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

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  • Reply 121 of 246
    I liked my 6100 Power Mac system - yes it was slow but usable.  
    I no longer need virtualized Windows capability so am eagerly awaiting a Axx processor that is cheaper, faster and lets Apple set its own future without an Intel anchor to hold it back. Maybe my iMac 18,2 will be my last Intel Macintosh.
  • Reply 122 of 246
    knowitallknowitall Posts: 997member
    knowitall said:
    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.
    I suspect porting Xcode to iOS isn't easy, 12” is very little screen estate for such a program.
    There are MacBooks with the same size screen.
    True, I would state the same for a 12” MacBook. That’s (also) why I mentioned that it will be difficult to port the code. The other reason is that Xcode is a fairly complex application probably using the macOS API’s to the max which makes iOS omissions very apparent.  
  • Reply 123 of 246
    knowitallknowitall Posts: 997member
    melgross said:

    Soli said:
    knowitall said:
    I suspect porting Xcode to iOS isn't easy, 12” is very little screen estate for such a program.
    There are MacBooks with the same size screen.
    Running Xcode on a MacBook is only an option because it's running macOS, not because it's an ideal display size.
    That’s true. But for convenience sake, running it on the iPad screen would be a good thing. More options are always better than fewer options.
    I agree.
  • Reply 124 of 246
    bb-15 said:
    ...a major reason for the increase in Mac (Mac OS) sales was the transition to Intel processors. As stated by PCWorld / MacWorld in 2006 when Mac marketshare got back up to 5%.

    “The growth is an excellent sign of the success of Apple’s transition to Intel based systems.”

    https://www.macworld.com/article/1053465/marketshare.html

    Yes, but I'm not convinced that means that it was because Intel allowed for native Windows operation. I'm sure that was a factor, but the PowerPC architecture had not gone anywhere for years, and Macs were crippled by running that architecture. The move to Intel chips allowed Macs to become competitive again on speed with their Windows counterparts. I suspect that was the more important factor - it certainly was the one that was pushed at the time as the reason for the switch.
  • Reply 125 of 246
    dick applebaumdick applebaum Posts: 12,369member
    Soli said:
    knowitall said:
    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?
    I think it does. Including an Intel CPU defeats the purpose (getting rid of Intel).
    Why assume that Apple would be getting rid of Intel because they wanted to use an ARM-based Mac for, say, a new MacBook Air that was basically the 12" MacBook but running an Apple-designed chip? Do you really think there's an ARM-equivlenet that will work for the Mac Pro? I don't see the Pro-line being affected by this until such time as most people are instead bitching that Apple isn't moving fast enough to switch their high-end machines to to ARM.
    Prescient!
    Soli
  • Reply 126 of 246
    djames4242djames4242 Posts: 470member
    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. 
    Emulation != Virtualization
    also
    Virtualization > Emulation

    I ran VirtualPC on my G4 Mac Mini. It was okay for very casual tasks, but the performance in an emulator is never going to match virtualization. 
  • Reply 127 of 246
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,354member


    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.
    ARM is extremely mainstream in content consumption devices and almost nonexistent in content creation (developer content - Nobody develops on ARM). 

    You may be right, of course. For what it's worth, I'd totally buy an ARM based 12" rMB for travel. I have the original now and it's the best travel computer I've ever used. 
    My god get a grip there is little difference in a processor driving a content consumption devices as opposed to a content creation device.  It is pretty amazing you even pulled this into the dicussion.  

    With ARM it is all about processor implementation.   An ARM based processor capable of addressing 32GB of RAM will be able to do the same things an Intel based processor can do.   The fact is ARM processors are designed to be very flexible in implementation so producing a high core count and RAM hungry machine is not a problem.  Just look at the ARM based server processors coming on line.  

    Frankly it is baffling to me that people look at IOS or Android based devices and the question the ability to run XCode or similar demanding applications on ARM hardware.   In both cases the socalled content consumption devices are running a Muktitasking OS in a way similar to an intel based desktop.  The only real difference is the adressable RAM and some high performance features left out.  Guys building an ARM chip with more address lines for more RAM is not a problem.   Nor is it a problem to add larger caches and other performance enhancing techniques.  

