Rumor: Apple plans to move laptops from Intel to ARM processors

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
A new rumor claims that Apple plans to ditch Intel processors to instead adopt the ARM architecture currently found in devices like the iPhone and iPad.



Apple's alleged move to ARM processors is expected to take place "as soon as possible," likely when 64-bit variations are available at the end of 2012 or by early 2013, according to SemiAccurate (via MacRumors. The site is run by Charlie Demerjian, previous editor of U.K. tabloid The Inquirer.)



Though SemiAccurate is not a frequent source of Apple rumors, the site did report in July 2009 that Apple was moving away from Nvidia chipsets at a gradual pace. Currently, Apple's new MacBook Pros and iMacs exclusively feature AMD Radeon graphics, or Intel's integrated option.



In addition to laptops, the report said that Apple would "presumably" be looking to move its desktop Macs to ARM architecture as well. It characterized the transition to Apple-made chips for its line of computers as a "done deal."



"Now you realize why Apple is desperately searching for fab capacity from Samsung, Global Foundries, and TSMC," the report said. "Intel doesn't know about this particular change of heart yet, which is why they are dropping all the hints about wanting Apple as a foundry customer. Once they realize Apple will be fabbing ARM chips at the expense of x86 parts, they may not be so eager to provide them wafers on advanced processes."



The rumor comes just days after a report indicated that Intel could be interested in building mobile chips for Apple, like the A5 processor found in the iPad 2. Intel currently makes the CPUs powering Apple's notebooks and desktops, but Apple has turned to ARM processors for a range of devices, including its iPods, Airport base stations, and iOS devices, including the new Apple TV.







Apple even entered the chip designing business starting with the A4 processor that powers the iPhone 4 and first-generation iPad. Apple gained the ability to design its own systems-on-a-chip through the acquisition of PA Semi for $278 million in 2008.



Even Microsoft has plans for the ARM architecture in the future, as mobile devices offer longer battery life with the low-power chips. The Redmond, Wash., software giant revealed at this year's Consumer Electronics Show that the next version of its desktop operating system, Windows 8, will run on the ARM's architecture.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 156
    thetroupethetroupe Posts: 11member
    Booooogus!
  • Reply 2 of 156
    rickertbrickertb Posts: 34member
    Bogus indeed!!

    This guy doesn't know what he is talking about



    Apple is just finishing the transition from PowerPC to x86 systems with the release of Lion.

    It has taken Apple more than 4 years to do so...



    and there where good reasons to switch to x86.

    Going for AMD would be an option maybe
  • Reply 3 of 156
    rbonnerrbonner Posts: 635member
    Pretty sure this would kill products like VMWare, which IMHO has encouraged a ton of sales for Mac.
  • Reply 4 of 156
    asciiascii Posts: 5,456member
    This is highly dubious, unless they want to make iOS laptops. Essentially an iPad with a keyboard attached.
  • Reply 5 of 156
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    A new rumor claims that Apple plans to ditch Intel processors to instead adopt the ARM architecture currently found in devices like the iPhone and iPad.



    A lot of people buy MB and MBP as replacement for MS Windows machines, just to install and work on Vista/7, because they want to work in their familiar software, and some programs do not have a native equivalentto the OSX platform, such as Autodesk 3DS MAX , AutoCAD. Who ever tried the OSX version of AutoCAD already knows that this is not the same application on another system platform, just a different, less a running program, with fewer functions...



    Looking at how many people shifted a Windows box for a Mac, I think most of them did so only because they have the ability to install an operating system as on a "typical PC" which is at this point almost every Mac ... - only with better components, etc. ..

    I use the MBP 17 "2011, only due to screen size and battery, but for the most part working on Windows.
  • Reply 6 of 156
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Though SemiAccurate is not a frequent source of Apple rumors, the site did report in July 2009 that Apple was moving away from Nvidia chipsets at a gradual pace. Currently, Apple's new MacBook Pros and iMacs exclusively feature AMD Radeon graphics, or Intel's integrated option.



    I seem to recall Apple cycling between Nvidia and AMD(ATI) for there discrete GPUs on several occasions.
  • Reply 7 of 156
    nicolbolasnicolbolas Posts: 254member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    A new rumor claims that Apple plans to ditch Intel processors to instead adopt the ARM architecture currently found in devices like the iPhone and iPad.



    Apple's alleged move to ARM processors is expected to take place "as soon as possible," likely when 64-bit variations are available at the end of 2012 or by early 2013, according to SemiAccurate (via MacRumors. The site is run by Charlie Demerjian, previous editor of U.K. tabloid The Inquirer.



    In addition to laptops, the report said that Apple would "presumably" be looking to move its desktop Macs to ARM architecture as well. It characterized the transition to Apple-made chips for its line of computers as a "done deal."



    "Now you realize why Apple is desperately searching for fab capacity from Samsung, Global Foundries, and TSMC," the report said. "Intel doesn't know about this particular change of heart yet, which is why they are dropping all the hints about wanting Apple as a foundry customer. Once they realize Apple will be fabbing ARM chips at the expense of x86 parts, they may not be so eager to provide them wafers on advanced processes."





    Apple even entered the chip designing business starting with the A4 processor that powers the iPhone 4 and first-generation iPad. Apple gained the ability to design its own systems-on-a-chip through the acquisition of PA Semi for $278 million in 2008.



