Apple's iPad Pro & powerful A9X CPU pose threat to Intel, Cowen says

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  • Reply 121 of 155
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by CanukStorm View Post

     

    "This could easily be achieved on Mac OS X to make it a streamlined notebook or desktop OS while keeping the heart of the "lightweight pickup truck" intact."

     

    What would be the market for such a product? Couldn't the iPad Pro fill the void for someone looking at such a product?  Tim Cook did say "iPad is the clearest expression of our vision of the future of personal computing".  Having a "streamlined Mac" would be back tracking, wouldn't it?




    There's nothing wrong with giving your customer choices.  If a customer narrows their decision down to iPad Pro or MacBook 12", Apple wins either way they go.

  • Reply 122 of 155
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member

    I love computers. I program them, game on them, rent iTunes movies, browse the web and read email. And the iPad is only good for the last two of those things. The touch screen is not great for gaming, and I can't write my own programs on it, and the 27" Mac monitor is better for movies than the iPad. I do have an iPad but mainly use it for reading iBooks, and the Maps app which for some reason is way more fun with a touch interface. But even Safari is better on the Mac, honestly just because 16GB of RAM.

     

    The A9 however is looking super-impressive, and it's amazing that they caught up to Intel in such a short timeframe, and if Apple transitioned the Mac to A-series processors I would support them, by buying a first generation Ax Mac, even if half my apps stopped working or ran under emulation. However I don't think they will do that, they will just keep upping the hardware that iOS has, and porting Mac OS features to iOS, until it eventually replaces the Mac.

  • Reply 123 of 155
    The real point is: the A9, being an mobile processor, is designed under a set of different constraints than those you have for a desktop processor.

    The fact that the A9 compete with Intel processors designed under the same set of mobile constraints may suggest that an Apple ARM processor designed to be a desktop processor could
    be competitive with an Intel Desktop processor.

    Then, the migration would be worth only if the advantages in terms of absolute performance could be substantial, i am afraid.

    Bappo
  • Reply 124 of 155
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by ascii View Post

     

    The A9 however is looking super-impressive, and it's amazing that they caught up to Intel in such a short timeframe, and if Apple transitioned the Mac to A-series processors I would support them, by buying a first generation Ax Mac, even if half my apps stopped working or ran under emulation. However I don't think they will do that, they will just keep upping the hardware that iOS has, and porting Mac OS features to iOS, until it eventually replaces the Mac.


    I'm also not convinced we'll see an ARM based Mac. I expect, like you, that what we'll see is more functionality making its way into iOS such that at some point we'll have an iDevice with the smart connector hooked up to a docking station which is connected to a monitor(s), keyboard and either the iDevice or a small touchpad will allow non-touch interfacing to iOS (just like the tvOS remote does today). In that scenario, with an even beefier A-series chip, more RAM and more sophisticated iOS, what would the difference be between an ARM based MacBook and an iDevice that will do all those things and more, including being a flexible portable tablet and/or phone?

     

    Apple will want to keep OS X on Intel for high end computing needs on their MacPro, iMacs and MacBook Pros I would imagine, but will be quite happy to sell lots of iDevices that perform many or much of what those high end devices perform in smaller more flexible packages.

  • Reply 125 of 155
    knowitallknowitall Posts: 1,290member
    As I said earlier, one of the biggest advantages for the end user is the price, it will be $300 cheaper (A processor being $30, intel way over $300), so a $1000 MacBook will be $700 or so, that's a big difference.
    Apple will have a lot less problems and effort in developing drivers for the GPU and do on, it will also reduce the number of bugs significantly because they dont have to rely on others for it.
    It's like the baseband processor, I assume this is the biggest cause of problems for Apple right now because Apple has to rely on Qualcomm, Intel for the hardware and software.
    And I know the software is one big bug hole (not to mention the communication problems with engineers etc.) and the hardware is also unreliable (I know because several baseband chips crapped out on several iPhones) and it is widely known that Apple wants its own baseband chip.
    Apple is very good at developing software and hardware and a single platform will enhance the reliability and reduce the cost of the end product.
    Emulating windows is a thing of the past, it will die out like the floppy disk and people can get used to it in the transition period.
  • Reply 126 of 155
    tmaytmay Posts: 3,670member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by alandail View Post

     



    The A9X chip didn't exist when the MacBook was released.  A MacBook would need a variant of the A9X with 8 gigs of RAM instead of 4.  If they could knock 20% off of the price, have better performance, maintain their margins, and sell 40% more MacBooks, that's a clear win.


