Stop panicking about Apple's rumored switch from Intel to its own chips in the Mac

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  • Reply 61 of 246
    milleronmilleron Posts: 15member
    Oztotl said:
    First concern is the ability to run virtual Linux and Windows OS's under the new hardware. This is key to having only a souped up Macbook Pro to support multiple platforms and clients
    That!!! The loss of the ability to run Parallels or Virtual Box could be a dealbreaker for some, especially in the enterprise setting . . . but also for many home users
    edited April 4 Habi_tweet
  • Reply 62 of 246
    Snow Leopard shipped rock solid and stable. The OS has been castrated at the UI level and dumbed down since then.

    Still think that assuming it will be an ARM chipset is a bit premature. They could be doing an Apple version of x86 just like the A series are Apple’s version of ARM. There are any number of reasons to do it. Security, power management and performance tuning for the OS come to mind.
  • Reply 63 of 246
    SoliSoli Posts: 6,681member
    . . .


    edited April 4
  • Reply 64 of 246
    SoliSoli Posts: 6,681member


    But, here's the thing: ARM is mainstream. Every iPhone, every iPad, every Samsung, nearly every smartphone has an ARM chip in it. Xcode is already set up to be the transition tool that developers need, so the friction will be extremely low.
    Mmm...  Does Xcode run on any current ARM devices?  Could it? Should it?
    Not publicly, but possibly within Apple. Yes. Yes, when ARM-based Macs arrive.
    Alex1N
  • Reply 65 of 246
    mario said:
    Typical consumers should not and will not care nor understand what you are even writing about here. They will just buy a Mac and use it.

    People who are concerned have vested interests in things continuing the same way.

    Things are not that simple if you are a software engineer. Transition from PPC to Intel wasn't as smooth as some like to believe. PPC was big endian and Intel is little endian.  If you had C/C++ or ObjC code that did low level bit twiddling and assumed byte order, you could not just recompile the code for new CPU arch. You had to re-write the some code in architecture portable way. People use and compile code from decades ago (I know I do), and having to re-comple everything again to get my tooling right is non-trivial task (that is if I can even find source repos for some of the things I use).

    There is also issue of virtualization. These days pretty much all software deployed to production is virtualized, even things like Node.js (JavaScript source code), and if you cannot install say Docker on your machine and test software as it will run in production (production is usually Linux on x86_64), then Mac becomes unviable software development option. 

    Considering that today majority of code committed on github.com is from Macs, this would impact quite a few people.

    Another issue is performance. High end Apple chips (which are by the way using 5 W TDP) are getting close to low power Intel CPUs, but currently there are no Apple CPUs that can compete with desktop Core i7 or i9 or Xeons. Not that Apple could not make one, but as it is now you will not get much faster CPU to emulate a slower one. It will be slower CPU emulating a faster one. Intel code on arm64 will run much slower, leading to poorer performance and use experience during transition.

    I just wanted to quote this one more time for a lucid, clear explanation of the issues surrounding this purported transition.

    I am an attorney at a large national firm, and we recently rolled out new MacBook Pros for hundreds of attorneys.  Our IT was able to accomplish this due to the excellent virtualization capabilities built into the current Intel x64 architecture.  My work computer now allows me to run osX for personal and daily activities, and to run a hyper secure virtualized environment (Windows-based) for work.

    I have always visualized the iOS-based operating systems to be for "casual use."  I own 5 apple TVs, a ton of iPads and iPhones, an Apple Watch, etc.  These work great on ARM-based architecture and they excel as such:  they are quick and efficient for media consumption and basic daily use.  

    The Mac line, to me, has always stood for more hardcore, versatile, professional-level work.  Plus, I like that I can run bootcamp and run some decedent computer games, etc., natively on Windows. 

    I'm no newb.  I understand that Apple's A-architecture can evolve and become more powerful.  But I still can't figure out, other than for Apple's own profitability and platform control, what possible benefits Apple would reap from switching its Mac line over to slower ARM chips?  It's unlikely (although not impossible) that the A-chips will catch up to Intel or even AMD's peak performance envelopes in the next decade.  So why are we doing this? 

    Anyway, nobody even knows if it will happen.  I'm keeping an open mind, but I'm also becoming more and more pessimistic.  The last couple years of Apple's products have, at least to me, indicated a transition away from serious users and the needs of serious users.
    milleronmarioAlex1N
  • Reply 66 of 246
    knowitallknowitall Posts: 997member

