iPhone 11 Pro may have extra 2GB of RAM devoted to the camera

Posted:
in iPhone
Speculation is rising that the iPhone 11 Pro has more than just application RAM, and has additional RAM devoted to just computational photography.

iPhone 11 Pro


Following a Xcode delve on Wednesday looking at Apple Watch and seventh-generation iPad specifics, developer Steven Troughton-Smith says that there's a possibility that there is camera-only RAM.

Several people have now suggested to me that there may just be an extra 2GB of RAM dedicated to the camera. All of this new photo stuff & Deep Fusion doesn't come cheap, it seems. I have no way of verifying these details right now, and to the user it wouldn't be visible anyway

-- Steve Troughton-Smith (@stroughtonsmith)
This RAM would be above and beyond that 4GB, bringing the total in the iPhone 11 Pro line to 6GB. If this is the case, those 2GB are allocated specifically to photography and not accessible to the user's application space.

At a glance, this seems to make sense. Things like simultaneous recording and other computational photography tasks are RAM-intensive, and 2GB of RAM devoted to the features takes the load off of the system as a whole. In fact, one Twitter user on the thread by Troughton-Smith notes that opening the camera app on an unspecified older iPhone "blows away" other RAM and system resource-intensive applications in the process.

Additionally, early rumors about the iPhone 11 Pro suggested that the device had 6GB of RAM. It's only been since the iPhone has been in the hands of folks outside Apple that the 4GB of application RAM was proven.

A full analysis will require the iPhone firmware, and a disassembly of the data contained within. Troughton-Smith says that he'll be looking into it soon enough.

Fundamentally similar to the 2018 iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max, the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max were revealed at Apple's "By innovation only" event at the Steve Jobs Theater on September 10. Equipped with new Super Retina XDR 5.8-inch and 6.5-inch OLED displays, the new models might look similar to their predecessors, but add significant speed improvements and new functions like novel camera capabilities.

The iPhone 11 Pro Max comes in silver, gold, space gray and new midnight green finishes. Regardless of finish, the iPhone 11 Pro Max begins at $1,099, and will ship to users on September 20.
«1

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 23
    If true, half the size of the system RAM is definitely beefy. This is a new stage in smartphone development. Not hard to imagine Apple developing a chip that is specific to camera operation in the future as well.
    razorpitSoundJudgmentjahblademagman1979Deelronwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 23
    Large amounts of RAM are needed for slomo functionalities. The (Android) 48MP+ Camera sensors embed 512MB (maybe more in more recent designs) of RAM into the sensor to achieve this, as the data link to the SoC is not fast enough. However the iPhone may not have this limitation, so it can use system RAM for this functionality, as well as standard camera functionality. The Camera app could also be kept in this RAM permanently, for even faster instant-on. Also the AI cores used so often in photography will have access to this RAM for their functionalities, making system RAM desirable for this use.
    SoundJudgmenttwokatmewjahbladecommand_fDeelronwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 23
    That would be really good news!
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 23
    irelandireland Posts: 17,684member
    hattig said:
     The Camera app could also be kept in this RAM permanently, for even faster instant-on.
    Every iPhone should have this feature going forward.
    SoundJudgmentjahblademagman1979Deelronwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 23
    That extra RAM can't hide forever!! "Bring in.... the logic probe!"
    edited September 19 magman1979watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 23
    That would be amazing.......but i think wishful thinking......but hope i am wrong.

    I just don’t think that (if true) iPhone 11 (non-PRO) would have 6GB RAM total...very uncharacteristic of Apple to give max RAM across the board.
    edited September 19 watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 23
    ireland said:
    hattig said:
     The Camera app could also be kept in this RAM permanently, for even faster instant-on.
    Every iPhone should have this feature going forward.
    To me, this doesn't seem like a good idea unless the camera app in question can be switched; many pros aren't shooting with the default camera app.
    twokatmewwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 23
    ireland said:
    hattig said:
     The Camera app could also be kept in this RAM permanently, for even faster instant-on.
    Every iPhone should have this feature going forward.
    To me, this doesn't seem like a good idea unless the camera app in question can be switched; many pros aren't shooting with the default camera app.
    If true I would imagine the RAM is dedicated to hardware & low-level computational functionality of the camera, not dedicated to the Camera app itself. 
    lolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 23
    auxioauxio Posts: 2,035member
    That extra RAM can't hide forever!! "Bring in.... the logic probe!"

