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Rumor: Apple plans to move laptops from Intel to ARM processors - Page 2

post #41 of 157
Quote:
Originally Posted by OllieWallieWhiskers View Post

VMWare runs pretty well on the iPad...

Ein? iPad doesn't do any virtualization
post #42 of 157
If there's any truth in this it would be in add an A5 to the Intel processor in the Mac Books rather than replace. When you only need low-power mobile apps you can run iOS and when you need the power the i5 or whatever is ready to run full OS X.

MBPs do this today with graphics cards so it's a logical step. Sure it's costly but it's a way of having the cake and eating it.
post #43 of 157
What a load of BS. Apple would be incredibly stupid if they moved their laptop business to ARM, but keep their desktop business on x86. It would be a nightmare for users and developers who use both, because even with fat/universal binaries the performance difference between a high-end ARM chip and a high-end x86 chip are simply too large, and this is not going to change anytime. It will take at least a few more years before ARM designs even close the gap with a 4 year old Core 2 Duo chip. ARM chips aren't so power efficient because they're made from fairy dust, but because of the simple fact they don't have all the insanely complex logic that makes a high-end x86 chip so efficient. Moving MacBooks to ARM doesn't make any sense at all, it's a performance degradation, and as someone before me already noted, the benefits in battery life will not be worth it by a long shot. If Apple wanted to trade battery life for performance, a much better idea would be to aggressively underclock their x86 CPU's dynamically.

What I would not rule out though (and I've actually been thinking about this for over a year already), is that Apple might *add* an ARM chip to their laptops, alongside the usual x86 chip, allowing the user to choose which of the two he wants to use at boot time. This way you could have full performance most of the time, but improved battery life for occasions you won't be near an outlet for a long time, doing light work, e.g. on a long flight. An added bonus would be the possibility of near-perfect iOS emulation. I can see this happening, not a MacBook that only has an ARM CPU, that's a downright crazy idea.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nicolbolas

so...from what i understand atom (newer ones) is 2-3 times after than A5.

A current Atom is most definitely not 2-3x faster than an A5. For most tasks the A5 will be comparable in performance, for some tasks it will be a little slower (floating-point calculations), and for some it will be faster. Remember that Atom's are really, REALLY slow, to the point it's almost an insult to the people buying these things. All of the Atom's Intel has made have more or less the same performance, the newer ones are hardly any faster than the older ones, and the performance you will get out of them are somewhere in the neighborhood of a Pentium-III at half the clock speed. The only good thing about Atom is the marketing that made so many people see it as great new product, while it is not much more than a rehash of 10-year old technology produced using modern process technology to make it relatively power-efficient.
post #44 of 157
Obviously, Apple did not learn from the PowerPC FIASCO. Too bad. Be prepared for a brave new world of 1984 closed Mac systems based on the horrible iOS. Apple is evolving. Hopefully, NOT!!! Or else millions will move to Windows. Apple decides.
post #45 of 157
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrtotes View Post

If there's any truth in this it would be in add an A5 to the Intel processor in the Mac Books rather than replace. When you only need low-power mobile apps you can run iOS and when you need the power the i5 or whatever is ready to run full OS X.

MBPs do this today with graphics cards so it's a logical step. Sure it's costly but it's a way of having the cake and eating it.

And this is adding a lot of complexity to gain so little
post #46 of 157
Long term (longer than 2 years) with llvm and OpenCL Apple is definitely working to be both processor independent and offload multitasking work onto the GPU. Such a transition would be much easier than their past one to x86 architecture. The question is not whether Apple will use ARM in the future, they will, but on which products.
post #47 of 157
If they did, that kills any future Mac sales for me. I love OSX but need the VMs we run. It wouldn't be hard to move back to Linux boxes for that.
post #48 of 157
Quote:
Originally Posted by palegolas View Post

With benchmark tests finding the iPad2 roughly to equal the performance of the Powerbook G4, it's already more than half way there. Future laptops... will probably be iPad Pro's.

Also, Apple is famous for not looking back, but instead looking forward. I'm sure they have great insight in the ARM vs x86 roadmaps, and their in house expertise too, for years to come.