    The problem with placing an A9X into a Mac Book form factor as a way of saving money, is that it complicates two product lines, two OS's and increases support issues; intangibles that are costly and that are potential marketing problems.

     

    In the first case, you could create a version of OS X that has no x86 compatibility, so no emulation required, but then you have bifurcated the product line just to save money so you can create a lower price point for a sales volume that probably isn't going to be a substantial revenue generator anyway.

     

    In the second case, you only have to create some added API's for iOS to fix text input, add a keyboard accessory with an integrated trackpad, and depend on third parties to flesh out the applications. Pretty much the path the you would expect from Apple for the iPad Pro and future iPad's anyway.

     

    In case three, you integrate the above into a Mac Book form factor with the three pin connector, have Tim Cook state "we were only kidding about hybrid's sucking" and off you go.

     

    In my mind, there is no need for an A series processor for the Mac, and no need for a Mac tablet. The worst case is both Apple and MS are equally screwed with Intel's roadmap.

  • Reply 127 of 155
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by knowitall View Post



    As I said earlier, one of the biggest advantages for the end user is the price, it will be $300 cheaper (A processor being $30, intel way over $300), so a $1000 MacBook will be $700 or so, that's a big difference.

    Apple will have a lot less problems and effort in developing drivers for the GPU and do on, it will also reduce the number of bugs significantly because they dont have to rely on others for it.

    It's like the baseband processor, I assume this is the biggest cause of problems for Apple right now because Apple has to rely on Qualcomm, Intel for the hardware and software.

    And I know the software is one big bug hole (not to mention the communication problems with engineers etc.) and the hardware is also unreliable (I know because several baseband chips crapped out on several iPhones) and it is widely known that Apple wants its own baseband chip.

    Apple is very good at developing software and hardware and a single platform will enhance the reliability and reduce the cost of the end product.

    Emulating windows is a thing of the past, it will die out like the floppy disk and people can get used to it in the transition period.

     

    I would of course be one of those that would not be able to buy a Macbook for development (primary machine) without a reasonable vm to run x86 stuff.  It would also impact quite a few enterprise developers as well.... and I don't even run Windows.  I have two VMs that I use one is for Fedora 23 / Oracle Enterprise database, the second is SUSE with DB2.  Then you have developers that primarily use Macs but still need to do stuff in development for the PCs that are deployed (Windows development, browser testing for Windows etc.).   

     

    The savings - though hard to estimate since we are not privy to Intel/Apple negotiations would probably be closer to $200 (core-m is $291 tray price - likely not Apple's price).  

     

    Apple could already develop a mobile GPU (with licensed technology) while retaining the Intel processor without worrying about issues such as buggering people that do need x86 environment support.... in fact just doing that would give them more flexibility.  Apple is no doubtedly waiting for the Skylake processors that have the high end graphics (Iris / Iris Pro).  If they developed their own onboard graphics processing they would be free to chose Intel processors without onboard graphics (more cores; I would estimate the graphics part of the Intel chips takes up 60%+ of the chip).  Just being able to demonstrate OSX running on a prototype ARM based processor gives them negotiating power for bulk orders and better prices.  

  • Reply 128 of 155
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Ireland View Post



    Does anyone think the next MacBooks may switch to Apple processors? And if they did how much of a cost savings could Apple transfer to potential buyers over the current MacBook 1 model? And if there is an in-house OS X ARM variant (very likely given past history) how much battery life could an ARM MacBook 1 get? Anyone?



