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Rumor: Apple once again said to be strongly considering ARM-based Macs - Page 2

post #41 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by iMat View Post

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".
"To the man whose only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail." Apple had many design criteria in addition to processor speed. It switched from PPC to Intel because Intel had recently experienced a manufacturing breakthrough that dramatically reduced the heat produced by its processors. By contrast, PPC processors required mated cooling modules. Remember that the Mac community were anxiously awaiting the PowerBook G5. However, a G5-based laptop was impossible to engineer.

IBM saw itself as a Big Iron producer. It refused to devote engineering resources to designing PPC processors with reduced heat production. This was ironic because the G3 had been substantially cooler than the extant Intel processors. As a result, MacBook Airs, thin iMacs, and other computers that Apple wanted to produce would have been impossible using the processors that IBM wanted to produce. Part of the problem appears to have been that IBM thought that it had the upper hand in its relationship with Apple. IBM almost instantly changed its tune after Apple announced the switch to Intel. However, Steve had spoken. It was too late.

The Intel fanboys of the era were convinced that Apple had come to its senses at last. In their minds, Apple had switched to the bestest processor that ever was or that ever could be. They did not understand Apple at all and still do not understand Apple. Apple said that it had always maintained a current build of OS X for Intel processors. With the switch to Intel, the Intel fanboys seemed to think that Apple would follow a Microsoft strategy of tossing multi-platform support and optimize for Intel to the exclusion of all other processors.

Yet, Apple introduced OS X 10.5 not on the Mac but on the original iPhone. The notion that Apple would become beholden to Intel exclusively made absolutely no sense. It flew in the face of the facts before our eyes. Remember that OpenStep ran on Motorola 68k, Motorola 88k, Intel, HP PA, SPARC, and other architectures. If the French rumor is true, then OS X runs on a least three processors. I would bet that it runs on more.

The notion selling computers based on multiple processor architectures would confuse the market is just silly. To the user, Apple's switches from 68k to PPC and from PPC to Intel were transparent. Old software worked just fine on new computers. The change may confuse a few nerds, but many nerds are confused already.

As for Windows compatibility, it seems that some members of this forum have not been paying attention. Windows-based computers are a dying breed. Apple believes in skating to where the puck will be rather than to where the puck is. Making decisions based on Windows-compatibility is skating to where the puck was.
post #42 of 127
Contrary to popular opinion the world hasn't converted to tablets. My iPad Air is the most underutelized tech product bought in ages. Prefer reading NY Times on Macbook Air. iPad shines at presentation, that's about it for this user. I think the pendulum will swing back to laptops and predict the tablet thing will wane like netbooks. I don't think it's impossible to run a laptop on ARM but I believe Intel will consistantly outperform it. For that reason I believe this is an old rumor AI has given new life to.
post #43 of 127
Every year with this rumor. Yeesh. Not gonna happen folks. Current ARM processors can barley multitask for Pete's sake, and it's not like Apple and Intel have this contentious relationship or something, despite all the old fanboys who wish it were so as they long for the PowerPC days.
post #44 of 127
post #45 of 127
@inteliusq, I think you're onto something.

The first consideration, I would think, in using Apple's ultra-efficient ARM processors would be power savings: significantly longer battery life, without sacrificing the ability to run desktop-class applications. (Like someone mentioned above, perhaps even an unheard-of 24-hour battery life for a desktop-class notebook.) Right behind that consideration would be the ability to run both iOS and OSX apps--or, taking the idea one step further, an actual convergence of iOS and OSX. (I don't pretend to be an expert on the coding particulars of Apple's mobile and desktop operating systems, but I do remember hearing early in the life of the iPhone and iOS that they share the same OSX kernel.) And I believe that pressures from the Microsoft's ostensible convergence of mobile and desktop operating systems with Windows 8 could tend to drive that decision on Apple's part.

As to Windows compatibility, I believe that may be a matter left to true desktop/notebook systems, since, at least for now, higher-end processors appear to be needed to run it natively. (Microsoft's Surface Pro 3, while practically as portable as the iPad, utilizes the Intel Core i3, for example.) Already, however, even without a software emulator or low-level boot assistant like BootCamp, my iPad Retina can easily and, for the most part, efficiently, access both my work PC and my MacBook at home, by way of secure Internet streaming (VPN). (At one time I bought a copy of Windows 7 to install and use on my MacBook, but ended up not using it because I could access all but the most advanced functions of my PC right from my MacBook using VPN.)

Even so, it would not be inconceivable for Apple to work with iOS and/or OSX developers to come up with serviceable software Windows emulators that could help bridge the gap, if they decided to convert a cheaper Mac line to ARM processors--Parallels and VMWare clients for iOS already exist. On the other hand, I can't imagine Apple going with ARM for their higher-end iMacs, MacBook Pros or Mac Pros, or discontinuing native Windows operation via BootCamp on those systems. Seems to me the idea would be to have the best of both worlds.
Edited by TCollinsG3 - 5/26/14 at 10:49am
post #46 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by rcfa View Post

The 64-bit ARM chips are not significantly slower than a variety of x86 chips, but they use an order of magnitude less power.

