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Rumor: Apple once again said to be strongly considering ARM-based Macs

post #1 of 127
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Apple's most popular computing devices, from the iPhone and iPad to MacBook Pro and iMac, could all be powered by the same ARM-based processors, if the company were to decide to make such a switch, according to a new report.

A7
Apple's latest A7 SoC. | Source: Chipworks


Citing a "reliable" source, French Apple enthusiast site MacBidouille reported this weekend that Apple is exploring new ARM-powered Macs that would feature a "large format" Magic Trackpad built into the keyboard. Apple is said to be far along in development of these machines, but is "reluctant" to make the switch too early and hurt its Mac lineup.

The systems are said to be running a "completely equivalent" OS X operating system in ARM, with several prototype machines already said to have been developed. Interestingly, these machines are said to rely on multiple ARM CPUs, each with multiple cores.

Specifically, it was said that Apple has developed an iMac desktop with four or eight 64-bit quad-core CPUs, while a Mac mini is said to have been made with four such cores. In addition, it was claimed that Apple has developed a 13-inch MacBook sporting up to eight 64-bit quad-core ARM chips.

a7-performance-20131009.jpg
Apple's SVP of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller introduces the A7 system-on-chip.


Of course, Apple already made a switch along these lines once, in a massive transition from IBM's PowerPC chips to Intel's line of processors. That switch proved beneficial to Apple, allowing its machines to run Windows and also tapping into Intel's speedier chips, and as a result Mac sales went to new highs.

As for ARM-based Macs, rumors of such machines floating around in Apple's secretive labs have existed for some time. One three-year old report claimed that Apple had built a MacBook Air powered by the same A5 chip as the iPad 2.

In the subsequent years since that rumor, Apple's custom mobile processors found in the iPhone and iPad have only become more powerful. The company's latest silicon, the A7 that powers the iPad Air, iPhone 5s and Retina iPad mini, is a 64-bit chip that's been called a "desktop-class" processor.
post #2 of 127
This rumour again? Good grief. No, Apple will not move any Macs to ARM technology. Why? Windows compatibility. One of the strongest arguments against Macs in the PowerPC age was that they could run Windows applications. A move to Intel killed that argument. No Macs are mixed into Windows environments will incredible ease. Switching away from Intel on some models would confuse the market. It would be an incredibly stupid thing to do. There is zero real benefit to moving to ARM with the Mac.

Take a look at the Windows platform. How well is Windows RT doing?
post #3 of 127

Why wouldn't they make the move to ARM? Clearly they have plans to do so otherwise they wouldn't have machines already running in the labs. It's just a matter of time, I'd stake money on it happening.

post #4 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by guytoronto View Post

This rumour again? Good grief. No, Apple will not move any Macs to ARM technology. Why? Windows compatibility. One of the strongest arguments against Macs in the PowerPC age was that they could run Windows applications. A move to Intel killed that argument. No Macs are mixed into Windows environments will incredible ease. Switching away from Intel on some models would confuse the market. It would be an incredibly stupid thing to do. There is zero real benefit to moving to ARM with the Mac.

Take a look at the Windows platform. How well is Windows RT doing?

As someone who has had 4 operating systems running on a single Mac, I sympathise with your position. I also had Windoze running very successfully on my 12" PowerPC PowerBook (remember those) however and in fact, in what I was using it for which required a USB <----> RS232C dongle, it was 100% reliable. However, perhaps it is time to move on (although I am not necessarily arguing for the move as I do not understand fully the implications). Some benefits might be, a code base that converges with iOS and the efficiency gains contingent with that and also, greater self-determination. I believe that Apple was badly let down toward the end of the PowerPC era with processor development on their behalf failing badly. Perhaps Intel's processor developments too are headed in a direction that will not favour Apple before too long. Another advantage would be greater scope in specific system variants, beyond iOS and Mac OS X both. The time is coming I think.


