Intel also hearing rumors Apple testing MacBooks based on own A-series chip

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  • Reply 101 of 130
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    ARM isn't going to support i86 apps through emulation.



    At least not with and anything resembling reasonable performance.



    My implication would be an updated SDK that would allow for native compiling, not emulation. They did pretty well with the PPC/Intel transition and with the App Store could probably do even better.
  • Reply 102 of 130
    mariomario Posts: 346member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sda3 View Post


    While this would undoubtably increase the efficiency of the macbook computers it would also alienate millions of us that still on a rare occasion have to run windows. I probably only spend about 10% of my time using windows but there are still things that I have to have it for. If apple went to a proprietary chip myself, and I am sure millions of others would be stuck going back to windows only PCs.



    Isn't Microsoft also working on adding support for ARM CPU architecture in Windows 8 (which is essentially what Apple's A series CPUs are). So you perhaps still could install Windows on Mac.



    However, I'm more concerned about performance. I think ARM is fine for small mobile devices, but ARM would have a tough time competing with Intel Core i7 and newer processors on performance. Intel would shred it every time in any benchmark except power consumption .
  • Reply 103 of 130
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,825member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dagamer34 View Post


    Assuming a program doesn't have any assembly code, most programs should able to compile for any instruction set without a lot of work. Microsoft Office has already shown to be running on ARM and that's the world's premier productivity suite.



    The issue isn't how hard is it to compile for ARM but will businesses bother updating. I'm sure they'll see the future when they realize that low power, high performance computing is the future.



    The problem is most end users don't have source code. The architecture isn't a huge problem from the developers perspective other than the limitation of 32 bit hardware. The problem is that in business legacy code is at times impossible to replace and the source code just isn't there even if you wanted to rebuild it.



    I actually think you will see Microsoft Office start to fall from grace. It is way over priced for what it is and has become bloated. The best possible approach for Apple would be to delver productivity software tailored for the ARM processors performance which is relatively crappy compared to the i86 line. This is what they in effect have done with the iPad and iPhone. It might at times force people to compromise, as tailored software can't support some of the more advanced features in office suites.



    It isn't a matter of bothering in many cases it is the ability to do so at all that is the problem. Heck I work on machinery every day where to get access to the various controller modules you need to run DOS based software. Sure we run that in Windows but this highlights just how far back legacy support has to go.
  • Reply 104 of 130
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mytdave View Post


    There are some unmistakable inherent issues with transitioning away from x86 CPUs and moving to ARM.



    First in line is the fact that all Mac software would have to be, at a minimum, recompiled, if not rewritten. We've gone through this pain before, and the transition still isn't fully complete. Asking developers to do it again this soon might just be a bit too much.



    Second is that fact that not all Macs sold are running MacOS. My organization has 6 Macs, only 2 of which are running MacOS. One is running Linux, and the others are running Windows. Whether Apple understands that millions of Macs sold today end up running an OS other than MacOS is unknown. If they're seriously considering a CPU switch, then they might not be seeing this reality. Compatibility is one of the best selling points for Mac computers now. Going back to the days of incompatible platforms would be a big mistake.



    Finally, current ARM processors are extremely efficient, but not as powerful as Intel CPUs (yet). While they consume far less power, it's not always about having the smallest gadget or the longest battery life. Occasionally (all the time) people have to generate info, not just consume it. No current or even near-future ARM chip is going to out-perform a quad-core Intel i7. The PC isn't quite dead yet, regardless of the punditry.



    Anyone whinning about windows and thier mac should be given a refund and a coupon for Dell and then thrown out of the apple store.pc are dirt cheap.go buy one.
  • Reply 105 of 130
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mario View Post


    Isn't Microsoft also working on adding support for ARM CPU architecture in Windows 8 (which is essentially what Apple's A series CPUs are). So you perhaps still could install Windows on Mac.



    However, I'm more concerned about performance. I think ARM is fine for small mobile devices, but ARM would have a tough time competing with Intel Core i7 and newer processors on performance. Intel would shred it every time in any benchmark except power consumption .