    magman1979watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 23
    This could be an interesting way to avoid the battery life penalty imposed by system RAM while still having additional RAM for intensive tasks. The RAM could just be turned off when the camera is not in use. 
    imergingeniouscommand_fDeelronwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 23
    auxioauxio Posts: 2,035member
    ireland said:
    hattig said:
     The Camera app could also be kept in this RAM permanently, for even faster instant-on.
    Every iPhone should have this feature going forward.
    To me, this doesn't seem like a good idea unless the camera app in question can be switched; many pros aren't shooting with the default camera app.
    If true I would imagine the RAM is dedicated to hardware & low-level computational functionality of the camera, not dedicated to the Camera app itself. 
    Yeah, I'm sure it's used anytime the camera is turned on.  And other apps will gain the advantages of it just by using the camera and/or image processing effects.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 23
    If true, this seems to me to be a bit wasteful:   Reserving 2 Gb to a camera that, for most people, gets used less than 1% of the time.

    I guess one could make an analogy with GPU's using reserved (rather than shared) memory.  But GPU's get used a lot more than cameras.

    Could, perhaps, this extra 2Gb also be used elsewhere by the phone when not needed by the camera?
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 13 of 23
    netmage said:
    This could be an interesting way to avoid the battery life penalty imposed by system RAM while still having additional RAM for intensive tasks. The RAM could just be turned off when the camera is not in use. 
    That was my idea as well. Is it technically possible? It would make sense definitely.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 23
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,516member
    Did someone confirm launching the Camera app doesn't "blow away" everything else in RAM on an iPhone 11? I didn't think so. Even older iPhones can do simultaneous recording. I think this is all just wishful thinking, with only the 1TB iPads having 6 GB.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 23
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,975member
    ireland said:
    hattig said:
     The Camera app could also be kept in this RAM permanently, for even faster instant-on.
    Every iPhone should have this feature going forward.
    To me, this doesn't seem like a good idea unless the camera app in question can be switched; many pros aren't shooting with the default camera app.
    If true I would imagine the RAM is dedicated to hardware & low-level computational functionality of the camera, not dedicated to the Camera app itself. 
    Maybe. But cameras have fast RAM devoted to the buffer. With these cameras taking so many shots (up to 10) just before the button is pressed, and another afterwards, along with the possible shutter speeds as high as 1/45,000 of a second for both the tele and ultra wide, and an astounding 1/125,000 second for the main wide, a very fast and large buffer would be needed. Possibly the 2018 models should be checked for this as well. And don’t forget the burst mode.

    the. buffer could also be used for the immediate processing steps for each image, which take place almost instantly.
    edited September 19 watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 23
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,975member

    If true, this seems to me to be a bit wasteful:   Reserving 2 Gb to a camera that, for most people, gets used less than 1% of the time.

    I guess one could make an analogy with GPU's using reserved (rather than shared) memory.  But GPU's get used a lot more than cameras.

    Could, perhaps, this extra 2Gb also be used elsewhere by the phone when not needed by the camera?
    I disagree. Cameras on modern smartphones are, as we saw from the presentation, one of the most important features. For Apple to make the phone as camera-like as possible, both in function and quality, a very high speed, and large buffer would be an advantage,

    of course, it may turn out that there is no extra RAM, which would make the cameras even more amazing, in the sense that they could do all of this without high speed buffering.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 23
    melgross said:

    If true, this seems to me to be a bit wasteful:   Reserving 2 Gb to a camera that, for most people, gets used less than 1% of the time.

    I guess one could make an analogy with GPU's using reserved (rather than shared) memory.  But GPU's get used a lot more than cameras.

    Could, perhaps, this extra 2Gb also be used elsewhere by the phone when not needed by the camera?
    I disagree. Cameras on modern smartphones are, as we saw from the presentation, one of the most important features. For Apple to make the phone as camera-like as possible, both in function and quality, a very high speed, and large buffer would be an advantage,

    of course, it may turn out that there is no extra RAM, which would make the cameras even more amazing, in the sense that they could do all of this without high speed buffering.
    Yes, Apple is really pushing the camera in their presentation(s).   But one has to wonder if that is because its one of the few things they have to push rather than because there is some amazing demand for it.

    In the pre cell phone era most people were quite happy taking snapshots on simple little, cheap camera.    Eventually a few moved up into medium grade 35mm cameras and fewer still moved into the SLR and higher mode.   I suspect the vast majority still simply  "snap a picture".

