

        November 1, 2016
  2. George Knott said:
    At the end of the day, it’s Tim Cook and his mgmt team that are too blame for another fiasco….So far, today the stock has hit 3 of my sell/stop….Not worth holding the shares until next week to get the crummy .57 per dividend…..

    November 1, 2016
  3. George Providaked said:
    It remains unclear that merely allowing 16=>>33 GB RAM addresses the core concerns of the bloggers or critics.

    The balance of performance vs footprint (power, weight, size, speed, memory, etc) had shifted towards laptops from desktops, however, INTEL’s struggles with power performance continues (and I suspect is structural to the company culture and processor architecture) this shift is back to desktop. .

    Therefore, I suspect the performance difference in desktops to laptops will grow for the foreseeable future, 4-5 years. At some point Apple may bite the bullet and move to iOS chip sets that will turn the mobile vs desktop difference back towards mobile.

    Since many products have been migrating to iOS chip sets (Photoshop, Office, etc albeit less functionality), the transition would happen a lot faster and may skip the overlapping interoperability in one machine and rather have legacy intel machines overlap iOS machines with the goal to phase out the intel flavors over a few years.

    I do not think this is a specific goal of Apple, who I think were delighted with window interoperability, but driven by Intel’s lack of timely and significant processor advancement thereby jeopardizing user experience.

    This degraded user experience would be the force to drive Apple to their internal chip sets.

    The biggest obstacle will be getting performance levels up to Intel chip levels without the power heat penalty. This is still a few years away. But Intel dithering and Apple’s annual chip set performance growth is quickly closing the gap.

    There is a whole discussion regarding the Enterprise market reaction for such a change, probably very negative, but iOS success suggests this may be turned around. For Apple’s traditional consumers not a problem.

    November 1, 2016
    • Richard Wanderman said:
      Great comment.

      All I would add is that I don’t blame Intel for this. Apple has improved all the various components around the CPU and wrung more speed out of this design and I think the new machine is probably a decent improvement over last year’s model.

      However, given this, they should have held the price the same or lowered it slightly. For me, that’s the rub.

      Personally, I’m fine with 16BG of RAM and the ports as they are with this machine. I was about to buy one but then balked at the price.

      November 1, 2016

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