Originally Posted by ghostface147
I wonder if the ARM architecture is capable of running a full OS like Windows or OS X.
The company wants to move into that space:http://www.greenm3.com/2009/09/arm-p...e-designs.html
iPhone and iPad are running OS X, just with a different UI layer (Cocoa Touch vs Aqua/Cocoa).
Originally Posted by ltcommander.data
x86 code reuse and the move to Intel processors has definitely seen the revival of the Mac platform or at least accelerated growth and I doubt Apple would want to risk that moving to ARM for seemingly little benefit.
The benefit is huge if the above link is correct. Apple have the IP to push CPUs beyond waiting on Intel and their politics with GPU manufacturers, even though they haven't built the CPU yet, which comes from Samsung. Plus they'd have a common architecture with their mobile devices.
A performance-per-watt advantage of 5-8 times is surely enough to warrant consideration of switching when that's the reason they jumped to Intel.
Certainly some optimizations on the x86 chips can be reused sticking with Intel but they can bundle 5-8x the power in the same package to boost every app, not just optimized ones.
The desktop/laptop model is still tricky because of end users having to get new binaries all over again but devices like the ATV and even the XServe could go to ARM for ultra-low power usage. Most servers would run better with huge amounts of lower clocked chips than fewer fast ones - obviously depends on tasks run and more of both clock and cores is good.
Servers don't have many apps to run like a desktop/laptop, same with the ATV.
Originally Posted by kdubb
A4s do not run at 3ghz... required to run applications of any serious size (e.g Photoshop)
A4s do not have multiple cores... standard on desktops today
A4s do not bridge with desktop GPUs... required to run displays of the sizes seen in MacBook Pros
A4 is based on the Cortex A8 and wouldn't be a reference for a desktop/server chip - its been chosen for its purpose. The A9 supports multiple cores (tested up to 8) at speeds of 2GHz. ARM CPUs have also been used with NVidia GPUs in the Tegra platform:http://www.nvidia.com/object/product_tegra_apx_us.html
It's far from the desktop/laptop models but supports 1080p output. NVidia would have to make a new model fit for purpose, possibly after an Apple purchase or whatever.
There's absolutely no reason to consider any possibility of Apple switching to ARM soon as people have said but you can't tell what will happen in the long term. Apple ship just over 10 million Macs a year now and with an install base of 70 million iPods/iPhones, there's a very real possibility that there are more people in the world who own an ARM-based Apple product than an x86 one, especially considering there are a lot of PPCs out there still.
So consider if ARM have 5x better performance per watt now than Intel and say 3 years down the line, they produce 16-32 core 2-3GHz ARM Cortex A10 or A11, what difference would it make if it had to emulate a few things here and there? We had to do it for the x86 transition via binary translation on slower hardware.
The only legacy binary apps you get that are difficult to port are the Adobe Suite, Microsoft Suite, some games and Windows. I doubt Apple care much about Windows usage, Adobe and MS would just have to port the suites over and Apple's dev tools would offer an easy path to target ARM. Apple could use ARM as a co-processor.
I can believe the iPad could be the start of rethinking the computer in anticipation of becoming its replacement. More people dislike computers than their sales would have us believe and they do have barriers. There needs to be a bridge though. The simplicity can't hold back functionality and currently the iPad does. OS X is far simpler than Windows/Linux yet just as powerful. Rather than diverge, I think OS X and iPhone OS will converge to reach the best of both. They may never meet exactly due to the UI and usage differences though.
There was a day we thought Apple would never switch from IBM after using them for 19 years and they did. Didn't see a unix system coming after using the old Mac system for 16 years but here we are. Apple have been using Intel for a grand total of 5 years now and we just can't say for certain that they will continue to in say 5, 10, 15 years from now. We might all be running an OS that is architecture agnostic, we might all be running our lives from our phones. I really think the latter is going to happen one day - mobile is the future of everything.