Edited by IQatEdo - 5/26/14 at 6:05am
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post #5 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by guytoronto View Post

This rumour again? Good grief. No, Apple will not move any Macs to ARM technology. Why? Windows compatibility. One of the strongest arguments against Macs in the PowerPC age was that they could run Windows applications. A move to Intel killed that argument. No Macs are mixed into Windows environments will incredible ease. Switching away from Intel on some models would confuse the market. It would be an incredibly stupid thing to do. There is zero real benefit to moving to ARM with the Mac.

Take a look at the Windows platform. How well is Windows RT doing?
I'm sure Apple tests lots of things in their labs. They would be stupid not to. And I wouldn't be surprised if we get a fanless ARM based Mac notebook, one that has retina display and 24 hour battery life. That would be awesome.
post #6 of 127

Why not. Nobody thought Apple could move to Intel because of the technical issues (big endian, little endian topic). And they did - seamlessly. 

 

To me, over 35 years, Apple is a company that performs miracles. 

 

And why not move on, as someone said? This is the world of tablets now. 

 

In our household, we all had MacBooks over the years.

 

Now we have one MacBook, iPhones, Kindle Fires (great device, BTW), and now I use an Acer Chromebook (awesome laptop). We only need a MacBook for iTunes. Even my daughter only uses iPhone 99% of the time.

 

No longer really need Windows or OS X too much. 

 

The world is really diversified and the ball is in Apple's court to make Windows incompatible Macs - if that is the case.

 

And why can't Apple make a Bootcamp equivalent system on a different processor?

 

Really, Apple does perform miracles. 

 

I'm not an Apple fanboy (anymore), since I use Android/Chrome OS most of the day, but agnostic. Also have an Android based e-Ink reader (Nook Simple Touch).

 

I bet an Apple based ARM OS world would blow people's socks off. And they would be cheaper???

 

P

post #7 of 127
@pfisher. Boot camp just enables Windows to boot on a Mac. The processor is x86 so natively runs windows and windows software. Getting such OS and software to run on ARM is a massive undertaking. I know that Windows on Mac was a big requirement especially for corporates where the C exec want a MacBook for looks but still had to run Windows. Times have changed though and especially with the increased use of Citrix and other such technology the base OS is less important.

I guess Apple knows the stats for who is running Windows (either as Bootcamp or via other software such as Parallels) and could make a judgement call.

Reality is that Apple have proved that developing their own ARM based processors gives them a massive technology advantage in phone/tablet space so moving to this on their notebook platforms must be a serious consideration.
post #8 of 127
Perhaps an updated Mac Mini with ARM CPUs in store. All sounds very exciting but I'm not sure I'm ready to give up on being able to run BootCamp just yet.
post #9 of 127
Yup, unfortunately, remove the ability to run windows natively and I would have to leave the Mac behind. I may not need to use windows often, but when I do, it is essential. Moving to the intel chipset was the only reason I was able to go back to using macs.
post #10 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

...
Of course, Apple already made a switch along these lines once, in a massive transition from IBM's PowerPC chips to Intel's line of processors. That switch proved beneficial to Apple, allowing its machines to run Windows and also tapping into Intel's speedier chips, and as a result Mac sales went to new highs.
...

No, three times. From Apple II 6502 family of processors to the 68000 of the Macintosh to the PPC to Intel and now to ARM.
post #11 of 127
An ARM based Mac would have a Mac OS that natively runs both Mac apps and iOS apps in the same environment. Which means a MacBook Air that is both the iPad and the Mac. In other words, the true answer to Steve Jobs question.

What would happen if a MacBook and an iPad hooked up?

Apple Special Event - 2nd Generation MacBook Air Introduction
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FynpBelGCNc

A MacBook Air/iPad hybrid would basically be a 12 inch iPad Pro that would have a MacBook Air keyboard dock with a glass track pad.

A 256GB Retina iPad Pro LTE with a Wacom digitizer, and a Macbook Air keyboard dock with a glass track pad, would be the dream machine.

Logically, Apple would extend its multi-touch UI to desktop Mac apps through the acquisition of Parallels to run both Mac and Windows desktop apps with Parallels Access built in.