This. Apple said it when they released the air, they feel that it's the future of computing. If they can put a ton of low power, multiple-core chips in an air-esque form factor and have it be even close to as powerful as the bulkier version, why wouldn't apple do that? Not just for mbp, but paper thin iMacs and apple tv sized minis. And if anyone would know if/when this is possible, it'd probably be the people making the iPad 2, no?
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post #49 of 157
Quote:
Originally Posted by zunx View Post

Obviously, Apple did not learn from the PowerPC FIASCO. Too bad. Be prepared for a brave new world of 1984 closed Mac systems based on the horrible iOS. Apple is evolving. Hopefully, NOT!!! Or else millions will move to Windows. Apple decides.

That is bonkers on so many levels that I can’t even begin to break down every absurd layer without cutting into my weekend.
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post #50 of 157
Quote:
Originally Posted by palegolas View Post

With benchmark tests finding the iPad2 roughly to equal the performance of the Powerbook G4, it's already more than half way there. Future laptops... will probably be iPad Pro's.

Also, Apple is famous for not looking back, but instead looking forward. I'm sure they have great insight in the ARM vs x86 roadmaps, and their in house expertise too, for years to come.

A PowerPC Powerbook G4 is more than 10 times slower than the latest Intel MacBook Pros.

This puts ARM at a serious disadvantage compared to Intel Processors.

Intel is not sitting on its fanny either.

Intel just came out with 3D Transistors - which no one else will have. These will double the processing speed of existing processors. And, they will simultaneously lower Intel processor power requirements to the point they are equivalent to ARM's.

Intel is very very aggressive since processors are their life-blood.

I can see, however, Apple going to Intel to fabricate Apple's A5+ ARM chips. After all, with 3D processor and 22mm process technologies, Intel can make Apple's A5 and future ARM chips much much more powerful than non-Intel ARM chips. This will give Apple a huge lead on its competitors.
post #51 of 157
We are not talking about current ARM processors. Those who keep saying ARM is slow at the moment.
We have ARM Cortex A9, but they are tuned for Mobile uses, using 40nmLP, and lower clock speed due to power constraint.
Next Gen is A15, which will bring another huge leap in performance. Then there is 64bit version of ARM.

That is a lot of performance enhancement could be in the next 2 years. And we are talking about a 64bit version here. Dual Core version of such thing should definitely be able to fit our daily needs today.

So the performance shouldn't be a problem. The question is whether Apple really want this.

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post #52 of 157
Quote:
Originally Posted by ksec View Post

We are not talking about current ARM processors. Those who keep saying ARM is slow at the moment.
We have ARM Cortex A9, but they are tuned for Mobile uses, using 40nmLP, and lower clock speed due to power constraint.
Next Gen is A15, which will bring another huge leap in performance. Then there is 64bit version of ARM.

That is a lot of performance enhancement could be in the next 2 years. And we are talking about a 64bit version here. Dual Core version of such thing should definitely be able to fit our daily needs today.

So the performance shouldn't be a problem. The question is whether Apple really want this.

And meanwhile, competition doesn't improve their processors
post #53 of 157
This story is crazy. Maybe there is a remote chance that OS X will be able to run on ARM just like Microsoft says Windows 8 will be able to run on ARM, but Apple isn't giving up Intel until ARM can come up with something like Xeon and power a 12 core Mac Pro at 3+ GHz

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post #54 of 157
Quote:
Originally Posted by ksec View Post

We are not talking about current ARM processors. Those who keep saying ARM is slow at the moment.
We have ARM Cortex A9, but they are tuned for Mobile uses, using 40nmLP, and lower clock speed due to power constraint.
Next Gen is A15, which will bring another huge leap in performance. Then there is 64bit version of ARM.

That is a lot of performance enhancement could be in the next 2 years. And we are talking about a 64bit version here. Dual Core version of such thing should definitely be able to fit our daily needs today.

So the performance shouldn't be a problem. The question is whether Apple really want this.

Thats all fine and dandy, but as noted Intel isnt sitting still. The question remains: What makes the ARM roadmaps a better candidate for notebooks and desktops over the Core roadmaps? This rumour doesnt address that so I cant help but rule in its entirety.
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post #55 of 157
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrtotes View Post

If there's any truth in this it would be in add an A5 to the Intel processor in the Mac Books rather than replace. When you only need low-power mobile apps you can run iOS and when you need the power the i5 or whatever is ready to run full OS X.