    No one should be handwringing about ARM capability here.  
    tht
  • Reply 128 of 246
    dick applebaumdick applebaum Posts: 12,369member
    @ MikeWuerthele

    Thank you for an excellent article!

    This has been one of the best discussions on any AI forum in quite a while!
  • Reply 129 of 246
    hatomiehatomie Posts: 1member
    I was planning to purchase a new MacBook Pro in June, after the (rumored) announcement of MBP refreshes. Explain to me why I should still do this.
  • Reply 130 of 246
    dick applebaumdick applebaum Posts: 12,369member

    wizard69 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.
    ARM is extremely mainstream in content consumption devices and almost nonexistent in content creation (developer content - Nobody develops on ARM). 

    You may be right, of course. For what it's worth, I'd totally buy an ARM based 12" rMB for travel. I have the original now and it's the best travel computer I've ever used. 
    My god get a grip there is little difference in a processor driving a content consumption devices as opposed to a content creation device.  It is pretty amazing you even pulled this into the dicussion.  

    With ARM it is all about processor implementation.   An ARM based processor capable of addressing 32GB of RAM will be able to do the same things an Intel based processor can do.   The fact is ARM processors are designed to be very flexible in implementation so producing a high core count and RAM hungry machine is not a problem.  Just look at the ARM based server processors coming on line.  

    Frankly it is baffling to me that people look at IOS or Android based devices and the question the ability to run XCode or similar demanding applications on ARM hardware.   In both cases the socalled content consumption devices are running a Muktitasking OS in a way similar to an intel based desktop.  The only real difference is the adressable RAM and some high performance features left out.  Guys building an ARM chip with more address lines for more RAM is not a problem.   Nor is it a problem to add larger caches and other performance enhancing techniques.  

    No one should be handwringing about ARM capability here.  
    Hear, Hear!
  • Reply 131 of 246
    coolfactorcoolfactor Posts: 1,226member
    It hasn't been reported that Macs would use A-series processors, just custom processors developed by Apple. They may be entirely new, far more powerful, processes from the A-series processors that power mobile devices, AppleTV and HomePod. 
    dick applebaum
  • Reply 132 of 246
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 2,334administrator
    @ MikeWuerthele

    Thank you for an excellent article!

    This has been one of the best discussions on any AI forum in quite a while!
    Thanks. There are some benefits to having lived through it all, I guess.
  • Reply 133 of 246
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 2,334administrator
    hatomie said:
    I was planning to purchase a new MacBook Pro in June, after the (rumored) announcement of MBP refreshes. Explain to me why I should still do this.
    Because it isn't 2020. And because like the article says, it isn't coming to the high-end at first.
    hatomieSolifastasleep
  • Reply 134 of 246
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,354member
    Soli 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?
    Not publicly, but possibly within Apple. Yes. Yes, when ARM-based Macs arrive.
    Apple already has Swift running on the iPad.  This isnt XCode of course but one coukd argue an even more demanding implementation.  

    What bothers me about this whole XCode thing is the apparent lack of understand of what a computer is or for that matter what an OS does.  The ability to run XCode is more about RAM than CPU performance.  I can say this due to trying to run XCode on a. 2GB machine for a couple of years.  

    Assuming there is truth in this rumor Apple wont be running these Macs on todays ARM chips so it is a given that some limitations wont be there.  A 32 GB capable machine should be expected for example and i would expect that yhere will be atleast one higher power performance chip available.    So you might see a 32 GB MacBook running the same chip that ends up in the iPad.  Larger laptops would likely run a performance chip with as many as twelve cores.  The actual numbber if cores implemented will depend upon how much space is reserved for energing tech.  

    In any event yes these machines will run XCode or maybe even XCodes replacement.  I just find it silly that XCode has become part of this discussion.  
    fastasleep
  • Reply 135 of 246
    macplusplusmacplusplus Posts: 1,259member
    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. 
    Emulation != Virtualization
    also
    Virtualization > Emulation

    I ran VirtualPC on my G4 Mac Mini. It was okay for very casual tasks, but the performance in an emulator is never going to match virtualization. 
    “other” in relation to actual one (Intel) not in relation to “emulators”.
  • Reply 136 of 246
    wizard69 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.
    ARM is extremely mainstream in content consumption devices and almost nonexistent in content creation (developer content - Nobody develops on ARM). 