Introducing Parallels Access
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qqd_TT67r3c

All Things Digital: Controlling a PC or Mac, iPad-Style
http://allthingsd.com/20130827/controlling-a-pc-or-mac-ipad-style/
Edited by InteliusQ - 5/26/14 at 7:16am
post #12 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by guytoronto View Post

This rumour again? Good grief. No, Apple will not move any Macs to ARM technology. Why? Windows compatibility. One of the strongest arguments against Macs in the PowerPC age was that they could run Windows applications. A move to Intel killed that argument. No Macs are mixed into Windows environments will incredible ease. Switching away from Intel on some models would confuse the market. It would be an incredibly stupid thing to do. There is zero real benefit to moving to ARM with the Mac.

Take a look at the Windows platform. How well is Windows RT doing?

You're missing some major aspects of the discussion. Ask yourself:

  • How many Mac users use Bootcamp or a VM so they can run Windows?
  • How many sub-$1000 MacBook Airs are being used as Windows computers?
  • How would an entry-level, low-cost, ARM-based Mac hurt Mac adoption more over having Macs that only run expensive Intel Core chips if all processing power isn't needed by entry level users and the biggest hurdle is cost, not the ability to use Windows in 2014?

Personally, I know very few and of the half dozen or so that do run Windows on a Mac for testing purposes they are all what I'd describe as power users who would not be in the market to replace their MacBook Pro with a $700-800 12" MacBook Air that runs on ARM as they are completely different customer types.

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post #13 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by wwchris View Post

Yup, unfortunately, remove the ability to run windows natively and I would have to leave the Mac behind. I may not need to use windows often, but when I do, it is essential. Moving to the intel chipset was the only reason I was able to go back to using macs.

So if they put an ARM chip in a low-cost, machine running Mac OS X and you'll the Mac behind even though it doesn't change the processor on any of the other Macs? How does that make sense to you?

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post #14 of 127

The main problem is incompatibility with the rest of the world (read Windows and Linux on Intel x86). Hopefully Apple will keep the Mac x86, or they will repeat previous catastrophic mistakes. In such a case, the only way would be migrating to Windows.

 

Actually, what Apple should do is just the opposite: eventually migrating iOS to the x86.

post #15 of 127
No Way!!!
Keep well away from anything Microsoft!!!!
If anyone is relying on Windows still, that is there lookout.
post #16 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by pfisher View Post
 

Why not. Nobody thought Apple could move to Intel because of the technical issues (big endian, little endian topic). And they did - seamlessly. 

 

 

endianness didn't cause anyone to thing PPC to Intel wasn't possible.

 

rather, it was a deep dislike of Intel in reference to the mhz myth - RISC vs. CISC showed the large efficiency gains in the processor architecture that was 15 years newer, but Intel and Microsoft were able to squash the actual performances differences by marketing 1, 2 and 3 ghz processor speeds, ignoring the lack of performance gains and supporting the marketing fluff.

 

 

 

Furthermore, the real reason Apple had to switch is that Moto was dying and IBM was viewing Apple as an after thought - the G5's lack of development showed IBM's cards in terms of not developing the processors more for Apple.  IBM went for embedded processors with PPC and very special cases like the Playstation. Apple was being ignored as a customer (in terms of being able to keep up with the marketing of Intel) ...remember the last G5s?? they were simply over clocked  and super fanned noise boxes. 

post #17 of 127
The writer of this article ain't never heard of the Mororola 68000 based Mac. So therefore, the original 128K Mac must have used PowerPC chips!

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post #18 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

The writer of this article ain't never heard of the Mororola 68000 based Mac. So therefore, the original 128K Mac must have used PowerPC chips!

 

Long live Mode32 and dirty ROMs!

post #19 of 127

I think this rumor will make more sense when we see what's coming in OS X 10.10. 

 

I think it's distinctly possible that Apple will release something that runs "OS X" with a physical keyboard and trackpad, that runs on ARM.  If there are a tonne of people who love and use iPads, and iPads are on ARM, why wouldn't it be possible for a subset of "Macs" to run on ARM? No one cares about running Windows on their iPad.  This makes me wonder whether they could perhaps brand an ARM "Mac" as something different.  Something that makes it distinct, like "MacPad" but not that specifically. Maybe "Mac Light", or maybe even the WHOLE "air" category could switch to ARM, and the "air" would make the distinction.

