Apple VP says 8GB RAM on a MacBook Pro analogous to 16GB RAM on a PC: 'We just happen to be able to use it much more efficiently'

Apple MacBook Pro M3
(Image credit: Apple)

After being challenged over the company shipping $1,599 MacBooks in 2023 with just 8GB of RAM, an Apple VP has responded with the claim that it's "probably analogous to 16GB on other systems." With those "other systems" being PCs. Aaaaand, fight!

For those who haven't been keeping up to date with the latest Apple announcements, the 14-inch MacBook M3 Pro was revealed last week with a starting MSRP of $1599 for the base model with 8GB of RAM, with 16GB and 24GB options available for an extra $200 to $400 respectively. This news has been met with a somewhat frosty reception among Apple fans, as a MacBook with the "Pro" designation is generally regarded as a laptop for content creators and power users. 8GB of RAM seems more than a little stingy for these use cases, and Apple has already received a fair bit of backlash for not upping the default specs.

Apple's VP of worldwide product marketing Bob Borchers recently gave an interview to Lin YilYi, a Chinese machine learning engineer and content creator who directly asked him about this criticism, and his response was somewhat surprising. He said:

"Comparing our memory to other system's memory actually isn't equivalent, because of the fact that we have such an efficient use of memory, and we use memory compression, and we have a unified memory architecture. Actually, 8GB on an M3 MacBook Pro is probably analogous to 16GB on other systems. We just happen to be able to use it much more efficiently."

While it's true that the new MacBooks do make use of a unified memory architecture that is somewhat more efficient in certain uses, it's difficult to believe that it makes so much difference that an extra 8 or 16GB of RAM is unnecessary. Beyond this, charging a whole $200 for a measly extra 8GB seems consumer unfriendly at best, particularly as anybody buying a MacBook under the "Pro" moniker will be expecting excellent content creation performance from even the base model.

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I can't remember the last time we saw a Windows laptop advertise itself as a media-creation machine with less than 16GB of RAM, and for many 32GB is fast becoming the new standard for ultra high-performance computers. 8GB in the world of Windows systems now puts you firmly in the budget category, but that $1599 price tag for the default MacBook Pro is anything but.

While Apple has faced many criticisms in regards to overcharging for features that other companies would regard as standard, this latest move has received an unusual level of response from even die-hard Mac fans. It will be interesting to see if this prompts the company to make any changes to the default specifications or price structure, or whether it simply ignores this most recent criticism.

Regardless, MacBook fans are not happy, and this most recent statement is unlikely to do anything other than fan the already substantial flames.

Andy Edser
Hardware Writer

Andy built his first gaming PC at the tender age of 12, when IDE cables were a thing and high resolution wasn't. After spending over 15 years in the production industry overseeing a variety of live and recorded projects, he started writing his own PC hardware blog for a year in the hope that people might send him things. Sometimes they did.

Now working as a hardware writer for PC Gamer, Andy can be found quietly muttering to himself and drawing diagrams with his hands in thin air. It's best to leave him to it.