MBPs do this today with graphics cards so it's a logical step. Sure it's costly but it's a way of having the cake and eating it.

I can see this, for portables not desktops so much (or maybe just for green cred). It links to something I've thought a lot about, modular computing. The idea of having an iPod module in a MacBook essentially, consider the playback time with the comparably giant battery and with a SSD blade like the Air you don't even need to waste on spinning up the platters. If you join that to the sectional screen patents from Apple where parts or layers are e-ink or can be turned off then you could have an Air that switches to iPod mode, deactivated most of the screen and runs for days.

Not that you really want to run it for days playing music, rather if that is the sole use for the next 2hrs why waste a 1/5 of your battery driving a whole computer.
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post #56 of 157
i wish to understand the differences between the arm and x86 archetecture as to processing and capability perhaps someone can provide a link that explains the differences and adress the roadmaps as was mentioned in an earlier post.
can an arm processor encode video, do an iMac ivideo editing? need a separate or new operating system

i can understand the want of apple to put the world of the iphone apps on laptops, desktops and grow that ecosystem

but isn't arm processors big plus is the power usage?

intel just announced their "3d" processors, faster, and lower power and can be used in smartphones and laptops etc.

i know atom is underpowered and uses more energy
with this huge shift to "mobile platforms" does my macbook pro, and imac utilitze iphone apps as is? does it need a separate operating system, or in addition to the intel chip need an arm chip??

we hear rumors of apple wanting to get the iphone, ipad apps to the "mac" well how

and doesn't SJ want to get away from samsung?
thanks for your patience
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post #57 of 157
More likely they will start throwing in one or more A5s (or whatever they will be called at the time) into the Mac range in addition to the Intel chip, to be used either as OS specific API hardware accelerators leaving the whole Intel chip free for App use, or something similar.

With the right OpenCL bits in there a couple of ARM chips will be cheap, small, low power, and a great way to a) differentiate a MAC from a PC (won't be "just a pc" any more), and b) give more cores to split tasks up and multithread using Grand Central.

Imagine a custom fabbed A6 with OS APIs hardware accelerated and the powerVR chips etc available to developers via OpenCL/GCD like the SPs in the PS3. Could be very powerful and very flexible. With a way to turn off your Intel CPU and dedicated GPU you could have a laptop that get's ridiculous battery life by running powersaving OS on the ARMs for bog standard stuff like iTune and web etc.
post #58 of 157
Could Intel apply it's new 22nm TriGate process to ARM chips? That would be sweet.
post #59 of 157
Quote:
Originally Posted by stuffe View Post

More likely they will start throwing in one or more A5s (or whatever they will be called at the time) into the Mac range in addition to the Intel chip, to be used either as OS specific API hardware accelerators leaving the whole Intel chip free for App use, or something similar.

With the right OpenCL bits in there a couple of ARM chips will be cheap, small, low power, and a great way to a) differentiate a MAC from a PC (won't be "just a pc" any more), and b) give more cores to split tasks up and multithread using Grand Central.

Imagine a custom fabbed A6 with OS APIs hardware accelerated and the powerVR chips etc available to developers via OpenCL/GCD like the SPs in the PS3. Could be very powerful and very flexible. With a way to turn off your Intel CPU and dedicated GPU you could have a laptop that get's ridiculous battery life by running powersaving OS on the ARMs for bog standard stuff like iTune and web etc.

I have my doubts about that when Apple seems to be unable to get GPU switching right.
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post #60 of 157
I could see arm processors in the MacBook Air. The 10 inch Air is mostly battery doesn't have that powerful of a processor, and still only gets five hours of battery life. Arm chips are advancing pretty fast in a couple of years they may be more powerful than what the 10 inch currently has and they probably could cut down the battery size and still get 10 hours of battery life. They could also get rid of the fan (although they might decide to keep it to run the processor at faster speeds). They will save quite a bit of money and could probably drop the cost by $100. If they are able to increase the speed enough, it makes an auwful lot of sense.
post #61 of 157
Quote:
Originally Posted by grub View Post

If they did, that kills any future Mac sales for me. I love OSX but need the VMs we run. It wouldn't be hard to move back to Linux boxes for that.

