Apple may shun Intel for custom A-series chips in new Macs within 1-2 years

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  • Reply 21 of 183
    kpluckkpluck Posts: 500member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post



    Can someone explain why this is considered "breaking" news? To me the only thing that would warrant the "breaking" title would be a press release from Apple. Speculation from a supply chain analyst isn't breaking news.

    The easy answer is "in for a penny, in for a pound." In other words, if you are going to publish link bait articles, you might as well play it up for all that it is worth.

     

    -kpluck

  • Reply 22 of 183

    I still find this hard to swallow.

     

    Apple had a hard enough time getting people to port stuff to the Mac when they were running the PPC architecture.  Only a few were even bothering at that point (Blizzard being one).  Everything else went through a 3rd party to be ported, and usually suffered as a result (Aspyr).

     

    By running on the x86 architecture, they made porting software easier (to a point) and more became available.  In addition to being able to dual-boot Windows, which allowed Mac users to BYOD to work in some cases.

     

    Moving off the x86 chip would bring back the window of fragmentation (PPC to Intel) and could limit the amount of effort developers would put into writing or porting software to the new chip.

     

    I know the iPhone/iPad use the A-Series, but you are not also trying to run full-blown desktop applications, games, etc.

     

    So I still think this is one of his 'longshot' rumors, so he can claim to be the first to see it coming *IF* it ever does and is a genius.  If it doesn't pan out, he is wrong again, and nothing will come of it.

  • Reply 23 of 183
    It's simply a matter of when, not if. The writing is 100% on the wall, the only amazing thing is that people refuse to see it.
  • Reply 24 of 183
    chadbagchadbag Posts: 1,076member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Macman1984 View Post



    The last line of this article is the killer for me: there is NO WAY an Ax (10,11, 12 whatever) could ever run a virtualized Windows. I need this for my work. Granted, most people don't.

     

    I am not sure why it couldn't.  PPC Macs ran virtualized Windows.   You probably wouldn't be playing games but you could virtualize the CPU and have 9 or so cores running it for decent performance I would guess.

  • Reply 25 of 183
    1. This has been rumored for years. Hence, no "breaking"
    2. There are lots of x86/x86_64 software. ARM chip can't provide support to these in the same way of PowerPC->x86 transition
    3. Are we sure Apple isn't just going to launch dual CPU structure? The BSD subsystem and App NAP could run on A_X, and any heavy lifting like the newly updated Final Cut Pro or Logic Pro could be handled by Intel CPU. And the whole thing could be in the same component to increase throughput.
    It will be great because now you can watch 20 hours of iTunes video with Intel chip napping, but still have the option to play games once you locate a power source.
  • Reply 26 of 183
    aplnubaplnub Posts: 2,584member
    We don't know what configuration they would use and just how fast that would translate relative to speeds today. 12 cores may get the job done. We just don't know. Two years is a long ways off in tech land and that could be three generations of A chips. Maybe they are developing a BA chip (Big A) that would shed all new light on this and ease speed concerns. 12 cores of A series chips would probably appease most average Mac users today.

    Push all that aside. What does this mean for virtual machines running Windows? I am afraid it means not going to run Windows of today. I see this being the biggest barrier to overcome for those with a foot still left in the Windows ecosystem (business). I use Windows sparingly but I have certain things that I have to use Windows to get the job done. I guess I would have a separate machine just for those tasks.

    In an office situation this would not fly at all. My office runs 100% Macs and about half virtualize Windows for accounting purposes.

    I would expect Apple to always explore alternative technologies (such as the CPU) for negotiations if nothing else.
  • Reply 27 of 183
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by kpluck View Post

     

    The easy answer is "in for a penny, in for a pound." In other words, if you are going to publish link bait articles, you might as well play it up for all that it is worth.

     

    -kpluck




    I fail to see how this is "link bait." It's a news story, and it's fairly covered as such, with zero sensationalism. I welcome criticism of our content and editorial policies, but a generic "link bait" complaint isn't contributing to the conversation here.

  • Reply 28 of 183
    I wonder how this would impact virtualization on the Mac? Aren't Parallels and VMWare Fusion predicated on the fact that the Mac has real Intel chips inside?
  • Reply 29 of 183
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 1,821member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by rob53 View Post

     

    "Apple has developed an iMac desktop with four or eight 64-bit quad-core CPUs..." Can Grand Central (that's still the name of Apple's multi-processor management software isn't it?) actually allow applications to use this many cores without adjustments made to the application software? 