    Not for a while. The A-series processors are catching up with Intel's ultra-mobiles but you can't just run x64 applications on an ARM platform, you'd need to dual-compile applications for x64 and ARM plus you would need an x64 emulator for non-native apps. Emulation adds a significant chunk of overhead: I remember how much better PPC software ran on a G5 than on much later, faster Core2Duo machines through Rosetta. If you're going to run emulators you need to not just match or marginally beat the chip you're emulating, you need to blow it out the water, and the A-series don't do that to even the ultra-mobile variants of current Intel chips. For now.

     

    What strikes me as possible in the near future is Iris graphics being dropped in favour of a discrete Apple GPU which could be derived from an A-series application processor. By binning from ones where one of the ARM cores or the secure enclave or the M-coprocessor sections had failed manufacturing tests, they could probably source enough single-ARM-core-but-fully-functional-graphics A-series chips to go in every MB and MBA they produce for more-or-less free. And given Metal is already on OSX, there's not a huge amount of overhead involved, either.

     

    Disclosure: holding AAPL, INTC, ARM.L and IMG.L

  • Reply 129 of 155
    Could be the next big thing we'll see is the smart connector first being made available in other iDevices, which could open the door for more desktop functionality (e.g. connectivity to external displays or touchpads, like tvOS supports, keyboards, power, etc.). I agree, though, that these things take time, but I'll bet they've got a good roadmap that brings iOS and associated devices closer in line with what users do "at a desktop." Seems the chips are largely there, now it's just the OS and Apps that need to catch up.

    Personally, I'd like to see 'smart connector' music keyboards. Could eliminate those horrendous MIDI connectors finally.
  • Reply 130 of 155
    19831983 Posts: 1,165member
    Almost anything is better than a bloody Core M! That the A9X beats it doesn't surprise me. It'll struggle against anything higher up the Intel range though. As for all this talk about the iPad Pro replacing laptops, that ain't going to happen. Not for the foreseeable future anyway. I'm considering one mainly as a magazine replacement. No more schlepping around heavy paper magazines everywhere! All the hobbyist mags I read have an iPad version. Haven't taken the plunge so far because current iPad screens are not large enough to do them justice. The iPad Pro might change that.
  • Reply 131 of 155
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by williamlondon View Post

     

    I'm also not convinced we'll see an ARM based Mac. I expect, like you, that what we'll see is more functionality making its way into iOS such that at some point we'll have an iDevice with the smart connector hooked up to a docking station which is connected to a monitor(s), keyboard and either the iDevice or a small touchpad will allow non-touch interfacing to iOS (just like the tvOS remote does today). In that scenario, with an even beefier A-series chip, more RAM and more sophisticated iOS, what would the difference be between an ARM based MacBook and an iDevice that will do all those things and more, including being a flexible portable tablet and/or phone?

     

    Apple will want to keep OS X on Intel for high end computing needs on their MacPro, iMacs and MacBook Pros I would imagine, but will be quite happy to sell lots of iDevices that perform many or much of what those high end devices perform in smaller more flexible packages.


    You're referring to something like this?

     

    http://semiaccurate.com/2015/11/03/continuum-is-microsofts-alternative-to-the-pc/

     

    Then I completely agree.  This is a feature that would be great on iOS devices / mass market users.  We always hear mobile first or mobile only but when I'm at home, I enjoy the comfort of a big screen.

  • Reply 132 of 155
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by tmay View Post

     

    The problem with placing an A9X into a Mac Book form factor as a way of saving money, is that it complicates two product lines, two OS's and increases support issues; intangibles that are costly and that are potential marketing problems.

     

    In the first case, you could create a version of OS X that has no x86 compatibility, so no emulation required, but then you have bifurcated the product line just to save money so you can create a lower price point for a sales volume that probably isn't going to be a substantial revenue generator anyway.

     

    In the second case, you only have to create some added API's for iOS to fix text input, add a keyboard accessory with an integrated trackpad, and depend on third parties to flesh out the applications. Pretty much the path the you would expect from Apple for the iPad Pro and future iPad's anyway.

     

    In case three, you integrate the above into a Mac Book form factor with the three pin connector, have Tim Cook state "we were only kidding about hybrid's sucking" and off you go.

     

    In my mind, there is no need for an A series processor for the Mac, and no need for a Mac tablet. The worst case is both Apple and MS are equally screwed with Intel's roadmap.