I guess you could switch to Windows. Oh wait, they're moving to ARM too.
post #62 of 157
Seeing the number of tools in OS X Lion that are dependant on features of Sandy Bridge CPUs, I would HIGHLY DOUBT this is a feasable possibility at all.

I can see there being a MacBook in the future with an ARM processor that runs on iOS and not OS X that could take Apple below the $999 price point, but that's it.
post #63 of 157
What about Apple and FPGA's?
Can someone shed light on why the new MBP contains FPGAs from Lattice Semiconductors?
post #64 of 157
Quote:
Originally Posted by chabig View Post

I guess you could switch to Windows. Oh wait, they're moving to ARM too.

Really, moving to ARM?
post #65 of 157
Meh. It's an interesting possibility, one that would like improve battery life to new highs. And a bold move. But they'd have to build desktop and server versions. They could not just convert the laptops. Then they'd need a Rosetta for ARM. It would take Adobe a few years more to catch up LOL.

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post #66 of 157
Thinking out loud here...

The x86 architecture was defined years ago (I go back to the 8080 and Z80 years).

ARM is not all that new either.

PPC and CELL still are being used.

GPUs are more recent addition -- but are now de rigueur.

The difference between RISC vs CISC has been blurred.



But, more than that the needs have changed:

-- low power is a requirement for everything from an iPod to a server farm.

-- compute capability benefits more, with additional cores/threads than faster processors.

-- a certain amount of specialized RAM improves performance of the GPU/CPU/Cores/Threads.

-- with things like GCD and OpenCL, more tools are available to exploit multiple cores/threads



That said, what if the best chip architecture designers were to start with a blank slate -- and create an efficient, low-power architecture that could scale from, say, an iPod shuffle to the largest supercomputer.

If these architecture designers were to start today, how long would it take to define a new architecture -- let's call it "PenUltima"

Assume that for compatibility:

1) today's x86 computer has a large install base of complex (and legacy) software to protect
---- today's x86 computer would become tomorrow's PenUltima + x86 device (eventually PenUltima only)

2) today's mobile devices have less complex (newer) software that could be migrated with a recompile
---- today's mobile ARM device would become tomorrow's mobile PenUltima (only) device

Maybe, we need a computer architecture for the 21st century.
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post #67 of 157
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigdaddyguido View Post

This. Apple said it when they released the air, they feel that it's the future of computing. If they can put a ton of low power, multiple-core chips in an air-esque form factor and have it be even close to as powerful as the bulkier version, why wouldn't apple do that? Not just for mbp, but paper thin iMacs and apple tv sized minis. And if anyone would know if/when this is possible, it'd probably be the people making the iPad 2, no?

Because multiple core gets you dimishing returns. A dual-core chip doesn't double your performance. A quad-core chip doesn't quadruple your performance. Except for highly parallel functions (such as video processing), adding more cores eventually gets to the point that it doesn't speed up the types of tasks that most people perform.

Apple is doing a lot of work to make it easier for programmers to take advantage of multiple cores and the GPU, and that helps. But if you have a series of calculations where each step is dependent on the previous steps being completed first, the work can't be distrubuted to multiple cores.

Right now, 4 cores seems to be a practical limit for a typical user. In the previous iMacs where Apple offered faster dual-core or slower quad-core CPUs as options, many typical users were better off with the faster dual-core iMac. I'm sure we'll eventually get to the point where adding more than 4 cores will be of practical benefit to the average consumer, but that's likely more than a year or so away still.
post #68 of 157
I don't buy this rumor at all. It would be stupid to unveil a new MacBook Pro that runs 10 times slower than the previous year's model along with poor gaming performance.
post #69 of 157
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnmorrissey View Post

I can see there being a MacBook in the future with an ARM processor that runs on iOS and not OS X that could take Apple below the $999 price point, but that's it.

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post #70 of 157
Quote:
Originally Posted by Negafox View Post

I don't buy this rumor at all. It would be stupid to unveil a new MacBook Pro that runs 10 times slower than the previous year's model along with poor gaming performance.

I hope this rumor isn't true, or it would point to a netbook air variant only.

