Raspberry Pi 4 release date: Does the Model B+ push back a potential Raspberry Pi 4?
As you’ve probably noticed if you’ve ended up here, there was no new Raspberry Pi in 2017 and there were reports we wouldn’t see a new slice in 2018 either.
Raspberry Pi Foundation founder Eben Upton said last year that the company’s plan was to pivot from hardware to its pixel software for the “foreseeable future”, which actually turned out to be a year as the Foundation has just launched of the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+.
READ NEXT: Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ review
However, good as the Raspberry Pi 4 Model B+ undoubtedly is, it’s still a refinement rather than a whole new product. So does that mean we’re due the Raspberry Pi 4?
The Raspberry Pi 3 was released two years ago on 29 February 2016 and last year, Upton said: “Raspberry Pi 1 lasted for three years. Then we had Raspberry Pi 2 that lasted for a year, I think Raspberry Pi 3 is more like a three-year product. We may tweak some peripheral bits of it at some point but probably not even that.”
This suggested that, working on a three-year cycle, the next Pi wouldn’t be released until this time next year.
This was bolstered by claims made by Upton to our sister site, IT PRO, when he said: “We’re kind of at the end of the road for 40 nanometer. There’s not much more you can do in that process because ultimately you’re limited by thermals. In the end, you can add as much silicon area as you want, because if you can’t afford to toggle the transistors in the silicon because the thing will cook, then you can’t get any faster.”
Of course, the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ is not quite a Raspberry Pi 4 and comes with a couple of new features, without being a complete overhaul, but it has given us hope a fourth-generation Raspberry Pi is in the pipeline.
“I’d love to do more tinkering,” Upton has previously said, and if there is tinkering to come, this is what we’re hoping for with the hypothetical Raspberry Pi 4.
Raspberry Pi 4: What we know
Very little, the be brutally frank. The Raspberry Pi Foundation has said next to nothing about the next microcomputer, with the official FAQ saying, “As of February 2016, the third generation of the Model B Raspberry Pi has been released. Beyond this revision, which upgraded the main processor on the board to a 64-bit version, there are no immediate plans to release any more new models.
“We concentrate our engineering effort on making the software that runs on the Raspberry Pi faster and better all the time, which is why you should always ensure that you are running the most recent firmware.”
Still, recent developments may show a sign of what’s to come. The Raspberry Pi Foundation has announced that Google will be assisting with AI tools into the microcomputer, which probably means the Raspberry Pi 4 will benefit when it launches.
“We at Google are interested in creating smart tools for makers, and want to hear from you about what would be most helpful,” the company wrote in an announcement. “As a thank you, we will share our findings with the community so that you can learn more about makers around the world.”
If you’re interested in helping to shape the future of Raspberry Pi, be sure to fill out Google’s survey here.
Raspberry Pi 4: What people want
The good thing about a release cycle that can be measured in years rather than months is that the improvements tend to be suitably massive, even for the minimal outlay. The ARM Cortex A53-based processor in the Pi 3 is around ten times faster than the CPU in the original Pi from 2012.
That said, few have put their heads above the parapet to speculate as to what the Raspberry Pi 4 will contain as of yet. The main thing to remember is that Upton and the Raspberry Pi Foundation seem keen to keep any projects as close to the $35 original launch price as possible – and that limits ambition somewhat.
Very few have openly speculated, but one exception is Rasim Muratovic of Rasmurtech. He thinks it’s going to get an upgrade to the BCM4908 processor. That would be a substantial upgrade, pushing the 1.2GHz processing power of the Raspberry Pi 3 up to 1.8GHz.
Muratovic also speculates that the RAM will hit 2GB, and the fans will finally get what they’ve wanted for some time: USB 3.0 ports for both better power management and faster transfer speeds.
This is all speculation, of course, but in terms of safer bets, there is one thing we can assume. The form factor has remained static for the past five years, and it’s unlikely we’ll see that change in the next iteration, whenever it emerges.
We will be updating this post with more solid information when it begins to materialise, but for now, word on the Raspberry Pi 4 is practically non-existent.
Raspberry Pi 4: Predicted price
The Raspberry Pi’s main selling point has always been its price, and its price has barely budged. Back in 2012, it was £29 – now it’s £33. At a time when Brexit is shoving up prices on everything from marmite to HTC Vives, that’s pretty impressive.
It would be surprising, therefore, if the Raspberry Pi 4 went for much more than this. To keep the Pi’s unique selling point intact, £35 would seem to be the upper ceiling, although of course much depends on what happens to our currency before we see the Raspberry Pi 4, which brings us to…
Raspberry Pi 4: Release date
In an interview with Wired, Eben Eden suggested the Raspberry Pi 3 feels like a “three-year product”. That means we’re looking at February 2019 at the earliest – possibly longer, given the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ has only just arrived. Keep waiting, Pi fans.
We’ll update this page as soon as we hear anything more from the Raspberry Pi Foundation, but for now the Raspberry Pi 4 is theoretical as it reaches the halfway point of its three-year lifespan.