Not significantly slower? You're kidding, right?

 

Yes, the best ARM chips are equivalent to (and in many cases better than) Intel's Atom line. (But that's NOT what runs the current Macs.) Yes, the best ARM chips are roughly equivalent to the bottom of the line i3 chips for most (NOT ALL) functions. The best ARM chips are almost equivalent to some i5 chips, which Apple uses for its slowest/least expensive Macs, for most (NOT ALL) functions. But no current ARM chip (not even the 64-bit variants like Apple's) is in the class of the i7 chips which Apple DOES USE in the MacBook Air, rMBP, and iMac.

 

Quote:
 By going massively parallel, Apple can make devices that are more powerful and use less energy at the same time.

Making an OS so that it takes advantage of a massively parallel architecture is extremely difficult. Hell, the Finder in Mac OS X does not even take advantage of all 12 cores (24 threads) in the top of the line Mac Pro. You think it's going to be feasible in the near future to take advantage of massive parallelism in an OS based upon ARM? To top it off, no ARM architecture is designed for massive parallelism. It was a major leap back in the PowerPC days to the 604 that supported parallelism in hardware. Intel's standard x86 line doesn't support it in hardware either. It takes Intel's Xeon line to do it without a LOT of additional work. 

 

It will take a major shift in the ARM architecture to natively support massive parallelism. Yes, they could (and probably will) do it -- eventually. You just won't see it anytime soon. Hell, Intel demoed an 80 core system several years ago. They still haven't brought anything even close to that to market.

 

Quote:

 
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.

The reason for Apple going to an ARM architecture for the iPhone was power requirements, plain and simple. The ARM architecture was just fast enough. Apple has made great strides in its implementation of the ARM architecture, but it's not equivalent to Intel's mainstream chips and won't be for a few years. The ARM chips are not the same as Intel's main stream chips.

 

Intel is making great strides in its ultra low power chips. Intel's reduction in power requirements and processing capabilities in these chips. BayTrail is a significant step forward. Intel's motion forward in this type of chip is much, much faster than it is moving with the other end of the spectrum -- the Xeon chips or the Itanium chips.

 

Additionally, the I/O architecture of the ARM chips is not the same as Intel's mainstream chips with their support chips. Apple's iOS devices effectively have just four inputs: screen/buttons, lightning (one only), sound in, sound out. The typical Mac has many more -- even a MacBook Air. This will be an additional architecture change above and beyond that of massively parallel processing you mention above.

 

Quote:
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.

Again, you're kidding, right? It's not an issue if you can live with a system that runs at 75% of the original, native speed (and in some cases as slow as 25% of the original speed). Most people can't take that hit. Most can't. I tried it back in the day. It was acceptable for some tasks but not for most. That was why VirtualPC was a viable industry, but most can't.

 

And, Apple's ARM variants are NOT code compatible with the rest of the industry's ARM chips. It is unlikely that Microsoft (or any other mainstream OS developer) will write a variant of their OS to specifically support Apple's version of the ARM chip. 

 

Apple has the luxury of issuing a new version of its OSes (whether Mac OS or iOS) when it issues a new chip such as the A7. Apple has the ability to work on that new OS variant many months in advance so that the new variant of iOS is ready when the chip ships -- and still keep the capabilities quiet. Is Apple going to be able to get other OS vendors to work on their OSes in advance -- AND still keep them under wraps -- so that those OSes are ready when the chip ships? That is extremely unlikely.

 

Quote:
 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.

The technology ISN'T there YET. It will be in a few years (say 5-10), but not today. It isn't just a matter of marketing.

 

Apple does NOT have "multiple CPUs in the system" with regard to any single OS or general system architecture. There's Apple's own ARM based chips for iOS and Intel based chips for Mac OS. That's it. You don't even see x86 compatible chips (e.g., AMD's chips) in Apple's Macs. Why? because it would add more complexity to the OS to support other x86 based chips. Supporting ARM with Mac OS effectively would require two distinct and different versions of Mac OS. Not only building it, but supporting it, would be a huge increase on Apple's costs.

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post #47 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by wwchris View Post

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.

What SW is so important for the casual user that would go for a 12" notebook if Apple offered this solution among it's Mac line it would be a market failure?

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post #48 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by shadowself View Post
 

Not significantly slower? You're kidding, right?

 

Yes, the best ARM chips are equivalent to (and in many cases better than) Intel's Atom line. (But that's NOT what runs the current Macs.) Yes, the best ARM chips are roughly equivalent to the bottom of the line i3 chips for most (NOT ALL) functions. The best ARM chips are almost equivalent to some i5 chips, which Apple uses for its slowest/least expensive Macs, for most (NOT ALL) functions. But no current ARM chip (not even the 64-bit variants like Apple's) is in the class of the i7 chips which Apple DOES USE in the MacBook Air, rMBP, and iMac.