    But, here's the thing: ARM is mainstream. Every iPhone, every iPad, every Samsung, nearly every smartphone has an ARM chip in it. Xcode is already set up to be the transition tool that developers need, so the friction will be extremely low.
    Mmm...  Does Xcode run on any current ARM devices?  Could it? Should it?
    I don’t know if it currently runs on ARM (it’s highly probable that Apple did that already), but it’s just a program as any other, so translating it is just a push on the Xcode button, no biggie.
    Why shouldn’t it be?
    Alex1N
  • Reply 67 of 246
    knowitallknowitall Posts: 997member
    milleron said:
    Oztotl said:
    First concern is the ability to run virtual Linux and Windows OS's under the new hardware. This is key to having only a souped up Macbook Pro to support multiple platforms and clients
    That!!! The loss of the ability to run Parallels or Virtual Box could be a dealbreaker for some, especially in the enterprise setting . . . but also for many home users
    Virtual box already runs on ARM and Parallels can be recompiled with Xcode.
    milleronAlex1N
  • Reply 68 of 246
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 30,310member
    nunzy said:
    Will this be a step towards uniting iOS and OSX?
    In theory, but not soon, I don't think. 
    Yup. My thoughts have always been that they would, even though Apple has denied it. With their new project, allowing iOS software to run in macOS, using a mouse, I believe we can see the beginning of the end of the total differentiation between the two.

    as I’ve mused here a number of times whenever this topic is discussed, I believe that at some point Apple will have the “UOS” - I.e., the Universal Operating System. That would entail Apple calibrating what an app is when it’s downloaded to a particular device. So for the Apple Watch, we would get a version that would use what that UI and SoC is capable of. Ditto for the iPhone’s and iPads. The same thing or Macs. All would be file compatible. Essentially, the app would be the same inside, just allowing the capabilities of the hardware.

    with Unix being what all of Apple’s OSs are tied together with, this should be easier than it has been for Microsoft. If Apple could work this out so that the capabilities they already have, which is to look at your hardware and download just what is needed there, then this isn’t such a great leap. It would be painless for users, and not too bad for developers.
    edited April 4 Alex1N
  • Reply 69 of 246
    saa001saa001 Posts: 1member
    I think the question is: will this enhance the performance of future Macs (from Mini if they update it, to MBP, to iMac, to Mac Pro) or is it being done for financial gain? 

    If it will enhance the performance of the OS on these platforms then Apple would be doing the correct thing in switching. If it is being done for financial gain then Apple would be wrong in doing it (at least for it's users, not talking about investors).

    With all that Apple has done, they won't leave older systems "swinging in the wind" and force them to all switch over to the new architecture right away. There will be a transition phase of quite a few years before anyone is inconvenienced by the switch over.
  • Reply 70 of 246
    milleronmilleron Posts: 15member
    I wouldn't leave the Apple universe should the iMac lose its ability to run Intel-based VMs, but it would mean that I'd be forced to rig up a SFF Intel desktop to connect to an alternate input on my secondary monitor. What a pain! Just keeping MS Windows updated can be, and terribly often is, a major nightmare, and I'd have to purchase several necessary utilities to run the few Windows programs I'm forced to keep using. I migrated from the Windows world to macOS with alacrity, but I wouldn't couldn't have done it had macOS not offered the ability to host Windows and Linux VMs. I'll feel literally betrayed and financially injured should the iMac move to an ARM without a virtualization layer in software or some variety of inexpensive Intel processor. I'm not panicked, but 2020 will be here before we know it, so I am anxious and disheartened.
  • Reply 71 of 246
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 2,334administrator

    But, here's the thing: ARM is mainstream. Every iPhone, every iPad, every Samsung, nearly every smartphone has an ARM chip in it. Xcode is already set up to be the transition tool that developers need, so the friction will be extremely low.
    Mmm...  Does Xcode run on any current ARM devices?  Could it? Should it?
    A better question is if it runs on anything non-Mac, as it once ran on PPC. It will run on ARM if Apple makes the Mac shift to it.
    edited April 4 Alex1N
  • Reply 72 of 246
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 2,334administrator
    Snow Leopard shipped rock solid and stable. The OS has been castrated at the UI level and dumbed down since then.

    Still think that assuming it will be an ARM chipset is a bit premature. They could be doing an Apple version of x86 just like the A series are Apple’s version of ARM. There are any number of reasons to do it. Security, power management and performance tuning for the OS come to mind.
    Snow Leopard absolutely did nothing of the sort. It was stable at 10.6.8, and crappy before 10.6.5. There is this mythical (X=X-1) was better phenomenon going on, with a lot of dismissal of when the favorite wasn't so great.


    edited April 4 Alex1Nfastasleepchasm
  • Reply 73 of 246
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 4,362member
    jimh2 said:
    The one thing to keep in mind is that prices will never drop because Apple is designing their own chips, so the cost of Intel chips is irrelevent.
    Then what did you call it when Apple dropped he prices on its notebook lines in the past?
    Alex1N
  • Reply 74 of 246
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 30,310member
    The idea that old, Intel Macs would keep working, offered as a reason to not be concerned about a shift from Intel chips seems shortsighted to me. It only delays the day when Macs will no longer be viable for those of us with a need for Intel compatibility. 

    I *have to* run Linux and Windows VMs and *want to* use a Mac; it's not the other way around for me and the loss of the ability to do the former would mean my very reluctant move away from Macs. Being able to run Docker containers on my Mac has further underscored my need for Intel compatibility. This is an upsetting thought to me, as I love using macOS as my desktop OS. Nearly every network and software engineer that I know who is a Mac user is in the same boat as I am. 