Though anything is possible with Apple, try do anything they can to squeeze higher profit margins. From not including an extra chip to allow USB 3 on the sandybridge model Lines. To ignoring blu-ray intentionally to not have to pay for the patent or hardware costs (and because of iTunes movie store)

Time and time again apple is showing it is more inclined to squeeze costs lower and charge as much as they can. So if apple can figure a way out to make their own CPU chips... It's plausible and they would keep more money from their hardware sales.

It would stink. But apple has a "think different" corporate agenda these days and it always isn't bent on what is best for consumers, instead it is based on higher profit margins and extra income streams.
post #71 of 157
Reading through this thread reminds me exactly of the times before the PPC and the Intel transitions.

But this hits me with a very interesting SPECULATION. Follow the logic... by the time this comes about, I'd bet ALL apps will have to come from the App Store. New CPU means devs have to once again rewrite their apps... so LOTS of app updates and such. THIS time, Cupertino gets a big cut of all the app sales that are forced because of the CPU transition. IF this turns out to be the case, they will have completed the transition to an even more evil empire than poor m$.

Somehow or other I see it more likely they move to running iOS on the whole computer line and running their own "A" series chips. I think they'll drop the Mac Pros and keep laptops and iMacs along with the current iOS devices. While I may hate that, it seems a better move for them than going ARM.
post #72 of 157
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

...what if the best chip architecture designers were to start with a blank slate -- and create an efficient, low-power architecture that could scale from, say, an iPod shuffle to the largest supercomputer.

If these architecture designers were to start today, how long would it take to define a new architecture -- let's call it "PenUltima"

...

Better yet, how long would it take them if they started in 2008 (when Apple acquired PA semi)?
post #73 of 157
Quote:
Originally Posted by CodeWarrior View Post

Running Windows on ARM is only part of the equation. You have to have the programs compiled so they will run on ARM. That was the problem back in the days of NT running on multiple chips. The hardware and OS was there but not any of the Apps. Emulation was a poor substitute.

I took the point to mean that since Windows 8 will end up running on ARM architecture then so will Windows applications before long. If that turns out to be true then the whole virtualization question becomes much simpler.
post #74 of 157
Here's my prediction:

1. By 2013 (maybe sooner), all apps in the Mac App Store will be a trivial recompile from x86 to ARM.

2. iOS will adopt MacOS-like capabilities with respect to keyboard/trackpad input and larger screen output

Thus, Apple will be able to sell iPhones and iPads that can dock (via thunderbolt) with a device that provides keyboard/trackpad input and larger monitor output. This could be a "laptop" or it could be a "desktop", depending on the size of the keyboard/trackpad/monitor. The iDevice would be smart enough to switch UIs depending on whether it is docked or not.

Apple could also sell a "laptop" or "desktop" computer that doesn't involve any docking -- just a straight-up iOS laptop or desktop.

I think it is devices like these that will run ARM CPUs.

At the same time, though, the Mac will remain on x86, running MacOS, with the capacity to run a broader range of apps than what's in the Mac App Store. These x86 computers will be the "tucks", the iOS computers will be the "cars", but they will be much closer to each other than they are today.
post #75 of 157
Quote:
Originally Posted by mitchelljd View Post

I hope this rumor isn't true, or it would point to a netbook air variant only.

Though anything is possible with Apple, try do anything they can to squeeze higher profit margins. From not including an extra chip to allow USB 3 on the sandybridge model Lines. To ignoring blu-ray intentionally to not have to pay for the patent or hardware costs (and because of iTunes movie store)

Time and time again apple is showing it is more inclined to squeeze costs lower and charge as much as they can. So if apple can figure a way out to make their own CPU chips... It's plausible and they would keep more money from their hardware sales.

It would stink. But apple has a "think different" corporate agenda these days and it always isn't bent on what is best for consumers, instead it is based on higher profit margins and extra income streams.

Yeah... Greedy Apple with their "think different" agenda has made customers buy an iPad for $500 as opposed to a 1984 Mac for $1,995 - $2,495 about $5,200 in 2011 dollars.


They really know how to screw over the customers...
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post #76 of 157
This would be a good way to completely kill off the Mac business and be an iOS only company selling appliances and having no real "PC"

People tolerated and jumped on bored with the PPC to Intel transition not because it was Apple, but because it was Intel. Apple switches to some junk that would be horrible for a Personal Computer for most people, and they could lose half their business. I don't think they are that stupid...