    If that is the case, then it is likely that that extra 2Gb seldom if ever gets put to the use Apple intended.  I would think that it would used more if made available to the GPU for gaming.   (But then, we don't really know.   Maybe it is).
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 18 of 23
    AppleExposedAppleExposed Posts: 1,672unconfirmed, member
    Some people are calling the new iPhones "a camera that comes with a phone".
  • Reply 19 of 23
    tmaytmay Posts: 3,979member
    melgross said:

    If true, this seems to me to be a bit wasteful:   Reserving 2 Gb to a camera that, for most people, gets used less than 1% of the time.

    I guess one could make an analogy with GPU's using reserved (rather than shared) memory.  But GPU's get used a lot more than cameras.

    Could, perhaps, this extra 2Gb also be used elsewhere by the phone when not needed by the camera?
    I disagree. Cameras on modern smartphones are, as we saw from the presentation, one of the most important features. For Apple to make the phone as camera-like as possible, both in function and quality, a very high speed, and large buffer would be an advantage,

    of course, it may turn out that there is no extra RAM, which would make the cameras even more amazing, in the sense that they could do all of this without high speed buffering.
    Yes, Apple is really pushing the camera in their presentation(s).   But one has to wonder if that is because its one of the few things they have to push rather than because there is some amazing demand for it.

    In the pre cell phone era most people were quite happy taking snapshots on simple little, cheap camera.    Eventually a few moved up into medium grade 35mm cameras and fewer still moved into the SLR and higher mode.   I suspect the vast majority still simply  "snap a picture".

    If that is the case, then it is likely that that extra 2Gb seldom if ever gets put to the use Apple intended.  I would think that it would used more if made available to the GPU for gaming.   (But then, we don't really know.   Maybe it is).
    People want to take "snapshots" that look great, so that they can send them to their friends and family. Apple nailed that process with the iPhone 11 models my making it easy to get artistic output. That 2GB for the imaging pipeline, if true, surely would benefit those people that do want the best imaging/video from their iPhone, and it does appear that there is in fact demand for that.

    All of that R&D that you claim doesn't happen at Apple because of buybacks, is why the computational imaging pipeline in the iPhone 11 models  makes it easy for the user to create great images.
    edited September 20 watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 23
    tmay said:
    melgross said:

    If true, this seems to me to be a bit wasteful:   Reserving 2 Gb to a camera that, for most people, gets used less than 1% of the time.

    I guess one could make an analogy with GPU's using reserved (rather than shared) memory.  But GPU's get used a lot more than cameras.

    Could, perhaps, this extra 2Gb also be used elsewhere by the phone when not needed by the camera?
    I disagree. Cameras on modern smartphones are, as we saw from the presentation, one of the most important features. For Apple to make the phone as camera-like as possible, both in function and quality, a very high speed, and large buffer would be an advantage,

    of course, it may turn out that there is no extra RAM, which would make the cameras even more amazing, in the sense that they could do all of this without high speed buffering.
    Yes, Apple is really pushing the camera in their presentation(s).   But one has to wonder if that is because its one of the few things they have to push rather than because there is some amazing demand for it.

    In the pre cell phone era most people were quite happy taking snapshots on simple little, cheap camera.    Eventually a few moved up into medium grade 35mm cameras and fewer still moved into the SLR and higher mode.   I suspect the vast majority still simply  "snap a picture".

    If that is the case, then it is likely that that extra 2Gb seldom if ever gets put to the use Apple intended.  I would think that it would used more if made available to the GPU for gaming.   (But then, we don't really know.   Maybe it is).
    People want to take "snapshots" that look great, so that they can send them to their friends and family. Apple nailed that process with the iPhone 11 models my making it easy to get artistic output. That 2GB for the imaging pipeline, if true, surely would benefit those people that do want the best imaging/video from their iPhone, and it does appear that there is in fact demand for that.

    All of that R&D that you claim doesn't happen at Apple because of buybacks, is why the computational imaging pipeline in the iPhone 11 models  makes it easy for the user to create great images.
    Sorry, but "snapshot" and "artistic output" are mutually exclusive terms.
    And, sorry too -- but Apple's R&D could be even as much or more than Huawei's if they didn't squander their cash on buybacks that provide no value to either society or the company.   But, we were talking about cameras before you tried to side track the conversation.
Sign In or Register to comment.