    Most people dont need that bs. Ios desktop, laptops etc is the way to go.
  • Reply 106 of 130
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,825member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by microtaint View Post


    Yeah like the huge response of everyone buying apple computers because they contained some quality hardware (I.E. iNTEL) Yeah so, take intel out of the equation, and boom there goes the company, and the stock price. It's not rubbish, its the way it is. Watch and see.



    In other words these won't be Mac Machines per say. Macs will be retained for professional use or people with simply higher performance expectations. I suspect that these machines will represent a completely different approach to hardware and user software. Sort of like iOS amplified.



    So yeah you are right, Apple can't abandon i86 without totally screwing themselves. They could however come out with a completely different line up of hardware that focuses on the needs of a different class of user. Apple has been fairly smart these days so I don't suspect that they have no plans to drop i86 anytime soon. In fact I would suggest that they might actually come out with additional i86 products.



    Frankly I can and have imagined all sorts of iOS device that would be strong sellers (in my mind). I'm certain the engineers at Apple have even more interesting ideas floating about. I know people die every time I say this but a Touch or even an iPad with slide out keyboard would be very welcomed in some circles. A true E-Book reader wouldn't be bad either. Then we can get into automobile automation with an iOS computer embedded in my next F150. Apple could also consider a clam shell that rotates into a table or a screen and keyboard. The list can go on and on. The point is Apple doesn't have to drop the i86 line up at all, there is so many possibilities for iOS devices that they don't have too.



    Dave
  • Reply 107 of 130
    dabedabe Posts: 99member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleLover2 View Post


    Does this guy really talk like that? What sort of affectation causes this manner of speech?



    Oh, come on! There's nothing wrong with that manner of speech. It's plain English! Don't be such a stick in the mud.
  • Reply 108 of 130
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sda3 View Post


    While this would undoubtably increase the efficiency of the macbook computers it would also alienate millions of us that still on a rare occasion have to run windows. I probably only spend about 10% of my time using windows but there are still things that I have to have it for. If apple went to a proprietary chip myself, and I am sure millions of others would be stuck going back to windows only PCs.



    Personally, I don't think it would be a smart move for Apple at this point. Everything noted in the article is exactly what alienated Apple for so many years. What did Jobs do when he came back after being fired? He pushed the move to x86. I know the ARM chips looks promising with the explosion of iOS devices but I don't expect anything in the ARM mix to be able to compete with the GPUs we see in most of the Macs. Could an A6 play 1080p content on a Mac? Yes. Can it do anything respectable with a modern desktop game? Not likely. The only systems the ARM chips make sense for may be the MacBook Airs. If the Pro line is maintained, IMO, it'd be product suicide to try and shoehorn power users into using ARM for high end purposes. Needless to say, I can't see the ARM chips even in the iMac lines and certainly not the Mac Pros. Then again, leave it to Apple to prove me/us wrong.



    That said, Microsoft is pushing for some degree of convergence with ARM as well with Windows 8 (W8) given the heavy and growing presence of tablets (iPads). I'm not stoked about what I've seen with W8 (Double entendre: Wait, it'll be here soon! and Weight, as in, it may be bloated. =P ) but if this is the path Apple chooses I'm guessing the loophole for windows apps will be W8. Granted it won't be legacy support but it will allow a "bootcamp" portal to the Windows world. I have no idea offhand how ARM may function in trying to do translation/rosetta for x86 apps whether they're Windows or Apple. I do recall that PPC was dog slow even on high end Windows systems running Apple virtual machines before the x86 switch.
  • Reply 109 of 130
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by benanderson89 View Post


    I don't see any Mac's using ARM CPUs at all until they become far more powerful. Isn't there a report floating around that the A5 iPad2 performs as well as a PowerBook G4? Last Time I checked, even the 1.3GHz Core2Duo CULV in my Toshiba Satellite T130 performs better than a G4 CPU.



    Maybe it will be like the GPU in the MacBook Pros - ARM CPUs for the lower power tasks - x86 kicks in when power is needed.



