Right now, there are multiple 12 GB of RAM phones on the market. They run the gamut of prices and spec, but none are more expensive than a MacBook Pro 13 inch with a factory config, save perhaps the Galaxy Fold, a curiosity.

  • Samsung Galaxy Fold $???
  • Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus $1,600
  • OnePlus 7 Pro $1299
  • Asus ROG Phone 2 €899
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus $929
  • Xiaomi Black Shark 2 or Black Shark 2 Pro $879
  • Lenovo Z6 Pro $849
  • Xiaomi Mi 9 Explorer Edition $800
  • Nubia Red Magic 3 $700
  • Vivo iQOO $650

I didn't look up the MSRPs but rather what seemed to be legitimate prices online to give an honest representation. That's likely an impartial list, but there are at minimum 10 Android models shipping with more RAM than a $1299 MacBook Pro, and even the $1999 model of the 13 MacBook Pro ships with 8 GB of RAM. In all 13 inch models, it must be custom ordered. There's been a bit of stagnation for laptops and RAM, partially due to chipsets, partially due to modern OSes using much more efficient RAM management via compression aided by SSD scratch disks and lastly due to the increased power draw. The last feels increasingly irrelevant as phones have caught up to laptops and the foolish TouchBar. It was only in July of 2018 that Apple addressed the lack of 32 GB RAM options for the MacBook Pro lineup.

Just as a barometer of applications: Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom recommends 8 GB of RAM or more, Illustrator recommends 16 GB with 4 GB being the minimum, After Effects recommends 16 GB with 8 GB being the minimum. Notably, the assumption is you would not be running multiple professional applications at once, which in reality with say, After Effects, which can routinely involve any number of 2D editing applications, and even 3D apps to juggle resources. Then there's development, where Docker or VMs/Simulators, and horrid JS memory vacuums exist. I'm not even going to touch professional audio. GPUs crossed the 8 GB barrier some time ago, meaning you could connect a 16 GB AMD Radeon VII to a $1999 MacBook Pro with 8 GB of RAM. Even for general web surfing, it's easy to saturate 8 GB of RAM with a browser with poor memory management (chrome).

None of Apple's Pro laptops should ship with less than 16 GB and the MacBook Air should have a factory model that ships with 16 GB of RAM. This would be moot if we had user-serviceable RAM upgrades. Laptops needn't be held to the modular standards of desktops, but they should be for basic specs.

Also worth noting all iPhones 11s have 4 GB of RAM*. 4 GB of RAM is good for right now but seems a bit counterproductive until you consider the revelation that the iPhone 11 may have 2 GB of ram dedicated to the camera. iOS's memory management works mostly due to Apple's stringent background task management. My guess is the next iteration of the iPhone will probably move to 6 GB of Application RAM and 2 GB for the camera.