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

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  • Reply 61 of 156
    Seeing the number of tools in OS X Lion that are dependant on features of Sandy Bridge CPUs, I would HIGHLY DOUBT this is a feasable possibility at all.



    I can see there being a MacBook in the future with an ARM processor that runs on iOS and not OS X that could take Apple below the $999 price point, but that's it.
  • Reply 62 of 156
    bongobongo Posts: 158member
    What about Apple and FPGA's?

    Can someone shed light on why the new MBP contains FPGAs from Lattice Semiconductors?
  • Reply 63 of 156
    gwydiongwydion Posts: 1,073member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by chabig View Post


    I guess you could switch to Windows. Oh wait, they're moving to ARM too.



    Really, moving to ARM?
  • Reply 64 of 156
    suddenly newtonsuddenly newton Posts: 13,762member
    Meh. It's an interesting possibility, one that would like improve battery life to new highs. And a bold move. But they'd have to build desktop and server versions. They could not just convert the laptops. Then they'd need a Rosetta for ARM. It would take Adobe a few years more to catch up LOL.
  • Reply 65 of 156
    dick applebaumdick applebaum Posts: 12,520member
    Thinking out loud here...



    The x86 architecture was defined years ago (I go back to the 8080 and Z80 years).



    ARM is not all that new either.



    PPC and CELL still are being used.



    GPUs are more recent addition -- but are now de rigueur.



    The difference between RISC vs CISC has been blurred.







    But, more than that the needs have changed:



    -- low power is a requirement for everything from an iPod to a server farm.



    -- compute capability benefits more, with additional cores/threads than faster processors.



    -- a certain amount of specialized RAM improves performance of the GPU/CPU/Cores/Threads.



    -- with things like GCD and OpenCL, more tools are available to exploit multiple cores/threads







    That said, what if the best chip architecture designers were to start with a blank slate -- and create an efficient, low-power architecture that could scale from, say, an iPod shuffle to the largest supercomputer.



    If these architecture designers were to start today, how long would it take to define a new architecture -- let's call it "PenUltima"



    Assume that for compatibility:



    1) today's x86 computer has a large install base of complex (and legacy) software to protect

    ---- today's x86 computer would become tomorrow's PenUltima + x86 device (eventually PenUltima only)



    2) today's mobile devices have less complex (newer) software that could be migrated with a recompile

    ---- today's mobile ARM device would become tomorrow's mobile PenUltima (only) device



    Maybe, we need a computer architecture for the 21st century.
  • Reply 66 of 156
    wigginwiggin Posts: 2,265member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bigdaddyguido View Post


    This. Apple said it when they released the air, they feel that it's the future of computing. If they can put a ton of low power, multiple-core chips in an air-esque form factor and have it be even close to as powerful as the bulkier version, why wouldn't apple do that? Not just for mbp, but paper thin iMacs and apple tv sized minis. And if anyone would know if/when this is possible, it'd probably be the people making the iPad 2, no?



    Because multiple core gets you dimishing returns. A dual-core chip doesn't double your performance. A quad-core chip doesn't quadruple your performance. Except for highly parallel functions (such as video processing), adding more cores eventually gets to the point that it doesn't speed up the types of tasks that most people perform.



    Apple is doing a lot of work to make it easier for programmers to take advantage of multiple cores and the GPU, and that helps. But if you have a series of calculations where each step is dependent on the previous steps being completed first, the work can't be distrubuted to multiple cores.



    Right now, 4 cores seems to be a practical limit for a typical user. In the previous iMacs where Apple offered faster dual-core or slower quad-core CPUs as options, many typical users were better off with the faster dual-core iMac. I'm sure we'll eventually get to the point where adding more than 4 cores will be of practical benefit to the average consumer, but that's likely more than a year or so away still.
  • Reply 67 of 156
    negafoxnegafox Posts: 480member
    I don't buy this rumor at all. It would be stupid to unveil a new MacBook Pro that runs 10 times slower than the previous year's model along with poor gaming performance.
  • Reply 68 of 156
    wigginwiggin Posts: 2,265member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by johnmorrissey View Post


    I can see there being a MacBook in the future with an ARM processor that runs on iOS and not OS X that could take Apple below the $999 price point, but that's it.



    The return of the eMate!



    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EMate_300
  • Reply 69 of 156
    mitchelljdmitchelljd Posts: 157member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Negafox View Post


    I don't buy this rumor at all. It would be stupid to unveil a new MacBook Pro that runs 10 times slower than the previous year's model along with poor gaming performance.



    I hope this rumor isn't true, or it would point to a netbook air variant only.