 

You seemed so sure of yourself and knowledgeable that I wasn't inclined to question you.  Nevertheless, I went over to store.apple.com just to check some details, and they say that all the iMacs and MacBook Air and MacBook Pro use the i5.  Am I missing something here?  It looks like one of Mac Minis uses an i7, and the Mac Pro uses something else (presumably even more powerful).  

 

So if I combine what you say with what the Apple store says, the current ARM chips are almost equivalent to what Apple uses in most of their Macs. So if today the ARM is in the ballpark, is it strange to speculate that tomorrow the ARM might be used in the Mac?  Seems plausible to me.


Edited by delreyjones - 5/26/14 at 11:17am
post #49 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by shadowself View Post

The technology ISN'T there YET. It will be in a few years (say 5-10), but not today. It isn't just a matter of marketing.

Apple said it's so (which we don't have to believe) but AnandTech verified that it is so (which I do believe). So why do you think the technology isn't here yet if it's already here with last year's A-series chip with a much slower clock rate than could reasonably be used in a notebook? Why do we need 6 to 11 more iterations past the A7 chip for this to be here?

"At the launch of the iPhone 5s, Apple referred to the A7 as being "desktop class" - it turns out that wasn't an exaggeration. […] there's still a ton of room to improve performance. One obvious example would be through frequency scaling. Cyclone is clocked very conservatively…"

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post #50 of 127
I can hear the third party developers grinding their teeth from way over here...
post #51 of 127
Desktop machines and Windows 8 is struggling and not entirely loved by users. Intel is likewise struggling as they are joined at the hip in a symbiotic relationship. If Apple is going to make a move now is the time.

They already design the chips, why not use them. It will further help justify development costs and hopefully earn higher margins and customers less expensive rigs
post #52 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by dysamoria View Post

I can hear the third party developers grinding their teeth from way over here...

 

I think you're mistaken.  Third party developers don't write a ton of assembly language, so staying current with Apple's architecture is not going to hurt them too badly.  What you're hearing is the teeth grinding of a big company.  A big company that makes very expensive x86 chips that might not be so popular in the future.  ;) 

post #53 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by delreyjones View Post

A big company that makes very expensive x86 chips that might not be so popular in the future.  1wink.gif  

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post #54 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by InteliusQ View Post

An ARM based Mac would have a Mac OS that natively runs both Mac apps and iOS apps in the same environment.

 

The continued existence of some Mac apps would be my concern. If we really are moving to a post-PC market, will developers have an appetite for reworking their apps to run on a different platform? They may decide it's not worth the effort to do a complete rewrite for a shrinking market. Depending on when it happens, there could even be some residual "rewrite fatigue" since it's only been eight years since the last time they had to do it.

 

Speaking of which, the last time developers had to rewrite their apps for Mac is was for x86 processors. Not being a developer I don't know, but I wonder if it was easier for companies like Adobe that already had Windows versions of their software to rework for x86 than it would be to write for a whole new processor? Is that even an issue?

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post #55 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lorin Schultz View Post

The continued existence of some Mac apps would be my concern. If we really are moving to a post-PC market, will developers have an appetite for reworking their apps to run on a different platform? They may decide it's not worth the effort to do a complete rewrite for a shrinking market. Depending on when it happens, there could even be some residual "rewrite fatigue" since it's only been eight years since the last time they had to do it.


Speaking of which, the last time developers had to rewrite their apps for Mac is was for x86 processors. Not being a developer I don't know, but I wonder if it was easier for companies like Adobe that already had Windows versions of their software to rework for x86 than it would be to write for a whole new processor? Is that even an issue?

1) Why assume that an app will cease to exist because there is another option for a low-cost Apple-branded "PC" added to their current Mac line up?

2) If developers had an appetite to move from PPC to x86_64 when the number of Macs sold was much, much lower and Windows had an ever greater per unit market share then why assume that they'll jump ship now, especially with the existence of the Mac App Store and Apple's long history of making architectural transitions easy for developers that have followed their guidelines?

3) We're not talking about the Mac Pro being run on a 24-core A-8 chip, we're talking about a much simpler machine for the casual notebook user.

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post #56 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post
 

 

Thanks, great link!  It's hard to argue with Mr. Gassee in this case.

post #57 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.

 

Good bye watch the door.

post #58 of 127

T he

Quote:
Originally Posted by tjskywasher View Post
 

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.

The ability to run Windows is still an important selling point even if they may not actually intend to run it. Who says Apple has ARM computers in their lab? Apple surely didn't and wouldn't say that.

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post #59 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by Realistic View Post
 

T he

The ability to run Windows is still an important selling point even if they may not actually intend to run it. Who says Apple has ARM computers in their lab? Apple surely didn't and wouldn't say that.

Maybe so but there will come a point where Apple will want to cut the user off from Windows, the transition to ARM would be the perfect opportunity. Apple doesn't have to confirm that they have ARM based Macs in the labs, it's a given.

post #60 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.