    It may well be that this will come to pass, or it may be that it's just a rumour. Perhaps (and this is my hope) Apple will use its own CPUs for low-end systems and Intel CPUs in Pro machines. In any case, I think it's a mistake to underestimate the loss to the Apple community of what I think will be an enormous number of developers. Being dismissive of people's concerns is a little heartless. 
    I bet it won't cause an enormous loss of developers, the same that the last two shifts didn't, nor any other move that promised to be the death of developers like Xcode was heralded to be. And, like I said, the mini and the MacBook are likely the first, as the A-series processor doesn't have any super-heavy lifters at present.

    I'm also pretty sure that you realize that you are not typical of the Mac using public. You are an outlier. That's not a bad thing, mind you, but also not a giant market segment for the company.
    While it seems to be that people are ignoring what I’ve been saying about this in threads over the years, it isn’t necessary for there to be any incompatibility between x86 software and an A series SoC, if Apple does what I’ve said they could. That’s to add the dozen, or so, instructions which have been shown to cause 80% of the slowdown when emulating one chip family on another. As far as I know, all of these instructions are open for anyone to use, individually. If Apple added them to their SoC, and had an automatic switch to those instructions when x86 software called for them, then no sloppy software virtualization would be required, as everything would work as usual. As Apple’s SoC speeded up over the next couple of years, x86 software would run faster. I saw that with my Quadra 950 after Apple released the PPC 601 card for the processor slot.

    for all we know, they’re working on that now. In fact, no one knows what at least 35% of the area on the SoC does. Apple doesn’t talk about more than a few areas. They could be experimenting with that now. Maybe we’ll see a “B” series of SoCs that will do this. Who knows? Otherwise, people thinking that Apple will do what Microsoft is doing is wrong, by my thinking. Microsoft requires a code rewrite for software to work on their universal system. Wouldn’t it be better if NO rewrite was required? You bet!
    GG1muthuk_vanalingamAlex1N
  • Reply 75 of 246
    dick applebaumdick applebaum Posts: 12,370member
    I keep wondering if it would make sense for a Mac (and macOS) to support configurations with:
    1. an ARM CPU and an Intel CPU
    2. multiple ARM CPUs
    3. multiple ARM CPUs and an Intel CPU
    Maybe it need not be all or nothing?
    Alex1NHabi_tweet
  • Reply 76 of 246
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 4,362member
    MmmDee said:
    Awaiting the first anti-trust/monopoly lawsuit that Apple has yet to experience. Once Apple owns all the hardware and all the software running on their products, continuing their closed "ecosystem", the legal woes and end-of-product nightmare will begin. What a bad idea... I'm definitely not going down this path of self-destruction, been there, done that. Pity some businesses don't learn from history and are therefore doomed to repeat mistakes. More temporary profit for Apple, less choices for consumers.
    Clearly you have no idea what “monopoly” means. They can’t have a monopoly when macOS only has 6-7% market share. 

    Its like youre claiming Burger King had a “monopoly” on what they serve in their own restaurant, ignoring that you can eat elsewhere with competitors.

    Nope. 
    Solimuthuk_vanalingamdjames4242Alex1Nfastasleep
  • Reply 77 of 246
    dick applebaumdick applebaum Posts: 12,370member
    knowitall said:

    But, here's the thing: ARM is mainstream. Every iPhone, every iPad, every Samsung, nearly every smartphone has an ARM chip in it. Xcode is already set up to be the transition tool that developers need, so the friction will be extremely low.
    Mmm...  Does Xcode run on any current ARM devices?  Could it? Should it?
    I don’t know if it currently runs on ARM (it’s highly probable that Apple did that already), but it’s just a program as any other, so translating it is just a push on the Xcode button, no biggie.
    Why shouldn’t it be?
    We have a 12" and 10" iPad Pros with kb cases...  I'd like to be able to run Xcode on these.
    Alex1N
  • Reply 78 of 246
    macplusplusmacplusplus Posts: 1,259member
    milleron said:
    Oztotl said:
    First concern is the ability to run virtual Linux and Windows OS's under the new hardware. This is key to having only a souped up Macbook Pro to support multiple platforms and clients
    That!!! The loss of the ability to run Parallels or Virtual Box could be a dealbreaker for some, especially in the enterprise setting . . . but also for many home users
    You won’t lose the ability to run Parallels or Virtual Box, they will adapt. Maybe as emulators or under some other form of virtualization. Parallels or Virtual Box are not the first of their kind, before them Virtual PC did the job in the PowerPC era, especially for many home users. 
    Alex1Nfastasleep
  • Reply 79 of 246
    MmmDee said:
    Awaiting the first anti-trust/monopoly lawsuit that Apple has yet to experience. Once Apple owns all the hardware and all the software running on their products, continuing their closed "ecosystem", the legal woes and end-of-product nightmare will begin. What a bad idea... I'm definitely not going down this path of self-destruction, been there, done that. Pity some businesses don't learn from history and are therefore doomed to repeat mistakes. More temporary profit for Apple, less choices for consumers.
    That’s laughable. 
    StrangeDaysAlex1Nfastasleep
  • Reply 80 of 246
    dick applebaumdick applebaum Posts: 12,370member
    Soli said:
    . . .
    Need to work on your hex!
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