 

Regardless, if they did this, they'd end up with 2 types of Mac.  The new Mac Pro didn't just get designed for nothing.  It would definitely stay on x86, and so would highend MacBook Pros.

 

Given that XCode made it (relatively) straight forward to compile fat binaries for PPC/Intel, they could resurrect that and make it relatively easy to compile fat binaries for Intel/ARM.  It's part of the Mach binary format for a reason!

post #20 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


You're missing some major aspects of the discussion. Ask yourself:
 
  • How many Mac users use Bootcamp or a VM so they can run Windows?
  • How many sub-$1000 MacBook Airs are being used as Windows computers?
  • How would an entry-level, low-cost, ARM-based Mac hurt Mac adoption more over having Macs that only run expensive Intel Core chips if all processing power isn't needed by entry level users and the biggest hurdle is cost, not the ability to use Windows in 2014?

Personally, I know very few and of the half dozen or so that do run Windows on a Mac for testing purposes they are all what I'd describe as power users who would not be in the market to replace their MacBook Pro with a $700-800 12" MacBook Air that runs on ARM as they are completely different customer types.

Nail on the head. Apple was always criticized for not being upgradable and yet I remember reading many years ago that only a tiny percentage of people (Windows users included) ever did upgrade anything at all on their computers. Windows compatibility is important but the ability to run Windows on your Mac is less important. Specially, as you say, on a MBA or similar. The number of people who buy MBAs to run Windows exclusively must be tiny.

post #21 of 127

Why is the assumption always that ARM would have to replace Intel? Is there any reason that certain apps and parts of the OS couldn't be compiled for both architectures, and the motherboard contains both? Just like the GPU can be switched to low power integrated when the task allows, and switched to the higher power discreet as needed, the ARM chip could do most of the basic stuff, at very low power, and then hand off to the intel chip when needed? I can even imagine something similar to the new FTL compiler for Safari, so code is compiled first for ARM, and when parts need more power they are JIT compiled for Intel, with the Intel CPU handling the compile so it happens fast.

Aren't they already doing a bit of this with GrandCentralDispatch and OpenCL? Where the actual bare metal code is compiled on the machine for the specific CPU/GPU environment available? And, added benefit, when running on wall power, the machine is now an 8 core machine, and certain "background" tasks could go to ARM while Intel does the heavy lifting. And all PowerNap functionality would be ARM, to minimize drain while not actively working.

I am layman to be sure, so if there is some fundamental law of the universe that makes this not possible, be gentle. ;)

 

Gordon

post #22 of 127

No. Just no.

post #23 of 127

Would such a machine be compatible with existing OS X software? Would a Rosetta like emulator be required for the transition? Would developers jump on board? 

post #24 of 127

Apple was on PowerPc and then switched to Intel because PowerPc was moving ahead too slowly.
And then they went "mainstream" with Intel, with a supported CPU which received updates regularly, along with everybody else.

In "mobile" they can do what they want since they have such a high market share and sell in volumes. But Apple didn't start its mobile adventure with a custom made CPU/GPU. They first went "mainstream" there as well.

So, if Apple uses ARM for their Mac line. What happens? They will:
a) have to move the entire Mac line to ARM (from the Air to the Pro) or
b) have OSX run on two different architectures simultaneously. Which is a complete mess.

If Apple moves to their own CPU (sort of like the A series) then they will have to constantly upgrade and develop an entire CPU/GPU system just for their Mac line, which doesn't sell enough to support such an investment.
So all in all.
No. Just no.