 

Apple is reaching end of life with Intel cpu's, there are so many things that can be done when you control the OS and the cpu development in-house the sky is the limit with Apple, and if there is a new device coming this fall, such a device can only reach it's true potential by having the cpu and OS designed in-house, Apple is that company. Such a company will in the future leverage all of it's in-house tech to move beyond Intel and Samsung. It is just a matter of time.

post #61 of 127
I believe that an iOS-based laptop is inevitable, but Apple needs to work out the software aspects more before it launches. Consumers are happy with iPads. Some want fully-capable Macs/PCs. If anyone can come up with something that is good at being both, it's Apple.
post #62 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by appleempl View Post
 

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. 

 

A 32" or 36" iMac is coming in the future also a matter of time.

post #63 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Me View Post


"To the man whose only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail." Apple had many design criteria in addition to processor speed. It switched from PPC to Intel because Intel had recently experienced a manufacturing breakthrough that dramatically reduced the heat produced by its processors. By contrast, PPC processors required mated cooling modules. Remember that the Mac community were anxiously awaiting the PowerBook G5. However, a G5-based laptop was impossible to engineer.

IBM saw itself as a Big Iron producer. It refused to devote engineering resources to designing PPC processors with reduced heat production. This was ironic because the G3 had been substantially cooler than the extant Intel processors. As a result, MacBook Airs, thin iMacs, and other computers that Apple wanted to produce would have been impossible using the processors that IBM wanted to produce. Part of the problem appears to have been that IBM thought that it had the upper hand in its relationship with Apple. IBM almost instantly changed its tune after Apple announced the switch to Intel. However, Steve had spoken. It was too late.

The Intel fanboys of the era were convinced that Apple had come to its senses at last. In their minds, Apple had switched to the bestest processor that ever was or that ever could be. They did not understand Apple at all and still do not understand Apple. Apple said that it had always maintained a current build of OS X for Intel processors. With the switch to Intel, the Intel fanboys seemed to think that Apple would follow a Microsoft strategy of tossing multi-platform support and optimize for Intel to the exclusion of all other processors.

Yet, Apple introduced OS X 10.5 not on the Mac but on the original iPhone. The notion that Apple would become beholden to Intel exclusively made absolutely no sense. It flew in the face of the facts before our eyes. Remember that OpenStep ran on Motorola 68k, Motorola 88k, Intel, HP PA, SPARC, and other architectures. If the French rumor is true, then OS X runs on a least three processors. I would bet that it runs on more.

The notion selling computers based on multiple processor architectures would confuse the market is just silly. To the user, Apple's switches from 68k to PPC and from PPC to Intel were transparent. Old software worked just fine on new computers. The change may confuse a few nerds, but many nerds are confused already.

As for Windows compatibility, it seems that some members of this forum have not been paying attention. Windows-based computers are a dying breed. Apple believes in skating to where the puck will be rather than to where the puck is. Making decisions based on Windows-compatibility is skating to where the puck was.

 

What he said.

post #64 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by MJ Web View Post

Contrary to popular opinion the world hasn't converted to tablets. My iPad Air is the most underutelized tech product bought in ages. Prefer reading NY Times on Macbook Air. iPad shines at presentation, that's about it for this user. I think the pendulum will swing back to laptops and predict the tablet thing will wane like netbooks. I don't think it's impossible to run a laptop on ARM but I believe Intel will consistantly outperform it. For that reason I believe this is an old rumor AI has given new life to.

 

Head in sand, the A8, and most certainly the A9 will be more than fast enough to run in anything Apple wants to put them in, be it server, laptop, tablet or phone, and that is why it will happen because Apple will leverage their tech across all their product lines, why? higher margins, larger profit, and a greater control of their destiny moving into the future.

post #65 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by knowitall View Post

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.
No, only twice. The Mac was a separate project to the Apple II series which used the 6502. There were some attempts at Apple II compatability back in the day, but the Mac started on 68K, moved to PPC, and then to x86. It was never available as a commercial product on 6502 (early development models may have used 6502, but if so they never got out of the lab).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Evilution View Post

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.
Many people don't run Windows on the Macs out of choice, they do it out of necessity. They want a Mac for their personal use, but need to use Windows for work. In a BYOD environment, some people are going to have a Mac, but need to run Windows software.
Also, not everyone can afford to have more than one laptop, even cheap ones. If I have limited funds, need to use Windows for work, and I can't run Windows on Apple hardware, then I'm not going to buy a Mac. Apple know this. Better they be able to sell the Mac as the platform that can run any software, including Windows.

Quote:
Originally Posted by delreyjones View Post

You seemed so sure of yourself and knowledgeable that I wasn't inclined to question you.  Nevertheless, I went over to store.apple.com just to check some details, and they say that all the iMacs and MacBook Air and MacBook Pro use the i5.  Am I missing something here?  It looks like one of Mac Minis uses an i7, and the Mac Pro uses something else (presumably even more powerful).  