    Though anything is possible with Apple, try do anything they can to squeeze higher profit margins. From not including an extra chip to allow USB 3 on the sandybridge model Lines. To ignoring blu-ray intentionally to not have to pay for the patent or hardware costs (and because of iTunes movie store)



    Time and time again apple is showing it is more inclined to squeeze costs lower and charge as much as they can. So if apple can figure a way out to make their own CPU chips... It's plausible and they would keep more money from their hardware sales.



    It would stink. But apple has a "think different" corporate agenda these days and it always isn't bent on what is best for consumers, instead it is based on higher profit margins and extra income streams.
  • Reply 70 of 156
    Reading through this thread reminds me exactly of the times before the PPC and the Intel transitions.



    But this hits me with a very interesting SPECULATION. Follow the logic... by the time this comes about, I'd bet ALL apps will have to come from the App Store. New CPU means devs have to once again rewrite their apps... so LOTS of app updates and such. THIS time, Cupertino gets a big cut of all the app sales that are forced because of the CPU transition. IF this turns out to be the case, they will have completed the transition to an even more evil empire than poor m$.



    Somehow or other I see it more likely they move to running iOS on the whole computer line and running their own "A" series chips. I think they'll drop the Mac Pros and keep laptops and iMacs along with the current iOS devices. While I may hate that, it seems a better move for them than going ARM.
  • Reply 71 of 156
    quinneyquinney Posts: 2,526member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post


    ...what if the best chip architecture designers were to start with a blank slate -- and create an efficient, low-power architecture that could scale from, say, an iPod shuffle to the largest supercomputer.



    If these architecture designers were to start today, how long would it take to define a new architecture -- let's call it "PenUltima"



    ...



    Better yet, how long would it take them if they started in 2008 (when Apple acquired PA semi)?
  • Reply 72 of 156
    hudson1hudson1 Posts: 800member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by CodeWarrior View Post


    Running Windows on ARM is only part of the equation. You have to have the programs compiled so they will run on ARM. That was the problem back in the days of NT running on multiple chips. The hardware and OS was there but not any of the Apps. Emulation was a poor substitute.



    I took the point to mean that since Windows 8 will end up running on ARM architecture then so will Windows applications before long. If that turns out to be true then the whole virtualization question becomes much simpler.
  • Reply 73 of 156
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 1,945member
    Here's my prediction:



    1. By 2013 (maybe sooner), all apps in the Mac App Store will be a trivial recompile from x86 to ARM.



    2. iOS will adopt MacOS-like capabilities with respect to keyboard/trackpad input and larger screen output



    Thus, Apple will be able to sell iPhones and iPads that can dock (via thunderbolt) with a device that provides keyboard/trackpad input and larger monitor output. This could be a "laptop" or it could be a "desktop", depending on the size of the keyboard/trackpad/monitor. The iDevice would be smart enough to switch UIs depending on whether it is docked or not.



    Apple could also sell a "laptop" or "desktop" computer that doesn't involve any docking -- just a straight-up iOS laptop or desktop.



    I think it is devices like these that will run ARM CPUs.



    At the same time, though, the Mac will remain on x86, running MacOS, with the capacity to run a broader range of apps than what's in the Mac App Store. These x86 computers will be the "tucks", the iOS computers will be the "cars", but they will be much closer to each other than they are today.
  • Reply 74 of 156
    dick applebaumdick applebaum Posts: 12,520member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mitchelljd View Post


    I hope this rumor isn't true, or it would point to a netbook air variant only.



    Though anything is possible with Apple, try do anything they can to squeeze higher profit margins. From not including an extra chip to allow USB 3 on the sandybridge model Lines. To ignoring blu-ray intentionally to not have to pay for the patent or hardware costs (and because of iTunes movie store)



    Time and time again apple is showing it is more inclined to squeeze costs lower and charge as much as they can. So if apple can figure a way out to make their own CPU chips... It's plausible and they would keep more money from their hardware sales.



    It would stink. But apple has a "think different" corporate agenda these days and it always isn't bent on what is best for consumers, instead it is based on higher profit margins and extra income streams.



    Yeah... Greedy Apple with their "think different" agenda has made customers buy an iPad for $500 as opposed to a 1984 Mac for $1,995 - $2,495 about $5,200 in 2011 dollars.





    They really know how to screw over the customers...
  • Reply 75 of 156
    doh123doh123 Posts: 323member
    This would be a good way to completely kill off the Mac business and be an iOS only company selling appliances and having no real "PC"



    People tolerated and jumped on bored with the PPC to Intel transition not because it was Apple, but because it was Intel. Apple switches to some junk that would be horrible for a Personal Computer for most people, and they could lose half their business. I don't think they are that stupid...