    "In the second case, you only have to create some added API's for iOS to fix text input, add a keyboard accessory with an integrated trackpad, and depend on third parties to flesh out the applications. Pretty much the path the you would expect from Apple for the iPad Pro and future iPad's anyway."

     

    This.

  • Reply 133 of 155
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by CanukStorm View Post

     

    You're referring to something like this?

     

    http://semiaccurate.com/2015/11/03/continuum-is-microsofts-alternative-to-the-pc/

     

    Then I completely agree.  This is a feature that would be great on iOS devices / mass market users.  We always hear mobile first or mobile only but when I'm at home, I enjoy the comfort of a big screen.


     

    The problem with that scenario is that it is technology centered instead of experience centered.  The treatment as if there is a sacred chip inside some phone that without it you are dead.  Chips are chips.  I once figured that there was no point within my apartment that was further than 1.5 meters from some device that had a computer of some sort in it.  They don't all use the same exact chip, I did not move it from one device to another as I moved towards it.   Simply put Microsoft is focusing on the wrong thing.   I don't want to spend my time focusing on taking my phone around plugging a monitor in it finding a mouse etc. etc.  What the end result is more likely to be is that as you move around the information, knowledge and learning that devices do will be communicated to as you go around.  With OLED or next next gen technologies your walls, floors, counter tops, tables, could all contain display technology and each with it's own computing devices.  Each linked together in an web of devices that follow you around as you move and adjust to you as an individual -- as opposed to someone else.  You could seamlessly wander from the living room where you are teleconferencing with someone to the kitchen where the display of the other person moves with you and your image moves with you all while continuing in the dialogue.  Access to the computers / networked / IoT etc will be a matrix of interconnected chips within different devices.  The chip is not important, the knowledge, the learning the devices do in order to communicate with you in a natural way (algorythms etc.) are important.... not some sacred silicon or gallium arsenic chip.

  • Reply 134 of 155
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by CanukStorm View Post

     

    You're referring to something like this?

     

    http://semiaccurate.com/2015/11/03/continuum-is-microsofts-alternative-to-the-pc/

     

    Then I completely agree.  This is a feature that would be great on iOS devices / mass market users.  We always hear mobile first or mobile only but when I'm at home, I enjoy the comfort of a big screen.


    Yes, though I expect a solution from Apple to be a bit more elegant, but yes just like that. These devices are so powerful already, imagine another couple of iterations, the phones in our pockets will be plenty powerful to perform most every task the average person would ever require, and if we could pull them out of our pockets and dock them in a desk station with a (larger) monitor or two and our other peripherals, that's the future I imagine for mass computing needs. Quite exciting, really.

  • Reply 135 of 155
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by williamlondon View Post

     

    Yes, though I expect a solution from Apple to be a bit more elegant, but yes just like that. These devices are so powerful already, imagine another couple of iterations, the phones in our pockets will be plenty powerful to perform most every task the average person would ever require, and if we could pull them out of our pockets and dock them in a desk station with a (larger) monitor or two and our other peripherals, that's the future I imagine for mass computing needs. Quite exciting, really.


    "Quite exciting, really."

     

    Sure is.

  • Reply 136 of 155
    asdasdasdasd Posts: 5,285member

    Ask Apple to develop voice interaction, 3D gesture interaction, natural language processing and alike. Keyboards are done, they cannot be developed further. I understand the needs of a writer, just use dictation, if Apple's own dictation comes short then buy a professional package and a dedicated microphone if you make a living with writing. There is no point to discuss keyboard functionality on an iPad, use a laptop if your job depends on keyboard.

    I'm going to dictate this to see how that works my feeling is one of my work at home it won't work very well in the office can you add information recently and that's not perfect either no I wanna paragraph no hour to do that
    haggar wrote: »
    If that is the only reason for not having a touchscreen Mac, then it is a weak one.  The ergonomic argument can be just as "easily addressed" the same way some of us tell people how to deal with the glossy screen glare -- you're positioning the screen wrong.  For the people who are so personally offended by the mere possibility of a Mac doing something when the screen is touched, I'm sure Apple could add a setting in OS X to turn off touch input.  And knowing Apple, they would probably bury it somewhere in Accessibility preferences.