So if I combine what you say with what the Apple store says, the current ARM chips are almost equivalent to what Apple uses in most of their Macs. So if today the ARM is in the ballpark, is it strange to speculate that tomorrow the ARM might be used in the Mac?  Seems plausible to me.
You didn't look very hard. All of Apple's computers are available with i7 chips as build to order. The base models of the MacBook Air, 13" rMacBook Pro, Mac mini, and iMac are all i5 based, but there is an option to upgrade to i7 on eachof them. So they wouldn't just be maintaining separate lines for the 15" rMBP and Mac Pro, they'd also be maintaining 2 individual lines for each SKU they currently sell.

I don't see Apple moving to ARM at this stage. I don't think the ARM platform at present is really up to the job (ironic, considering it started life as a high performance desktop CPU), and the shift away from x86 will lose them sectors of the market dependent on Windows software. I'm certain they have a variant of OSX running on ARM, and ARM based machines in the lab, but I don't see them leaving the lab anytime soon.
post #66 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by appleempl View Post
 
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. 

 

My young nephew is now living in a rented room on a modest income. He's short on both space and money, so a laptop computer would be good for him -- he could watch borrowed DVDs and use iTunes to manage his iPhone.

 

Unfortunately it seems that even five-year-old MacBooks cost as much as a brand-new HP. Maybe an ARM-based Mac would solve that problem.

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post #67 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ingela View Post

Desktop machines and Windows 8 is struggling and not entirely loved by users. Intel is likewise struggling as they are joined at the hip in a symbiotic relationship. If Apple is going to make a move now is the time.

They already design the chips, why not use them. It will further help justify development costs and hopefully earn higher margins and customers less expensive rigs

 

Apple won't lower price, but they will give you more for your money, in comparison to the competition.

post #68 of 127
How about a compromise. Put **both** CPUs in a Mac. Allow per-process choice of which CPU is applied. No cut-over issues. No Bootcamp issues. Just a nano-kernel for device contention and a boat-load of RAM.

Multi-core, Multi-CPU next gen ARM OSX *and* Windoze compatibility.
post #69 of 127

1. 16 to 32 cores in a MacBook or iMac seems highly unlikely. Maybe it would make sense for a subset of Mac Pro users, but that's a niche within a niche. 

 

2. Otherwise, the rumor of Apple having prototype Macs running ARM is totally believable. Even if Apple never pulls the trigger it's a good insurance policy and negotiating chip with Intel. If the Apple of the early 90s could afford to keep a port of System 7 running on Intel as an insurance policy, then the Apple of today can easily afford to keep a port of OSX running on ARM. 

 

3. The big question is whether Apple would really ever pull the trigger on this. Ultimately this is not an issue of whether Apple can pull this off technologically. Apple absolutely can pull this off. It's really a question of whether going with their own ARM CPUs will make noticeably more money for them than sticking with Intel. While there are multiple factors that feed into this, I think the bottom line is that if Apple ever switches to ARM in Macs it will mean that Intel seriously miscalculated in terms of the price/performance/power of the chips it sells to Apple. Odds are Intel won't seriously miscalculate, but that's far from a sure thing. I'd guess there's a 1 in 4 chance that Intel miscalculates and that Apple switches to ARM in Macs within the next 5 years. Maybe a 1 in 3 chance in the next 10 years. 

post #70 of 127
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Originally Posted by softeky View Post

How about a compromise. Put **both** CPUs in a Mac. Allow per-process choice of which CPU is applied. No cut-over issues. No Bootcamp issues. Just a nano-kernel for device contention and a boat-load of RAM.

Multi-core, Multi-CPU next gen ARM OSX *and* Windoze compatibility.

Frankly, that could simply be a Thunderbolt2 add-on, since TB is just serialized PCIe, a CPU daughter card could be attached with a TB cable.
Given how small CPUs are, a multi-core Atom chip would fit into a small dongle, and provides more than adequate power to run the typical business apps people fall back on windows for.

Wouldn't be very elegant for laptop use, but when combined with a SSD in the same case, you have a virtual machine that you can attach to any Mac you want, so no troublesome syncing between the virtual PC on the laptop and desktop: just move the dongle to the other machine, and all you data and the coprocessor is there, too.
post #71 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by softeky View Post

How about a compromise. Put **both** CPUs in a Mac. Allow per-process choice of which CPU is applied. No cut-over issues. No Bootcamp issues. Just a nano-kernel for device contention and a boat-load of RAM.

Multi-core, Multi-CPU next gen ARM OSX *and* Windoze compatibility.
This makes no sense at all. To begin, Boot Camp is the set of drivers required to run Windows on Apple hardware. Could you please explain which "issues" you have found with Boot Camp?

Your misunderstanding of Boot Camp pales in comparison to the [lack of] logic of Apple's building computers having OS-dependent coprocessors. Apple has not done this since it produced its Z80-based CP/M card for the Apple ][. IIRC, the only such Mac card was the Mac286 card from AST Research and later Orange PC from Orange Micro using technology licensed from AST Research. These Mac cards lost out to software solutions such as SoftWindows and later, Virtual PC.