    I'm sure Apple's been experimenting with this for some time but I wouldn't expect anything until at least Cortex-A15-based chips with multiple cores. I think they will have 40-bit memory addressing, and up to 4 cores and 2.5GHz. And that's an at least so I don't expect anyone to be holding their breath for such a Mac.



    Then again, they are now rumoured to be introducing a new class of Mac and have stopped selling the low-end MacBook which was their cheapest 13" 'PC'. Maybe they do have plans for an $800 notebook that could still give them good profit margins in 2012. The Cortex-A15 could be that chip.
  • Reply 110 of 130
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,825member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by siromega View Post


    Yes, Windows 8 will have an ARM port. However not much has been said of the capabilities of said ARM port and how the whole MS App Store thing will work out. And don't expect to do any heavy lifting - I'm not expecting AutoCAD compiled for ARM anytime soon.



    That is for sure. However a decent CAD program designed specifically for the device is possible.

    Quote:

    The question I have is would an A5/A6 chip have any form of virtualization hardware? e.g. VMWare Fusion for ARM would allow me to run Windows 8 in a VM on an ARM Mac. Also, ARM chips are still 32bit. They wont be 64bit for a while (2015) so its a long way off until Apple would be able to replace the entire lineup.



    A VM is not an instruction set emulator. So that only goes part way to running Windows on one of these devices. I'm assuming here that any Windows support without i86 support is useless.



    The whole 64 bit thing is very important. This is why I think any ARM hardware would be targeted at the low end market and would never be marketed as a Mac. For many uses 32 bit is all you need. However I honestly believe that is a short term thing.

    Quote:



    Back to the main topic at hand, if Apple does release an ARM MacBook, I'd expect it to be a lot lower priced - $800 or so because they don't have to include a $250 Intel CPU and $50 northbridge, rather a $50 ARM SoC will suffice. The BOM would go from $800 (for a 13" MBA) down to $550, plus a 33% margin is $825.



    I think we would be talking much lower than that. Remember Apple TV is $99. If it was me I'd shoot for the less than $500 market.

    Quote:

    And Apple might not even take them mass market at first, perhaps just open them to K12 institutions (primarily grade schools) and work with specific developers to recompile their apps for ARM.



    Actually that is a very good idea. As long as the OS is open enough to allow easy configuration and management it would fly into education. The main trick is to have enough compatibility with either iOS or Mac OS/X that the systems would remain familiar to current personnel. If I was in education I would prefer a Mac OS/X based machine so that all the good open tools could be used to support the machines.
  • Reply 111 of 130
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,825member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by iVlad View Post


    Amusing. You really think that Apple's success is based on Intel chips and Bootcamp? You couldn't be more wrong. You really think that people buy macs just because they can run Windows on it? Not a chance. Apple's success is ability to overtake and shake markets. This move would do the same to Intel as Apple can become a competitor to Intel.



    If anything Apple is the safest place to invest money, even with such rumors.



    The ability to run Linux or Windows in a VM is a huge advantage of the Intel Macs.
  • Reply 112 of 130
    bitemymacbitemymac Posts: 1,147member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    An Intel executive said this week it would be foolish to ignore reports that Apple is considering switching some of its Macs away from Intel's mainstream processors and towards its own A-series of mobile chips because it's been hearing the same rumors.



    Asked about ARM and Apple's potential use of its A series of ARM processors in future MacBooks, Greg Welch, director of Intel's Ultrabook group, told CNet News.com that the chip maker is taking the threat seriously, and hopes to continue to innovate its way into Apple's product portfolio.



    "We hear the same rumors and it would be remiss of us to be dismissive," he said. "We endeavor to innovate so they'll continue to look to us as a supplier."



    The comment, which came at the end of a Q&A session on Intel's fledgeling Ultrabook slim notebook initiative, appears to lend support to claims from a few months ago that Apple built a test Thunderbolt MacBook Air around the same A5 chip found in the iPad 2 and found that the system performed "better than expected."