    The only way out of the ergonomic issue (one of many problems with tablets and keyboards) is to put the screen horizontal and that creates greater ergonomic issues with neck strain.
  • Reply 137 of 155
    ipenipen Posts: 410member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by bugsnw View Post

     

    ...

    Why is there no emulator for running iOS apps on a Mac? There are so many useful little Apps that I'd love to use side-by-side with OS X apps on my desktop Mac.


    Only if the desktop Mac has a touch screen.  Many useful little Apps become awkward to use with keyboard and mouse.

  • Reply 138 of 155
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,767member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by bkkcanuck View Post

     

     

    The problem with that scenario is that it is technology centered instead of experience centered.  The treatment as if there is a sacred chip inside some phone that without it you are dead.  Chips are chips.  I once figured that there was no point within my apartment that was further than 1.5 meters from some device that had a computer of some sort in it.  They don't all use the same exact chip, I did not move it from one device to another as I moved towards it.   Simply put Microsoft is focusing on the wrong thing.   I don't want to spend my time focusing on taking my phone around plugging a monitor in it finding a mouse etc. etc.  What the end result is more likely to be is that as you move around the information, knowledge and learning that devices do will be communicated to as you go around.  With OLED or next next gen technologies your walls, floors, counter tops, tables, could all contain display technology and each with it's own computing devices.  Each linked together in an web of devices that follow you around as you move and adjust to you as an individual -- as opposed to someone else.  You could seamlessly wander from the living room where you are teleconferencing with someone to the kitchen where the display of the other person moves with you and your image moves with you all while continuing in the dialogue.  Access to the computers / networked / IoT etc will be a matrix of interconnected chips within different devices.  The chip is not important, the knowledge, the learning the devices do in order to communicate with you in a natural way (algorythms etc.) are important.... not some sacred silicon or gallium arsenic chip.


     

    Yes, info follows you around, you don't carry it around :-). That makes too much sense :-), but MS is screwed if that's the future...

  • Reply 139 of 155
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  • Reply 140 of 155
    knowitallknowitall Posts: 1,290member
    bkkcanuck wrote: »
    I would of course be one of those that would not be able to buy a Macbook for development (primary machine) without a reasonable vm to run x86 stuff.  It would also impact quite a few enterprise developers as well.... and I don't even run Windows.  I have two VMs that I use one is for Fedora 23 / Oracle Enterprise database, the second is SUSE with DB2.  Then you have developers that primarily use Macs but still need to do stuff in development for the PCs that are deployed (Windows development, browser testing for Windows etc.).   

    The savings - though hard to estimate since we are not privy to Intel/Apple negotiations would probably be closer to $200 (core-m is $291 tray price - likely not Apple's price).  

    Apple could already develop a mobile GPU (with licensed technology) while retaining the Intel processor without worrying about issues such as buggering people that do need x86 environment support.... in fact just doing that would give them more flexibility.  Apple is no doubtedly waiting for the Skylake processors that have the high end graphics (Iris / Iris Pro).  If they developed their own onboard graphics processing they would be free to chose Intel processors without onboard graphics (more cores; I would estimate the graphics part of the Intel chips takes up 60%+ of the chip).  Just being able to demonstrate OSX running on a prototype ARM based processor gives them negotiating power for bulk orders and better prices.  

    All valid points. At work my primary computer is a Mac and I also use a VM sometimes.
    Running linux or other unixes on a virtual machine will not be a problem.
    I suspect that even Oracle has native apps for it because Oracle is using ARM for its server farms.
    But it might also be possible to run application software natively on the Mac (I expect more and more companies will port there software to the Mac as Macs are used more and more in enterprise situations).
    For legacy systems it seems a lot wiser to run them on a separate (Linux) box using VirtualBox (from Sun, nee Oracle) and access it remotely, the Mac is excellent in collaborating.

    I'm sure Apple uses its A processors to push Intel, but at some point this isn't enough anymore, especially if you can do better.
    Why not take them completely out of the equation?
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