The fact that the coprocessor approach is ancient is not the major problem. The major problem is that it is the tale wagging the dog. Intel processors are the most expensive chips in your computer. One may infer that an ARM-based Mac will not use discreet ARM processors but rather Apple-labeled SOCs based on the ARM architecture much like iOS devices. We can expect Apple's SOCs to be substantially less expensive than the Intel processors and support chips that they displace. By including an Intel coprocessor, Apple realizes none of the cost savings that dropping Intel should produce. Apple would realize none of the engineering potential of its own smaller lower power cooler processor. To the contrary, such a design would more expensive and larger than a comparable Intel-only design.

And all that for the few users who need Intel-compatibility on an occasional basis. Not smart.
post #72 of 127
I am sure Apple has lots of things in their labs that never see the light of day. It makes zero sense for Apple to 'switch' from Intel to ARM for their traditional desktop and laptop products. However, if products like the Surface Pro 3 take off it might make sense for Apple to offer a competing Laptop/Tablet hybrid. Apple is also likely testing Intel-based Atom processors in their tablets should Intel make some huge breakthrough in terms of power/performance. Apple no doubt doesn't want to get caught in a situation similar to the PowerPC. Personally, I wouldn't get too excited by all these rumors. Apple will do whatever necessary to grow their 'cash cows' while hopefully brining the next new product category to market...
post #73 of 127
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Originally Posted by Lorin Schultz View Post

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Originally Posted by InteliusQ View Post

An ARM based Mac would have a Mac OS that natively runs both Mac apps and iOS apps in the same environment.

The continued existence of some Mac apps would be my concern. If we really are moving to a post-PC market, will developers have an appetite for reworking their apps to run on a different platform? They may decide it's not worth the effort to do a complete rewrite for a shrinking market. Depending on when it happens, there could even be some residual "rewrite fatigue" since it's only been eight years since the last time they had to do it.


Speaking of which, the last time developers had to rewrite their apps for Mac is was for x86 processors. Not being a developer I don't know, but I wonder if it was easier for companies like Adobe that already had Windows versions of their software to rework for x86 than it would be to write for a whole new processor? Is that even an issue?

No sane developer (except developers of emulation systems like VMware, Parallels, etc.) write anything for a processor. Programming is done in high-level languages, totally CPU independent these days, the only issue is that switching to a new CPU can reveal bugs/bad programming techniques that were in the code but due to quirks in a particular CPU had no consequences until switching to another CPU.

Thus a CPU switch is a simple recompile and a follow up QA testing run. After that submit the newly created fat binary to the AppStore: done! Easy peasy...
post #74 of 127
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Originally Posted by shadowself View Post

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Originally Posted by rcfa View Post

The 64-bit ARM chips are not significantly slower than a variety of x86 chips, but they use an order of magnitude less power.
Not significantly slower? You're kidding, right?

Yes, the best ARM chips are equivalent to (and in many cases better than) Intel's Atom line. (But that's NOT what runs the current Macs.) Yes, the best ARM chips are roughly equivalent to the bottom of the line i3 chips for most (NOT ALL) functions. The best ARM chips are almost equivalent to some i5 chips, which Apple uses for its slowest/least expensive Macs, for most (NOT ALL) functions. But no current ARM chip (not even the 64-bit variants like Apple's) is in the class of the i7 chips which Apple DOES USE in the MacBook Air, rMBP, and iMac.
For one, Apple wouldn't use last year's chips.
For two, they wouldn't use the clock speeds they are forced to use to deal with the small batteries in iPhones and iPods.
For three, they would use a different memory architecture
So plenty of room to make up that i5 to i7 gap.
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 By going massively parallel, Apple can make devices that are more powerful and use less energy at the same time.
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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.
The reason for Apple going to an ARM architecture for the iPhone was power requirements, plain and simple. The ARM architecture was just fast enough. Apple has made great strides in its implementation of the ARM architecture, but it's not equivalent to Intel's mainstream chips and won't be for a few years. The ARM chips are not the same as Intel's main stream chips.

Intel is making great strides in its ultra low power chips. Intel's reduction in power requirements and processing capabilities in these chips. BayTrail is a significant step forward. Intel's motion forward in this type of chip is much, much faster than it is moving with the other end of the spectrum -- the Xeon chips or the Itanium chips.