    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.



    Windows 8 will mostly likely have an ARM variant, yes... but that doesn't mean that all Software written for Windows 8 will run on any install of Windows 8 on any hardware. The software will still specify and only run on certain processors. most of the high end software people will want that runs on Win8 will still require an x86-64 cpu.





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by palegolas View Post


    With benchmark tests finding the iPad2 roughly to equal the performance of the Powerbook G4, it's already more than half way there. Future laptops... will probably be iPad Pro's.



    Also, Apple is famous for not looking back, but instead looking forward. I'm sure they have great insight in the ARM vs x86 roadmaps, and their in house expertise too, for years to come.



    Powerbook G4 is ancient and VERY VERY SLOW next to the current laptops. At its best, newer laptops are 10X faster, and in some tasks probably even up to 20X or 30X.



    Making all software incompatible again and needing re-writes would be a good way to kill off much of your business and any competition you have with Windows PCs.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    I have my doubts about that when Apple seems to be unable to get GPU switching right.



    Isn't that the truth.. without gfxCardStatus I'd hate my Macbook Pro.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by chabig View Post


    I guess you could switch to Windows. Oh wait, they're moving to ARM too.



    They are not moving... and Win8 x86 software will not run on Win8 ARM OS... its not the same thing.
  • Reply 76 of 156
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mitchelljd View Post


    Though anything is possible with Apple, try do anything they can to squeeze higher profit margins.



    I?d expect all for profit companies to try to increase profits whenever feasible.



    Quote:

    From not including an extra chip to allow USB 3 on the sandybridge model Lines.



    So Apple is cheap for including an ?extra chip? for USB 3.0, yet they include an ?extra chip? for other HW and this gets ignored why or are we assume that Apple is still evil on the flip side of this argument? Damn those for profit companies and David Mitchell in drag? I mean Ayn Rand!



    Quote:

    To ignoring blu-ray intentionally to not have to pay for the patent or hardware costs (and because of iTunes movie store)



    Consumer notebooks outsell consumer desktops by 3 to 1(?) now and optical drives are power hungry, slow, noisy, have many moving parts and take up a great deal of space, and that?s before you consider the timeframe for which 9.5mm slot-loading Blu-ray drives have been available, much less their cost.



    Quote:

    Time and time again apple is showing it is more inclined to squeeze costs lower and charge as much as they can.



    Time and time again I ask how this is different from any other for profit company.



    Quote:

    So if apple can figure a way out to make their own CPU chips... It's plausible and they would keep more money from their hardware sales.



    Why is Apple ARM chips a bad idea for the consumer? Seems to me the iPad 2 is better for Apple being able to optimize their iOS devices.



    Quote:

    It would stink. But apple has a "think different" corporate agenda these days and it always isn't bent on what is best for consumers, instead it is based on higher profit margins and extra income streams.



    You?ll have to explain that because despite Apple outpacing the rest of the industry in smartphones, tablets and PCs, and even growing in desktop units sales compared to the industry, much less in AIOs, they are still updating their HW when, according to you, they could squeeze a higher profit margin by selling more of the same ol? kit. Yet they oddly updated their iMacs as if they are trying to stay competitive despite having no real AIO competition to speak of.
  • Reply 77 of 156
    karmadavekarmadave Posts: 322member
    Somebody is smoking some pretty strong stuff here. I see Apple increasing it's use of Intel manufactured processors. Moving to ARM, for the Macintosh, makes no sense for a number of reasons. Apple seems to be very invested in their own ARM design for iPhone, iPod, iPad, AppleTV, and whatever iOS devices they bring to market in the future. This report is bogus...
  • Reply 79 of 156
    tipootipoo Posts: 1,057member
    Let me be the twelfth person to call bogus. While ARM designs are getting more and more powerful, they won't even match a midrange Core 2 Duo in performance for years to come, and by then Intel would have some other crazy crap out.



    For a rough estimate

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Instruc...ons_per_second

    MIPS aren't perfect indicators of performance, but in relative terms here a A8 is many magnitudes slower than modern x86 processors.



    Even the trusty old Athlon FX from 2003 has over twice the raw MIPS of a dual core A9, to put it in perspective.
  • Reply 80 of 156
    dick applebaumdick applebaum Posts: 12,520member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by quinney View Post


    Better yet, how long would it take them if they started in 2008 (when Apple acquired PA semi)?



    AIR, the top PASC talent left Apple when they didn't get big stock options.



    I suspect that, for practical reasons, Intel will have to participate in creating an architecture that will subsume the x86.
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