Originally Posted by ascii
The reason they switched from PowerPC to Intel was that the CPUs were becoming a limiting factor in making devices smaller and thinner (i.e. the Powerbook G5 that never happened). And certainly a switch from Intel to ARM could be justified on the same grounds.
Basically the PPC consortium fell apart.
However, as far as ARM goes this would not be a justification for going to ARM. The best reason is that Apple would have no choice if it wants to continue to innovate in the desktop/laptop computer space. This is the same reason they had to start designing their own cell phone chips, in a nut shell silicon is the printed circuit board of the last century. In order to innovate in PC space you either need to design your own chips or get Intel to truly go the custom route. Intel seem highly resistant to custom chips so in the end it is either AMD or ARM.
By the way it seems like AMD has seen the writing on the wall here and is very willing to do custom SoC. In the end the business of computers is changing for the same reason the business of cell phones is changing. It is now possible to do SoC that are truly deserving of the SoC label.
The thing I don't believe about the report is that Macs would have 4 or 8 of these CPUs. Surely that would require some nasty motherboard logic, with 8 CPUs all access the same memory? Doesn't sound believable.
Not believable at all actually.
In terms of having a Rosetta type solution on the ARM Macs to let them run old Intel apps, I don't think they should do that. Rather they should do the opposite, and have a Rosetta solution on Intel Macs to let them run ARM apps go forward.
How about neither?
The ARM Macs should take on the policy of the iDevices, and only be allowed to run apps from the Mac App Store.
If they did this I wouldn't be able to support them by buying the hardware. Right now the only reason I have to run a Mac is to run apps not available on the App Store. Apps that will likely never be on the App Store. It would kill the platform for more advanced users of the machines.
And the only apps that should show up for downloading are ones that developer have uploaded as pure ARM or ARM/Intel fat binaries.
Given the above, the App Store is key to getting this to work. I could see Apple giving developers an ultimatum, either have the ARM binaries by XYZ date or your app gets dropped from the store. I can see most developers jumping on the bandwagon due to Mac OS being the only real growth opportunity out there for PC type apps.
One out-there thing I wonder is whether Apple could possibly do static in-place Intel to ARM translation to the apps on the Mac App Store. Would that even be possible, or are there some things that simply can not be done until runtime?
It is possible. What would be more likely is that they leverage LLVM and require apps be built to one of LLVM's intermediate forms and then have LLVM generate the native code on the target machine. It is an option different than fat binaries but a workable one considering how far LLVM has come in the last few years. Such an OS would never be tied to hardware in the future.
Anyway I would be first in line to buy one of these new Macs.
Yep! Given that I have the same access as I currently do with Mac OS, that is the ability to install third party software and run scripts and such then I'd be all in. I just don't run Windows software anymore. Ideally the platform would also be open enough to run Linux also.
But mainly for software reasons not hardware.
Well it is the whole deal really. For me a whole bunch of low power cores would work out far better than the current two core solutions found in most low end laptops. With the ARM cores I can see Apple putting eight cores into a SoC by the end of 2015.
Switching to a whole new architecture is a golden opportunity to get rid of a lot of cruft and declare a lot of old frameworks deprecated and will not be supplied in ARM versions.
Possibly but Mac OS has been overhauled fairly completely now. My goal or hope would be that we would get a low cost platform, with all of those cores, that is significantly better than the Intel offerings in the same price range. Better means performance that holds up under load, power usage that is absolutely minimal under load and also when sleeping, and finally cool operation.
By the way, I realize that the ARM cores Apple would lead with this year won't be the fastest in the world. That isn't as important has getting access to lots of them.