    Even Microsoft has plans for the ARM architecture in the future, as mobile devices offer longer battery life with the low-power chips. The Redmond, Wash., software giant revealed at this year's Consumer Electronics Show that the next version of its desktop operating system, Windows 8, will run on the ARM's architecture.



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



    they are saying that ARM CPU's will be able ot make the jump from 30-40% of Atom to over I-core or Phenom (and bulldozer i believe) performance?!?? in 3 years... because they want more people to make ARM CPU's for their products, which are in super high demand VS supply.



    i guess if you want 0 professional users, or higher end business users (that 5-10+ applications at once) i don't see this happening... at least not to MBP



    i could imagine a weaker white MB with cheaper price-- and a merged iOS/OSX to allow it to run seemingly "fast" on a ARM CPU... otherwise i think it is BS
  • Reply 8 of 156
    jmmxjmmx Posts: 341member
    A5 most certainly is a fantastic chip, but it ain't no i7.



    Is it still April 1???
  • Reply 9 of 156
    damn_its_hotdamn_its_hot Posts: 1,170member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    A new rumor claims that Apple plans to ditch Intel processors to instead adopt the ARM architecture currently found in devices like the iPhone and iPad.



    I find this incredibly difficult to believe except for possibly a case for a Mac Book Air type machine.



    ARM's biggest strength is not raw horsepower it is in low energy consumption, low heat. The kind of computing power being delivered by even the older core 2 Intel chips would require a major change in the way the ARM works. If huge advances have been made in parallelism required to run a large number of cores then maybe you could do something cool with a many-multicore ARM chip.



    Doing things on multiple cores has turned out to be one of the biggest issues for software developers and systems folks. Taking a single task and breaking it down into the small chunks that can then all run efficiently to give you the kind of gain you need is no small feat. Intel, IBM, SUN and many others have long known how to put many chips together or build a machine with multiple processors. That has not been an issue for the last two decades. It is learning how to manage the resources at hand so that you get a real return for your investment.
  • Reply 10 of 156
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 16,866member
    I agree guys...I don't buy this one.
  • Reply 11 of 156
    boogabooga Posts: 1,071member
    Disinformation put out by Samsung to try to drive a wedge between Apple and Intel?
  • Reply 12 of 156
    hittrj01hittrj01 Posts: 753member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by rbonner View Post


    Pretty sure this would kill products like VMWare, which IMHO has encouraged a ton of sales for Mac.



    I don't buy this rumor at all, but not because of things like VMWare or Parallels. Microsoft already showed Windows 8 running on an ARM chip, so virtualization would still work with that.
  • Reply 13 of 156
    godriflegodrifle Posts: 266member
    redonkulous
  • Reply 14 of 156
    esummersesummers Posts: 880member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by rbonner View Post


    Pretty sure this would kill products like VMWare, which IMHO has encouraged a ton of sales for Mac.



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



    I think this is inevitable and reasonable within the next few years. The A5 could probably already make a decent ultra compact laptop.
  • Reply 15 of 156
    bloodlinebloodline Posts: 16member
    Can't see it happening. But I have often wondered if the Air could include an A5 (secondary to the x86) for a low power operation mode... Not sure how practical it would be, but apple could make it work if anyone can
  • Reply 16 of 156
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Ridiculous. Apple has worked diligently to make sure that they have the fastest mobile chip available in MacBooks (consistent with power consumption). They already have 10 hour battery life on most models, so there's no major driving force to change - and even if the CPU drew ZERO power, battery life wouldn't double.



    In exchange for a largely meaningless improvement in battery life (are you going to buy a computer with 14 hour battery life but not the same computer with 10 hour life?), performance would suffer greatly. Plus, you wouldn't be able to run any apps other than the iOS apps (no Microsoft Office, for example).



    Ain't gonna happen.
  • Reply 17 of 156
    nicolbolasnicolbolas Posts: 254member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by esummers View Post


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



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



    do you mean a netbook?
  • Reply 17 of 156
    esummersesummers Posts: 880member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Damn_Its_Hot View Post


    I find this incredibly difficult to believe except for possibly a case for a Mac Book Air type machine.



    ARM's biggest strength is not raw horsepower it is in low energy consumption, low heat. The kind of computing power being delivered by even the older core 2 Intel chips would require a major change in the way the ARM works. If huge advances have been made in parallelism required to run a large number of cores then maybe you could do something cool with a many-multicore ARM chip.



    Doing things on multiple cores has turned out to be one of the biggest issues for software developers and systems folks. Taking a single task and breaking it down into the small chunks that can then all run efficiently to give you the kind of gain you need is no small feat. Intel, IBM, SUN and many others have long known how to put many chips together or build a machine with multiple processors. That has not been an issue for the last two decades. It is learning how to manage the resources at hand so that you get a real return for your investment.



    Huge advances have been made: Grand Central Dispatch and language level support for closures. Apple is rapidly adding support for GCD and closures throughout their frameworks to make it easy for developers to create multicore friendly apps. For video applications, Apple has segmentation features in Compressor to chop up video in chunks to encode separately and then stitch them back together. Many of the changes required to make a multi-core chip work well will just would face trouble in the Windows world. Apple controls the whole stack so they can and are making this work.
  • Reply 19 of 156
    gwydiongwydion Posts: 1,065member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by esummers View Post


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



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



    What is the connection between running Windows or OS X on ARM and virtualization?
  • Reply 20 of 156
    gotwakegotwake Posts: 111member
    I guess they just let anyone be a 'journalist'. \
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