     

    The point of Grand Central Dispatch was to take the complexity of task (thread) scheduling out of the developer's hands. Developers can simply create a queue and submit tasks to it... the system then handles which processing units to send the tasks to. This happens at run-time, so, yes, software will automatically see the benefits of having more cores, but only if their apps were designed to be multi-threaded (use GCD) in the first place.

  • Reply 30 of 183
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Misa View Post



    Not happening.



    Every time I see a story like this, all you need to do is look at the use-case, and it falls flat on it's face.

    1) Existing A-series and ARM based parts are still Pentium 3-era speeds on comparable workloads

    2) Intel's Atom parts are barely faster than Pentium 3-era parts

    3) Intel's onboard video has always been a joke, but mobile isn't much better.



    I could see Apple eventually producing a CPU/GPU that is more capable than Intel's weak mobile offerings, but Apple is unlikely to create an environment where they have to produce two versions of software for any extended period of time (see Motorola vs PPC, and PPC vs Intel.) Also look at how Microsoft fell on it's face with the Surface. Even if Apple produced a full version of OS X for an ARM based iMac or MacBook, the lack of being unable to just run every previous version of software will be felt and it will fail. Apple had an advantage earlier on when it switched from PPC to Intel because it was switching from a platform that only it was really using for desktops, so it could effectively push everyone off it. Not true with switching from x86 (look again at Microsoft, who also produced ARM, MIPS and ALPHA versions of Windows NT or CE at previous points in time.)



    It's extremely unlikely that Apple would produce a part that is anywhere performance parity of the Xeon series in the Mac Pro.



    There's also been some grumbling lately that OS X is getting too dumbed down that even people who normally like Apple are considering alternatives. Apple might be at a point in it's life where it might be more arrogant than Microsoft in making unnecessary changes to the operating system.

     

    Just because it doesn't make sense for Apple to change the processor in the Mac Pro doesn't mean they won't do it in a laptop. While you can argue they will loose compatibility with software that runs on the Mac, they could gain compatibility with everything in the App Store for iPhone/iPad. Apps on the Mac App Store would likely need minor tweaks and a rebuild with a newer version of Xcode if Apple does as it has before to ensure a smooth transition. Apple would have more control and could set this device apart from its peers even more. Just because Microsoft failed at something doesn't mean Apple will repeat their failure. Apple has proven that they take a holistic approach to such transitions and have only gotten better with each occurrence. 

  • Reply 31 of 183
    I have a need to run a Windows's only app on my computers. Hope this doesn't get phased out.
  • Reply 32 of 183
    ddawson100 wrote: »
    I can understand that these chips are going to become more powerful. I can't see Apple adding an option for you to choose which line of CPU to include in your Mac. That really isn't a decision that would occur during a typical computer purchase. I think most people are comfortable selecting based on speed and price but add even a few other factors and this gets complicated quickly. If you're standing in the store or looking at the customization page at apple.com you're really not going to have the tools to assess whether to include an A-series or Intel chip.

    Let me spin you a more successful sales pitch: You walk into an Apple store and ask to see a laptop. The genius asks you what are you using currently, and you say an iPhone and iPad. He then asks you if you'd like to use all your current programs on your new laptop, or do you want Intel compatibility at the cost of needing new software for your new purchase. When you learn that the A-series laptop also costs less and runs longer on a single charge, what's going to stop you from making a quick decision?

    Meanwhile Apple just stopped any thoughts by you of comparing an Apple Intel-based laptop to whatever else is out there because you want the A-series Laptop. At checkout, you are asked if you'd like to buy an Apple Watch with all the money you just saved on HW and SW.

    * The A-series hardware will become faster, yes... but don't forget Apple is speeding up iOS with Metal and Swift in such a way as to get much more performance without upgrading the processor or taking a battery hit... the combo is where the future lies when Apple controls the the chips and the iOS and the programming that makes it possible for the user-designed software to run like low-level-code speeds...
  • Reply 33 of 183
    Horrible story and fantasy on prediction. Project Zen by AMD arrives at the precise exact time with performance of an SoC APU that would dwarf these chips, at half the cost of Intel.
  • Reply 34 of 183
    dotcomcto wrote: »
    I wonder how this would impact virtualization on the Mac? Aren't Parallels and VMWare Fusion predicated on the fact that the Mac has real Intel chips inside?