It doesn't make any sense now to switch from Intel to ARM (in my opinion) because ARM is pushing slowly into "computer" territory and doesn't offer a wide enough array of CPUs (to my knowledge) to cover the Mac line from "Mini" to "Pro".

post #25 of 127
Interesting, when I worked at Apple in QA, I tried to get a engineer friend a job, and he told me that his interviewers were asking questions that indicated to him an ARM based laptop was in the works. This was about three or four years ago.
post #26 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by appleempl View Post

Interesting, when I worked at Apple in QA, I tried to get a engineer friend a job, and he told me that his interviewers were asking questions that indicated to him an ARM based laptop was in the works. This was about three or four years ago.

I am sure Apple had prototype ARM-based laptops much early than that. Remember, the Newton was ARM-based.

 

In terms of R&D, i would think it imperative that Apple has a laundry list of devices running multiple configs simply to stay abreast of what is in the realm of market possibilities for the next 1, 3, 5 and 10+ years. 

post #27 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by GordonPrice67 View Post

Why is the assumption always that ARM would have to replace Intel? Is there any reason that certain apps and parts of the OS couldn't be compiled for both architectures, and the motherboard contains both? Just like the GPU can be switched to low power integrated when the task allows, and switched to the higher power discreet as needed, the ARM chip could do most of the basic stuff, at very low power, and then hand off to the intel chip when needed? I can even imagine something similar to the new FTL compiler for Safari, so code is compiled first for ARM, and when parts need more power they are JIT compiled for Intel, with the Intel CPU handling the compile so it happens fast.
Aren't they already doing a bit of this with GrandCentralDispatch and OpenCL? Where the actual bare metal code is compiled on the machine for the specific CPU/GPU environment available? And, added benefit, when running on wall power, the machine is now an 8 core machine, and certain "background" tasks could go to ARM while Intel does the heavy lifting. And all PowerNap functionality would be ARM, to minimize drain while not actively working.
I am layman to be sure, so if there is some fundamental law of the universe that makes this not possible, be gentle. 1wink.gif

Gordon

You nailed it! That is exactly what I was thinking about since the last rumor about the port. It would also help developers slowly get accustomed to the ARM CPUs. Simultaneously, Apple would have the time to slowly develop and accustom their arm designs for desktop class.
post #28 of 127

I'm pretty sure that if Apple did this, they'd put enough firepower under the hood to make it emulate X86 and run windows.

However, why do people degrade their Macs by running windows? I used to but it was infuriating. Windows is truly horrible to use.

If running Windows is so important, you should sell your Mac and buy a PC. If however, you need to use Windows every now and then because a software designer wasn't clever enough to make a Mac version, go and buy a cheap laptop like I did.

 

That way, Windows doesn't spoil and slow down your Mac and you can hide the horrible windows machine all the time you aren't using it.

post #29 of 127

I love how AI always phrases these stories in such tautological ways.

 

"Apple's most popular computing devices, ..., could all be powered by the same ARM-based processors, if the company were to decide to make such a switch, according to a new report."

 

This formula can be used for anything.

 

"President Obama could invade North Korea, if he decided to do such a thing."

 

"Microsoft could abandon Office and Windows and focus exclusively on the Xbox platform, if they decided to."

post #30 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by gregnacu View Post

I think this rumor will make more sense when we see what's coming in OS X 10.10. 

I think it's distinctly possible that Apple will release something that runs "OS X" with a physical keyboard and trackpad, that runs on ARM.  If there are a tonne of people who love and use iPads, and iPads are on ARM, why wouldn't it be possible for a subset of "Macs" to run on ARM? No one cares about running Windows on their iPad.  This makes me wonder whether they could perhaps brand an ARM "Mac" as something different.  Something that makes it distinct, like "MacPad" but not that specifically. Maybe "Mac Light", or maybe even the WHOLE "air" category could switch to ARM, and the "air" would make the distinction.

Regardless, if they did this, they'd end up with 2 types of Mac.  The new Mac Pro didn't just get designed for nothing.  It would definitely stay on x86, and so would highend MacBook Pros.

