Originally Posted by blackbook
It's a matter of time before we see ARM based systems that can run Pro Softwares and create media and professional content.
They are already powerful enough (a laptop/desktop system would scale up the power) but the software compatibility will be trickier.
Apple has a bit of a predicament here because the future of computer chips is an SoC. They already know how to build their own but if they help Intel, they're just going to sell it everyone.
It's ok for Apple to help Intel on the desktop because Apple's prices mean they won't get a huge marketshare anyway and it means they retain compatibility with all the existing software.
However, Intel is moving into mobile anyway so any improvements they make on the desktop side will filter into the mobile products where they will compete with Apple.
On the mobile side, the price of the chips, the production volume, production schedule, quality control, chip features, power consumption, IO controllers, GPU performance and so on are very important - so important that it would be difficult to hand over to Intel. If it means Apple has to sell iPhones and iPads at $50 higher price, that could seriously affect their products.
On the Mac side, switching to ARM would create a problem for software developers and if Apple couldn't make a chip that was significantly faster or cheaper then there would be little point. If they can make chips that are $200 cheaper that are 1.5-2x as fast, there's a point, especially on the high-end. They might be able to put 12-core CPUs in machines that cost $2,000.
Obviously ARM on both means binary compatible software but touch on the desktop has a lot of things to overcome. It has to multi-task in the sense of having apps side by side. Something as simple as a calculator has to show at the same time as a spreadsheet. This means you have to allow the UI to split - they can do this in columns using swipe from left or right to add a new blank column and then tap the space to select an app to load into it and move the divider to close. But there's only one software keyboard to manage multiple contexts and touch apps generally aren't built to scale and desktop apps are designed around a multi-window system.
Tim Cook has said they won't converge the two sides, which is a sensible choice for the foreseeable future. Given that fact, there doesn't seem to be any reason to switch the mobile side to Intel unless they can do a better job than Apple and not increase the price of Apple's devices. I doubt that's the case. Switching Macs to ARM would cause problems with Bootcamp and given that Apple developed the solution, they obviously saw a need for it. Emulation would be ok for most things but VMWare can refuse to load graphical apps at any time so it's not reliable enough.
I think the safest bet for Apple is to stick with ARM for mobile and Intel for the desktop but it would be nice to see them plug an ARM chip into the desktops/laptops somewhere if it wasn't too expensive to use as a co-processor and for low power modes. It could even have clocking ability to check how iOS apps run on slower CPUs.