    For Apple, a move away from generally-available, off-the-shelf CPUs and towards its own breed of proprietary designs would not only afford it more control over product release schedules and its intellectual property, but it would also pave the way for the Mac maker to introduce new patent-protected features on its Mac line that rivals would have trouble reproducing for their own designs.



    Similarly, the company wouldn't need to compete with competitors for its supply of processors and would have more flexibility to fine-tune battery and overall performance, delivering even more of the features to the Mac line that have seen its iOS devices top the ranks of consumer satisfaction surveys for years.







    Through its acquisitions of Intrinsity and P.A. Semi, Apple last year introduced the its first ARM-based A-series chip -- the A4 -- inside its iPad and iPhone 4. It then rapidly followed up earlier this year with the iPad 2's A5-chip, which features dual-core graphics and processor cores. An A6 chip expected to power the iPad 3 in early 2012 has just entered trial production, though no details on its design have yet to surface.



    Perhaps, Apple is developing just an iPad with flip down keyboard.



    Everything hand-held these days are person computing devices.
  • Reply 113 of 130
    aquaticaquatic Posts: 5,602member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sda3 View Post


    If only ESRI would release some OSX software then I could



    I do Arc, too. It would be great if they made a Mac ArcGIS. You know, they used to have it on OS 9! It would also be nice if their software wasn't a pile of crap in terms of user interface. I can't believe we still have to "connect" to folder and only can edit things in one folder. Hey, have you used Arc 10 yet sda? I have the latest version w/ patches on Win 7 on a vanilla PC and it crashes all the time. And no multiple attribute windows.
  • Reply 114 of 130
    nikon133nikon133 Posts: 2,600member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by FastLaneJB View Post


    You know Windows 8 will have an ARM version. I know a lot of apps won't run at least to start off with but clearly if it takes off in the Windows world Apple must be ready as well. ARM chips might not be as fast but they are probably fast enough for browsing, writing documents, email, etc. They'll have the advantage of better battery life. So Apple cannot afford for MS laptops to have that kind of advantage over them.



    Also mean bootcamp can still hang around.



    Arm version of Windows 8 will be as close to desktop version as iOS is close to OSX.



    I think target here will be to bring phones, tablets and "big boys" closer together, in terms of data sharing/compatibility and services, plus familiar GUI across the whole product line... of course MS will have their productivity software on both platforms (maybe some others), but Apple already has Pages etc. on iOS and OSX anyway.



    I'm not expecting to see ARM on Windows laptops/desktops, again, unless there is something to compete with Google Chrome netbooks. But mainstream will remain Intel architecture. Don't forget thar burden of legacy support is much harder on MS than it is on Apple.
  • Reply 115 of 130
    kpomkpom Posts: 617member
    Maybe an ARM device is this "totally new Mac" that was the subject of the other rumor today?



    Anyway, it makes perfect sense to me that Apple would at least consider ARM. Steve Jobs said back in 2006 that they had been testing OS X on Intel since the day OS X came out. That means that they spent 5 years looking at it before making the switch, and did so when it made sense (when IBM was unable to deliver a lower voltage, cooler running version of its latest chips). Apple wasn't ready for Intel in 2001, nor was Intel ready with appropriate chips. But in 2006 when they were, Apple was ready to make the move. It might not be until 2016 or even later when ARM chips are capable of running PC/Mac software, but Apple ought to be ready for it.



    At the same time, Intel has committed to reducing the power consumption of its newer chips. Standard voltage Haswell chips (in 2013 or 2014) supposedly will have the same power consumption as today's ULV Sandy Bridge chips. Don't think that would have happened had Apple not given Intel an ultimatum, and been credible while giving it. Apple, unlike Dell, HP, Acer, or any other large manufacturer has changed processor architectures not just once, but twice in the last 17 years. And they are a very influential manufacturer. Winning Apple as a customer was a major coup, and losing them would be a big blow.
  • Reply 116 of 130
    kpomkpom Posts: 617member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Twelve View Post


    1. The only thing at risk is the Mac Pro, since its form of PCI-E is somewhat architecture dependent. Thunderbolt is not.