Given that XCode made it (relatively) straight forward to compile fat binaries for PPC/Intel, they could resurrect that and make it relatively easy to compile fat binaries for Intel/ARM.  It's part of the Mach binary format for a reason!
Almost 70% of WWDC sessions are listed as TBA this year. I don't think we'd see that many TBA sessions just for a new design UI in OSX. There has to be bigger things in the works. Mark Gurman at 9to5Mac indicated its likely we'll see new hardware at WWDC. I wouldn't be surprised if we see Apple announce a new ARM based Mac. And perhaps some of these TBA sessions will be related to developing for that.
post #31 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by malax View Post
 

I love how AI always phrases these stories in such tautological ways.

 

"Apple's most popular computing devices, ..., could all be powered by the same ARM-based processors, if the company were to decide to make such a switch, according to a new report."

 

This formula can be used for anything.

 

"President Obama could invade North Korea, if he decided to do such a thing."

 

"Microsoft could abandon Office and Windows and focus exclusively on the Xbox platform, if they decided to."

 

AI is a rumor site, thats all. When all you have are rumors you have to come up with something to justify your existence.

post #32 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by malax View Post
 

I love how AI always phrases these stories in such tautological ways.

 

"Apple's most popular computing devices, ..., could all be powered by the same ARM-based processors, if the company were to decide to make such a switch, according to a new report."

 

This formula can be used for anything.

 

"President Obama could invade North Korea, if he decided to do such a thing."

 

"Microsoft could abandon Office and Windows and focus exclusively on the Xbox platform, if they decided to."

The writers at AI do their best.  Most of them didn't get job offers from the NY Times ;=)

post #33 of 127

Yes, Apple tests LOTS of things in the lab -- sometimes for many, many years. Do you remember (or are you aware of) the old StarTrek project? Apple had rudimentary versions of Mac System Software (long before it was called Mac OS) running on Intel processors in the lab almost 15 years before Apple made the switch to Intel processors on the Mac.

 

It would not surprise me if an ARM-like variant were used for the entire Mac line in 10 years or so. Is it going to happen in the next couple of years? Absolutely not!

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post #34 of 127
The 64-bit ARM chips are not significantly slower than a variety of x86 chips, but they use an order of magnitude less power.
By going massively parallel, Apple can make devices that are more powerful and use less energy at the same time.
Part of switching to x86 was improved performance per Watt.
The reason for going ARM on iOS devices was the lack of comparable x86 choices, and after many years, Intel is still lagging behind, while ARM's 64-bit cores have been rapidly catching up.
Parallels can license/develop Rosetta-type technology and Windows compatibility won't be an issue, and who knows, maybe Apple and M$ have a deal for a full desktop-class ARM based windows, which would also help M$' tablet/laptop hybrids.
The technology is there, so it's just a matter of marketing.
It would also be easy to use ARM in the consumer space and for server products, and use x86 or an x86/ARM combo for pro laptops and desktops. Apple already has multiple CPUs in the system so this is totally doable and allows Apple to go places where that competition can't easily follow.
post #35 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by iMat View Post
 

So, if Apple uses ARM for their Mac line. What happens? They will:
a) have to move the entire Mac line to ARM (from the Air to the Pro) or
b) have OSX run on two different architectures simultaneously. Which is a complete mess.
 

And why would Apple have to move its entire Mac line to ARM?  Is it possible that some more economical Macs would be ARM-only, thereby maintaining excellent profit margins and battery life?  And possibly higher end Macs might have ARMs and Intel chips, thereby running IOS, OSX and Windows software?  

 

A "complete mess"?  Is that possibly just a bit of hyperbole?  The original Mac OS ran simultaneously on Motorola and PPC for a while.  OSX ran on PPC and Intel.  And since half of OSX is shared with IOS, we can say that today, much of the current OS is already shared by two architectures.  I can see that if we asked Microsoft to do this it my devolve into your "complete mess", but I think the engineers at Apple are pretty organized.

post #36 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppeX View Post

The main problem is incompatibility with the rest of the world (read Windows and Linux on Intel x86). Hopefully Apple will keep the Mac x86, or they will repeat previous catastrophic mistakes. In such a case, the only way would be migrating to Windows.

Actually, what Apple should do is just the opposite: eventually migrating iOS to the x86.

