June 18, 2010, 12:01 PM — Apple's iPhone 4 boasts 512MB of system memory, double the amount in last year's iPhone 3GS and the newer iPad tablet, Computerworld has confirmed.
The additional memory will give the iPhone 4 much more robust multitasking, an Apple hardware expert said today.
Although MacRumors first reported the story Thursday morning, Computerworld independently confirmed the Phone 4's additional memory.
According to MacRumors, iPhone developers were told last week of the memory boost at Apple's annual developers conference, where CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone. The new model is slated to go on sale June 24.
The first two models -- 2007's original iPhone and 2008's iPhone 3G -- sported 128MB of system memory. Last year, however, Apple doubled that to 256MB in the iPhone 3GS.
This year's increase is a "great move on Apple's part," said Aaron Vronko, CEO of Portage, Mich.-based Rapid Repair, a repair shop and do-it-yourself parts supplier for the iPhone , iPod and iPad . Vronko regularly tears apart Apple hardware products to get an idea of how they're built and what capabilities they have.
"This is really about allowing [iOS 4's] limited multitasking to actually have a robust performance," said Vronko. "With only 256MB, the iPhone would waste a lot of time and battery power managing memory [during multitasking]. This definitely helps, and will let you keep more apps in the background without affecting battery life."
When Apple previewed iOS 4 -- then called iPhone OS 4 -- last March, it announced what Vronko dubbed "partial multitasking" via seven new APIs that will allow very specific scenarios where more than one application is running.
In iOS 4, which will launch on Monday, software like Skype or Pandora will be able to take incoming VoIP calls or play tunes while other applications are in the forefront. The mobile operating system upgrade will also let users quickly switch between in-memory applications using an "app tray" that appears when users double-tap the iPhone's home button.
"256MB of system memory will still be pretty robust," said Vronko, but the iPhone 4's doubling means that it will seem snappier, be able to keep more programs in memory for instant access and, most importantly, eat up less battery power. That's because it won't have to swap out sections of system memory to the smartphone's flash RAM-based storage space.