    5. Intel's UltraBook initiative was precisely the wrong thing to do if they want to keep Apple as a customer. Apple can't be scared into line. However, they can be scared into ensuring they have alternatives.



    Intel owns the rights to Thunderbolt, so there could be licensing issues in switching to ARM.



    As for point 5, I don't think that Intel is trying to "scare" Apple with the Ultrabook program. Rather, what they are trying to do is build economies of scale. While Apple is big enough and influential enough that losing them would be a big deal, they aren't big enough to buy all those low-voltage processors that Intel will be developing over the next two years. By promoting the Ultrabook, Intel is attempting to expand the market for the ULV Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge chips beyond Apple (who is the most prominent customer so far).



    Take a look at the big PC manufacturers, and you'll see that today they using mostly the standard voltage or mid-range "low" voltage 25-35W chips (the same ones Apple uses in the MacBook Pros) throughout their lines. Apple selected the 17W chips not only for the 11" model but also the 13" Air. With the Ultrabook, Intel is getting others to commit to using the chips, too, which allows them to spread the development costs over a larger customer base.



    Besides, the success of the 2010 MacBook Air and now the 2011 MacBook Air would have prompted some competition, anyway. Before the late 2010 model, the Air occupied the same ultraportable niche that premium/luxury products like the Sony Vaio line did, which was small enough for the rest of the industry to ignore. When last year's MacBook Air shot up the sales charts, even with an ancient processor, it made the industry take notice. Intel is just speeding the process along a bit.
  • Reply 117 of 130
    Apple has processor designers.

    Apple is a investor and licensor of PowerVR Graphics technologies

    They merge it all into iPad 1/2 which is hitting at least Playstation 2 graphics.

    But ridiculously good battery life.

    But doesn't have a keyboard.



    People complain about no full desktop, but...



    Lion is so...touchy. Everything from dock to mission control to launchpad just screams, "TOUCH ME!"



    Roadmap...
  • Reply 118 of 130
    The comment, which came at the end of a Q&A session on Intel's fledgeling Ultrabook slim notebook initiative, appears to lend support to claims from a few months ago that Apple built a test Thunderbolt MacBook Air around the same A5 chip found in the iPad 2 and found that the system performed "better than expected."



    For Apple, a move away from generally-available, off-the-shelf CPUs and towards its own breed of proprietary designs would not only afford it more control over product release schedules and its intellectual property, but it would also pave the way for the Mac maker to introduce new patent-protected features on its Mac line that rivals would have trouble reproducing for their own designs.
  • Reply 119 of 130
    As for point 5, I don't think that Intel is trying to "scare" Apple with the Ultrabook program. Rather, what they are trying to do is build economies of scale. While Apple is big enough and influential enough that losing them would be a big deal, they aren't big enough to buy all those low-voltage processors that Intel will be developing over the next two years. By promoting the Ultrabook, Intel is attempting to expand the market for the ULV Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge chips beyond Apple (who is the most prominent customer so far).



    Take a look at the big PC manufacturers, and you'll see that today they using mostly the standard voltage or mid-range "low" voltage 25-35W chips (the same ones Apple uses in the MacBook Pros) throughout their lines. Apple selected the 17W chips not only for the 11" model but also the 13" Air. With the Ultrabook, Intel is getting others to commit to using the chips, too, which allows them to spread the development costs over a larger customer base.
  • Reply 120 of 130
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,825member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


    No, it doesn't.



    There's still AMD. Granted, there would be some heat/performance tradeoffs, but Apple could have x86 compatibility without using Intel chips.



    AMDs latest Fusion chips actually run cooler than Intels running similar graphics intensive loads. Sometimes as much as 20 watts cooler. This due to the much better GPU and a concerted effort by AMD to lower power. Yes you give up a little in the way of CPU power but for many not a significant amount.



    The flip side is that like all companies AMD stresses their strength but Intels weakness with GPUs is well known.
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