Every single Windows equivalent app that runs in OS X is recompiled first for that platform. Why would it matter if they change the processor? It's just another recompile. Of course there are differences but that's why they call it work.

Apple should migrate iOS to X86? Holy crap. Yeah, I want a fan strapped to my phone. Cracks me up what people think Apple "should" do.
Edited by kkerst - 5/26/14 at 9:15am
post #37 of 127

Very likely you were running Windows under an Intel Processor emulator -- unless, of course, you got your hands on one of those very rare versions of Windows that were actually issued for the PowerPC (even then it must have been a bit of a kluge to get it to run on a MAC with different BIOS and such.)

 

Running OSes non natively is MUCH slower than running them natively on the intended processor -- sometimes you can get hit with a 2x to 4x speed hit. ARM is NOT 2x to 4x times faster than the processors used in Macs today. Apple's A7 isn't even as fast as a mid range Intel i5 chip for many tasks. The A7 absolutely isn't as fast as the i7 chips in the MacBook Air. Don't even think about an ARM variant keeping up with the top of the line i7 in the rMBP.

 

So, could you run multiple OSes on an Apple ARM chip in the near future? Yes. Does it make sense? No!

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post #38 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by shadowself View Post

Very likely you were running Windows under an Intel Processor emulator -- unless, of course, you got your hands on one of those very rare versions of Windows that were actually issued for the PowerPC (even then it must have been a bit of a kluge to get it to run on a MAC with different BIOS and such.)

Running OSes non natively is MUCH slower than running them natively on the intended processor -- sometimes you can get hit with a 2x to 4x speed hit. ARM is NOT 2x to 4x times faster than the processors used in Macs today. Apple's A7 isn't even as fast as a mid range Intel i5 chip for many tasks. The A7 absolutely isn't as fast as the i7 chips in the MacBook Air. Don't even think about an ARM variant keeping up with the top of the line i7 in the rMBP.

So, could you run multiple OSes on an Apple ARM chip in the near future? Yes. Does it make sense? No!

Apple is iterating through new ARM CPU upgrades faster than intel: intel's tic-tok model is a two year cycle and they are falling behind that, which is why new Mac announcements are stalled and overdue: the relevant Intel CPU upgrades aren't available.
An A8 may already have closed the performance gap, and given the low power consumption of ARM chips, you can double or triple the CPU core count compared to x86 CPUs meaning anything that can run in parallel will be significantly FASTER than on equivalent x86 platforms with similar power consumption.

Also, while CPU emulation is a factor of two-four slower than native execution, the same does NOT apply to Rosetta-style on-the-fly recompilation, which has only a moderate overhead of maybe 25% or less, IIRC, and which in some cases even ran code faster than on the native CPU.
post #39 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


So if they put an ARM chip in a low-cost, machine running Mac OS X and you'll the Mac behind even though it doesn't change the processor on any of the other Macs? How does that make sense to you?

Am I missing something in the question? You mean if they continue to sell high-end intel-based machines and only the low end machines are ARM-based? You mean like Microsoft did with Windows 8? I don't believe Apple would pursue that course.

 

Or, did you mean my old mac will continue to work and won't suddenly stop working? Well, that is a given. I'm obviously talking about whether my next laptop would be ARM based. It would not (not unless during this process Microsoft also agreed to go ARM-based with Windows).

 

There are simply too  any pieces of necessary software for various tasks (especially gaming or belonging to a corporate network/exchange domain) that are only available or function well on Windows.

post #40 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by sandor View Post
 

I am sure Apple had prototype ARM-based laptops much early than that. Remember, the Newton was ARM-based.

 

In terms of R&D, i would think it imperative that Apple has a laundry list of devices running multiple configs simply to stay abreast of what is in the realm of market possibilities for the next 1, 3, 5 and 10+ years. 

It's true, and some of them never make it to market either, like blu-ray iMacs back in 2009. I wrote a lot of bug reports on those and kinda wished they released them, but I can't really remember the last time I watched a movie on a computer or any small screen. 

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