Additionally, the I/O architecture of the ARM chips is not the same as Intel's mainstream chips with their support chips. Apple's iOS devices effectively have just four inputs: screen/buttons, lightning (one only), sound in, sound out. The typical Mac has many more -- even a MacBook Air. This will be an additional architecture change above and beyond that of massively parallel processing you mention above.
Apple used to make their own chip sets, and they have the know how to do it again.
Apple is an ARM architecture licensee, which means they are among hue he few who can alter the platform and develop their own implementations of CPU cores and a given ARM instruction set.
Apple was busy buying up chip design talent for the last few years, and they are no going to waste that investment. Macs at this point are such a small part of apple's business, that some have speculated Apple might stop making Macs altogether, so them lowering their costs and condensing development by a more unified platform for Mac and mobile devices makes perfectly sense.
Intel's CPU performance is stagnant, because the complex instruction set starts hitting the barriers of Physics when it comes to making smaller and more power efficient implementations. The ARM instruction set, particular the 64-bit instruction set, is essentially legacy free, streamlined and can be scaled in a variety of ways that Intel would have trouble doing with the x86 chips,
While maybe ARM may need a few more years to compete with the XEON chips in a MacPro, I see no issues powering the entire MBA and MacMini range with ARM with a desktop variant of several A8 chips.
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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$' tablet/laptop hybrids.
Again, you're kidding, right? It's not an issue if you can live with a system that runs at 75% of the original, native speed (and in some cases as slow as 25% of the original speed). Most people can't take that hit. Most can't. I tried it back in the day. It was acceptable for some tasks but not for most. That was why VirtualPC was a viable industry, but most can't.
Most people using Windows on a Mac are using it for occasional business apps: accounting software and stuff like that. The few people who use a Mac to run performance hungry Windows software are such a minority that Apple can and will ignore them in their decision making.
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And, Apple's ARM variants are NOT code compatible with the rest of the industry's ARM chips. It is unlikely that Microsoft (or any other mainstream OS developer) will write a variant of their OS to specifically support Apple's version of the ARM chip. 
Apples Chips are perfectly compatible, just because they are he first to jump on the 64-bit ARM architecture doesn't mean others won't do the same, particularly M$ with their iPad-Zune
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Apple has the luxury of issuing a new version of its OSes (whether Mac OS or iOS) when it issues a new chip such as the A7. Apple has the ability to work on that new OS variant many months in advance so that the new variant of iOS is ready when the chip ships -- and still keep the capabilities quiet. Is Apple going to be able to get other OS vendors to work on their OSes in advance -- AND still keep them under wraps -- so that those OSes are ready when the chip ships? That is extremely unlikely.
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 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.
The technology ISN'T there YET. It will be in a few years (say 5-10), but not today. It isn't just a matter of marketing.
You may not have followed the performance increases in each subsequent A-series chip, and that was before Apple was on the much more scalable ARM 64-bit architecture. Apple clearly doesn't need 5-10 years to catch up with intel who has trouble bringing out a meaningful improvement every two years, that's maybe 20% faster than the last generation...
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Apple does NOT have "multiple CPUs in the system" with regard to any single OS or general system architecture. There's Apple's own ARM based chips for iOS and Intel based chips for Mac OS. That's it. You don't even see x86 compatible chips (e.g., AMD's chips) in Apple's Macs. Why? because it would add more complexity to the OS to support other x86 based chips. Supporting ARM with Mac OS effectively would require two distinct and different versions of Mac OS. Not only building it, but supporting it, would be a huge increase on Apple's costs.
Apple has multiple CPUs: PMU, GPU, CPU, and probably others. The user generally doesn't consider them or write code for them (other than where Apple provides tools such as GCD, shaders, etc.) but that doesn't mean the CPUs aren't there or Mach kernel isn't capable of handling a mixed CPU-type, multi-CPU system.
Has all been done before.
post #75 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blastdoor View Post

1. 16 to 32 cores in a MacBook or iMac seems highly unlikely. Maybe it would make sense for a subset of Mac Pro users, but that's a niche within a niche. 

Load distribution is transparent to users. Apple's GCD can not only use the GPUs but also CPUs. Apple has been imploring developers for over a decade now to parallelize their code, for good reason. Mach has been running on 32 CPU systems back in the days of NeXT, so this also isn't an OS issue as some here have suggested.
Apple had some roadblocks in high-up levels in their software, but they were fully aware of these issues and have eliminated them one by one. For all we know, OS X 10.10 may have seen the main focus in parallelism. It's not like at Apple the software people have no clue where the hardware is going, at least when it comes to big picture strategic moves.
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3. The big question is whether Apple would really ever pull the trigger on this. Ultimately this is not an issue of whether Apple can pull this off technologically. Apple absolutely can pull this off. It's really a question of whether going with their own ARM CPUs will make noticeably more money for them than sticking with Intel. While there are multiple factors that feed into this, I think the bottom line is that if Apple ever switches to ARM in Macs it will mean that Intel seriously miscalculated in terms of the price/performance/power of the chips it sells to Apple. Odds are Intel won't seriously miscalculate, but that's far from a sure thing. I'd guess there's a 1 in 4 chance that Intel miscalculates and that Apple switches to ARM in Macs within the next 5 years. Maybe a 1 in 3 chance in the next 10 years. 

Apple struggles with size,battery life and power consumption because Intel can't move fast enough. Further intel is expensive, meaning Apple being priced out of certain market segments unless they want to compete with crappy machines. Lower power, lower cost, smaller die size ARM CPUs can solve all of these issues for Apple, only issue is windows compatibility, Apple can say that's a pro feature, and leave MBP and MP on Intel for now, and move MBA, IM and MM to ARM without much complication.
post #76 of 127
If Apple were to issue a Mac with an ARM CPU, would it make more sense today to be compatible with Windows or with iOS? Keep in mind that the former is now spread over three versions of WIndows (including the XP) in the enterprise market. While iOS is growing in importance everywhere.