Quote:
Originally Posted by esummers View Post

I don't see why if Windows 8 runs on ARM.

I think this is inevitable and reasonable within the next few years. The A5 could probably already make a decent ultra compact laptop.

Windows 8 will mostly likely have an ARM variant, yes... but that doesn't mean that all Software written for Windows 8 will run on any install of Windows 8 on any hardware. The software will still specify and only run on certain processors. most of the high end software people will want that runs on Win8 will still require an x86-64 cpu.


Quote:
Originally Posted by palegolas View Post

With benchmark tests finding the iPad2 roughly to equal the performance of the Powerbook G4, it's already more than half way there. Future laptops... will probably be iPad Pro's.

Also, Apple is famous for not looking back, but instead looking forward. I'm sure they have great insight in the ARM vs x86 roadmaps, and their in house expertise too, for years to come.

Powerbook G4 is ancient and VERY VERY SLOW next to the current laptops. At its best, newer laptops are 10X faster, and in some tasks probably even up to 20X or 30X.

Making all software incompatible again and needing re-writes would be a good way to kill off much of your business and any competition you have with Windows PCs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I have my doubts about that when Apple seems to be unable to get GPU switching right.

Isn't that the truth.. without gfxCardStatus I'd hate my Macbook Pro.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chabig View Post

I guess you could switch to Windows. Oh wait, they're moving to ARM too.

They are not moving... and Win8 x86 software will not run on Win8 ARM OS... its not the same thing.
post #77 of 157
Quote:
Originally Posted by mitchelljd View Post

Though anything is possible with Apple, try do anything they can to squeeze higher profit margins.

Id expect all for profit companies to try to increase profits whenever feasible.

Quote:
From not including an extra chip to allow USB 3 on the sandybridge model Lines.

So Apple is cheap for including an extra chip for USB 3.0, yet they include an extra chip for other HW and this gets ignored why or are we assume that Apple is still evil on the flip side of this argument? Damn those for profit companies and David Mitchell in drag I mean Ayn Rand!

Quote:
To ignoring blu-ray intentionally to not have to pay for the patent or hardware costs (and because of iTunes movie store)

Consumer notebooks outsell consumer desktops by 3 to 1(?) now and optical drives are power hungry, slow, noisy, have many moving parts and take up a great deal of space, and thats before you consider the timeframe for which 9.5mm slot-loading Blu-ray drives have been available, much less their cost.

Quote:
Time and time again apple is showing it is more inclined to squeeze costs lower and charge as much as they can.

Time and time again I ask how this is different from any other for profit company.

Quote:
So if apple can figure a way out to make their own CPU chips... It's plausible and they would keep more money from their hardware sales.

Why is Apple ARM chips a bad idea for the consumer? Seems to me the iPad 2 is better for Apple being able to optimize their iOS devices.

Quote:
It would stink. But apple has a "think different" corporate agenda these days and it always isn't bent on what is best for consumers, instead it is based on higher profit margins and extra income streams.

Youll have to explain that because despite Apple outpacing the rest of the industry in smartphones, tablets and PCs, and even growing in desktop units sales compared to the industry, much less in AIOs, they are still updating their HW when, according to you, they could squeeze a higher profit margin by selling more of the same ol kit. Yet they oddly updated their iMacs as if they are trying to stay competitive despite having no real AIO competition to speak of.
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post #78 of 157
Somebody is smoking some pretty strong stuff here. I see Apple increasing it's use of Intel manufactured processors. Moving to ARM, for the Macintosh, makes no sense for a number of reasons. Apple seems to be very invested in their own ARM design for iPhone, iPod, iPad, AppleTV, and whatever iOS devices they bring to market in the future. This report is bogus...
post #79 of 157
post #80 of 157
Let me be the twelfth person to call bogus. While ARM designs are getting more and more powerful, they won't even match a midrange Core 2 Duo in performance for years to come, and by then Intel would have some other crazy crap out.

For a rough estimate
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Instruc...ons_per_second
MIPS aren't perfect indicators of performance, but in relative terms here a A8 is many magnitudes slower than modern x86 processors.

Even the trusty old Athlon FX from 2003 has over twice the raw MIPS of a dual core A9, to put it in perspective.
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