    Virtualization was successfully done years before Apple switched to an Intel CPU. Fortunately in the last few years Windows has become a less important standard. In addition, Apple's developer kit makes rolling-your-own app much easier for small businesses to turn out.
  • Reply 35 of 183
    I think most of the comments miss a point that may well be the most important point in the article.

    The article do not talk about moving the Mac line to Arm, but talk about the introduction of a low end
    Mac (surely portable) based on a future Ax Arm chip; this is, strategically and technically, something very different,
    and imho, a very interesting news, if confirmed.

    Technically, "easily possible"; software wise, modern software is not closely tied to a platform as old time software, and the lower OS levels are
    already largely multiplaform; i would be very, very surprised to discover that Apple do *not* have Mac OS X running on other architectures (Power,
    Arm, whatever) in the labs. Hardware wise, current chip have a very different thermal envelope than a desktop chip; there is probably quite a lot computing
    power that can be squeezed out of the Ax architecture in the next few years. But do not count in a high number of cores, like 32 or 64; this works very well in a server
    environment, it doesn't in a desktop application, unless the application has been rewritten to work on massive parallel machine; and it is not necessarily
    easy. But a 4/8 core machine could be the sweet spot. Also, do not hope in virtualised windows with competitive performance; current virtual environments do
    not emulate the processor, that's why with some exceptions running Windows from BootCamp or Fusion/Paraller do not imply huge differences in performance.

    Taken out the technical part, then what would be the role of such a machine ? It would probably be a new product category,
    with some very specific characteristic (like the rumored 12 inch machine) for a relatively vertical market (mobility). This would give the market
    the time to produce fat binary applications running on Intel and Arm. And then possibly migrate ARM toward the higher part
    of the product line, and so to other use cases, leaving the high end for big Intels. Or may be not. Beat me, i am not an analyst :->

    Maurizio
  • Reply 36 of 183
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post

     
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by ombra2105 View Post



    Anything that comes out of the mouth of Ming-Chi Kuo (Analyst) is considered breaking news by AppleInsider, and in fairness, he is correct quite often.




    He is correct quite often? What's your source for that? How often is he correct on non-obvious things?

    You really expect someone to know what your definition of "non-obvious" is?

     

    Why don't you give us the list?

  • Reply 37 of 183
    Horrible story and fantasy on prediction. Project Zen by AMD arrives at the precise exact time with performance of an SoC APU that would dwarf these chips, at half the cost of Intel.

    ...and yet ADM is struggling to remain relevant to OEMs... Last I heard the engineers were fleeing the company. Maybe that's changed; I just don't follow them any more.
  • Reply 38 of 183
    Great news that Apple might be considering a change from Intel. However, it will be essential to keep x86_64 code compatibility otherwise no more running Windows from the Mac and more importantly, having to recompile/rewrite applications for ARM. It might also kill a lot of Hackintosh efforts which would be a possible problem (not for Apple obviously).
  • Reply 39 of 183
    Quote:



    Originally Posted by nhughes View Post

     



    I fail to see how this is "link bait." It's a news story, and it's fairly covered as such, with zero sensationalism. I welcome criticism of our content and editorial policies, but a generic "link bait" complaint isn't contributing to the conversation here.


     

    The issue for me is that this is "news" about the analyst -- they just sent out a new research note -- but simply "speculation" about Apple. If your article was intended to be about the analyst, then "Breaking" (assumed short for "Breaking News") would be appropriate. If the article is about Apple, which to me it clearly is, then it should be labelled as "Speculation", not "Breaking News".

  • Reply 40 of 183
    pmzpmz Posts: 3,433member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by WestCoastStar View Post



    Great news that Apple might be considering a change from Intel. However, it will be essential to keep x86_64 code compatibility otherwise no more running Windows from the Mac and more importantly, having to recompile/rewrite applications for ARM. It might also kill a lot of Hackintosh efforts which would be a possible problem (not for Apple obviously).



    I'm sure a lot of what is taking so long for them to make this move has to do with compatibility.

     

    Its one thing for OS X apps to have been recompiled. Its another to kill Windows compatibility. As much as I love OS X, Boot Camp is extremely important to me.

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