Windows and OSX have some features that iOS lacks, however building out those features onto iOS may make more sense then cramming OSX onto an ARM chip. Especially since OSX is not as popular in enterprise as is iOS. Going forward, I would think Apple would retain their Intel line of Macs while promoting a power efficient model of of computers based on the ARM CPU. (Is it any coincidence that Microsoft and Sony are being called out for their power consuming game consoles at this very time?)

This new computer can launch from day one with all the programs made for the iOS devices and only require a resizing of the screen elements to look right for the new geometry. This would entail a much less rewrite of code then making Intel programs to run on an ARM chip. While the ARM chips are less powerful then a high-end Intel chip, there are several things in their favor:
1. As mentioned before, the ARM chip requires far less electrical energy. THIS is a growing demand, even for non-mobile devices.
2. The ARM chip is far from being optimized for what it is capable of doing. Apple is in the prime place to lead in this area for the long term. Intel X86 design is at it's peak, and not likely to see much change.
3. ARM also lends itself well to distributed processing within a computer enclosure. This spreads out the heat sources as well as allows the computer to dynamically bring more CPUs on line as needed or trim back the number when not needed.
4. ARM, for Apple, puts Apple in the drivers seat with an established ARM OS that is mature and developer supported. Apple's iOS has the established installed base in education, aviation, government, business, industry and even consumers to pull a coup d'état. It even has Microsoft's Office running on it.
5. ARM chips are much lower in cost, Apple's OS is optimized for their own ARM implementation, and Apple has the capacity to support a world-wide rollout and support.

One last thing... there must be a reason Microsoft withheld the mini Surface Pro from introduction a few days ago. Apple has something coming soon that destroyed any value for a smaller Surface and Microsoft got wind of it. Whether it's this new low-cost ARM computer or something else, we will know in another week!
"That (the) world is moving so quickly that iOS is already amongst the older mobile operating systems in active development today." — The Verge
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"That (the) world is moving so quickly that iOS is already amongst the older mobile operating systems in active development today." — The Verge
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post #77 of 127
Originally Posted by guytoronto View Post
Windows compatibility. 

 

There are many reasons that moving to ARM for computers isn’t feasible even in the foreseeable future.

 

Windows compatibility is not one of them. Apple couldn’t care less about running Windows.

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

Reply

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

Reply
post #78 of 127

Samsung has been selling Chromebooks using the Exynos Octo chips for a while. It is an ARM chip. Such a design can be faster or slower than an Intel chip depending on the use of it. If a dual core Intel chip is pushed by the user opening many tabs and running several processes simultaneously the machine will get slower. If the eight core Exynos chip is running with multiple tabs and processes it can perform better than a 1.4 Celeron dual core Intel chip. The dual core higher clock speed Intel chip will play movies and do other things much faster than an Exynos Octo if the user only does one thing at a time. 

 

Apple could develop a multi-core ARM chip that would perform very well using OS X. Such a chip would work well in a Mac Book Air. 

 

I actually don't believe Apple is bold enough to take big leaps with its current management. I think they will plod along with product improvements. The improvements they make are always very good. There is no hunger left in Apple. They aren't out to prove themselves. They aren't competing against anybody else for king of the hill. They are the giant in the world of computing. Management is now more interested in keeping the stock price high than taking risks in new areas.

 

If Steve Jobs had cracked the TV code that he felt would revolutionize home media where is the product? He probably did have it figured out but it seems that current management doesn't want to take that risk to produce it.

 

Apple switching away from Intel would be a bold move. ARM processors are fast enough to handle media and web surfing for the majority of people. They will only get better. Apple is a phone and tablet company that makes computers and a set top box on the side. The proof to me that Apple has lost its desire to really focus on computers is the iWork suite. They never tried to make Pages better than Word. Even when Steve Jobs was alive. They just made it good enough. 

post #79 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by Macky the Macky View Post

Windows and OSX have some features that iOS lacks, however building out those features onto iOS may make more sense then cramming OSX onto an ARM chip. Especially since OSX is not as popular in enterprise as is iOS. /quote]

Fundamental flaw:
iOS and OS X are one and the same OS in case you haven't noticed.
There's only a thin GUI layer that's different, and a few things Apple left out and jail breakers put right back, like the shell.
The distinction between iOS and OS X is merely marketing driven...
post #80 of 127
Who says that Apple would have to ditch ALL Intel chips? They just spent a lot of time creating the new Mac Pro. Isn't it possible and likely they will keep it around as is for awhile? It's also possible they could keep an Intel or dual chip IMac Pro around. But the hundreds of millions of IOS only users and most of the MacBook Air users are not going to miss being able to run Windows but will greatly appreciate having more battery life, lower cost and a potentially faster evolving operating system. And who knows, maybe these multi chip multi core ARM systems would be fast enough. They are already fast enough for browsing, playing video, doing a bit of video and audio editing, playing a lot of games.... That cover the vast majority of users.
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