Thursday, April 8, 2010

iPad and Safari and RAM, Oh My!

Analysis of the A4 processor in the iPad has revealed that it includes 256 MB of RAM, the same amount in the iPhone 3GS (and twice that of the iPhone and iPhone 3G). Because of the larger screen size (and resulting frame buffer sizes) the performance of Safari is worse in some ways that the iPhone.

As Daring Fireball notes:

iPad’s Safari isn’t able to keep nearly as many pages open as I can on my 3GS. In fact, sometimes it seems I can only have one, and every page I switch to gets completely reloaded.

This is a serious limitation that affects the performance of Safari in particular, but of the iPad as a whole.

Reloading pages in Safari is annoying and, as John Gruber notes, can cause data loss in cases where you have unsubmitted data on a page that gets dumped.

On WiFi this is a serious problem, but on 3G it is going to be a disaster! I predict a huge customer backlash from the performance problems unless the 3G version of the iPad has more RAM.

It's possible that the $129 difference between the two models includes additional RAM, though I would think it's unlikely.

Imagine for a minute, though, that it does have more RAM. I think that would result in a different, but also huge, customer backlash from those that bought the WiFi version! People will feel like Apple once again offered a better value a short while after introducing a new product.

Either way I think the 3G performance on the iPad is going to cause some consternation.

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