APple will never go to an ARM instruction set as the primary processor in a Mac. It isn't even remotely possible. Such a machine would be so underpowered they would loose most of their customer base overnight. I just don't think people realize the vast difference in performance we would see when offering up these ideas.
An iOS based netbook would be another thing, but it would get zero traction in the Mac market.
Originally Posted by SockRolid
So yes, there's all kind of buzz about the next-gen MacBook Air. But I wouldn't be surprised if Steve shocked us with some avant-garde Mac OS and Mac news too. I think we're all expecting some kind of hybridization of iOS multi-touch and traditional Mac OS X. Steve will probably lay out the groundwork for that, starting with 10.7. (And I would expect 10.7 to be the final revision of Mac OS X before Mac OS 11, or whatever it will be called. Hence the codename "Lion," the ultimate Big Cat.)
The Mac is almost certain to adopt some Touch technologies in the future. This is so likely that I don't see it as worthy of Jobs time on stage.
As to OS Ten well there are plenty more revisions possible.
But what about hardware? The event's title is "Back to the Mac," which could imply some kind of hardware feature migration from iDevices "back to" iMacs, Mac Pros, and MacBooks. I wouldn't be surprised if one or more of the laptops (if anything) announced at the event will use an A4 or more advanced custom variant of the ARM reference design.
Apple didn't spend $278 million acquiring PA Semi just to have them warm over the ARM chip for iPhone, Apple TV, iPad, and iPod touch. (Intrinsity, which Apple acquired more recently, did all that iDevice tweaking.)
Yes they did! Well at least in part they did. PA Semi was rumored to be part of the Mac business unit.
So maybe Steve will announce Apple's plan to split from Intel. A true, custom Apple-proprietary chip would give Apple independence from the Intels and AMDs of the world. Apple wouldn't need to wait for Intel to release new chips to everyone. And a proprietary chip would kill the "hackintosh" market dead.
Apple has no desire to kill the hackentosh world. They are only concerned about people makng money off of their OS. The hackentosh world has actually helped Apple over the last few years.
It would also lower Apple's hardware production costs somewhat. Especially if their custom chip could be scaled from iPod touch up to medium-level MacBooks. There might always be Xserves and Mac Pros running Intel chips, for heavy number crunching and render farms.
Without binary compatibility such machines would be useless.
But the consumer portables and desktops could eventually be migrated to a proprietary Apple system on a chip.
Of course, that would require a huge amount of work on iOS and/or Mac OS. But that's what Apple is good at. Trying many variations, pruning the choices down, then picking the best possible solution and polishing it until it's ready for release.
Actually little effort is likely required. First; OS/X is Unix. Second; Apple most likely keeps OS/X running on a number of platforms as a matter of policy. Third; iOS and OS/X share much in the way of code already, the difference isn't as big as people imagine.
All that hardware and software blood, sweat, and tears would be worth it. Apple would finally have their own ultra-efficient hardware custom made for, and tightly integrated with, their own OS. The end result being, of course, the best user experience on the planet.
Now you have gone overboard with the fanboy ranting. Apple won't be able to beat Intels or even AMDs cost advantages due to volume anytime soon.