    You may be right, of course. For what it's worth, I'd totally buy an ARM based 12" rMB for travel. I have the original now and it's the best travel computer I've ever used. 
    My god get a grip there is little difference in a processor driving a content consumption devices as opposed to a content creation device.  It is pretty amazing you even pulled this into the dicussion.  

    Grip acquired! Some context about my comment might be helpful: I was responding to Mike's assertion that ARM based systems are mainstream devices, which was a response to my assertion that the move to ARM is Apple's first move away from mainstream devices. We were both discussing the context of developers potentially leaving the ecosystem should there be a move away from Intel. ARM based devices (probably?) outnumber Intel based devices and so are very much mainstream, but when we're talking about devices used by developers for development I don't think they are. That was my only point there. 

    I'm not saying that there is any reason whatsoever that ARM based Macs can't be great content creation machines and I'm not commenting on ARM based CPUs' abilities as general purpose CPUs. I'm only making the assertion, in a back and forth with Mike, that a move away from Intel might result in a lot of developers moving away from Apple, just as the move to Intel brought a lot of them along. 

    Anyway, I'm not wringing my hands, nor panicking. In this discussion, for the time being, I would prefer it if Apple would not move solely to devices incapable of running Intel VMs and containers. Two years from now I may change my mind, or I may have to change platforms. Neither situation will be much of a loss for you :) 


    kruegdude
  • Reply 137 of 246
    SoliSoli Posts: 6,671member
    wizard69 said:
    I just find it silly that XCode has become part of this discussion.  
    I don't mind it. I think there's an argument to be made that Apple will first keep Xcode to their higher-end machines because of cost/time/difficulty in converting the app as well as keeping developers on higher cost machines. I also think there's an argument to be made that because most developers already develop for ARM-based devices and that it would allow for more developers, especially in schools and less affluent countries with high tariffs for CE imports, that they'd have it ready it go at or near the launch of the first ARM-based Mac. I lean toward the latter, if you weren't sure.
    edited April 4
  • Reply 138 of 246
    dick applebaumdick applebaum Posts: 12,369member
    wizard69 said:
    Soli 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?
    Not publicly, but possibly within Apple. Yes. Yes, when ARM-based Macs arrive.
    Apple already has Swift running on the iPad.  This isnt XCode of course but one coukd argue an even more demanding implementation.  

    What bothers me about this whole XCode thing is the apparent lack of understand of what a computer is or for that matter what an OS does.  The ability to run XCode is more about RAM than CPU performance.  I can say this due to trying to run XCode on a. 2GB machine for a couple of years.  

    Assuming there is truth in this rumor Apple wont be running these Macs on todays ARM chips so it is a given that some limitations wont be there.  A 32 GB capable machine should be expected for example and i would expect that yhere will be atleast one higher power performance chip available.    So you might see a 32 GB MacBook running the same chip that ends up in the iPad.  Larger laptops would likely run a performance chip with as many as twelve cores.  The actual numbber if cores implemented will depend upon how much space is reserved for energing tech.  

    In any event yes these machines will run XCode or maybe even XCodes replacement.  I just find it silly that XCode has become part of this discussion.  
    Well, I brought it up...  for several reasons.

    1. IMO, today's iPad, to run Xcode would mean Cursor/Mouse/Trackpad and external keyboard enhancements to iPad iOS
    2. Swift Playgrounds on iPad is a pretty nice implementation -- but, IMO, Xcode would be better for more intermediate/advanced coding without the need to change devices
    3. You could code for macOS, iOS, watchOS tvOS on the iPad
    4. I suspect that Xcode is being rewritten (or has been) entirely in Swift to be faster and more efficient
    5. Swift Playgrounds on the Mac allows you separate source code files and resource files from the main Playground -- the separate files are compiled once and don't enter into the REPL loop -- this should mitigate much of the RAM/performance issues you mentioned

  • Reply 139 of 246
    @ MikeWuerthele

    Thank you for an excellent article!

    This has been one of the best discussions on any AI forum in quite a while!
    I may not be in line with the majority of options, but I completely agree that the discussion has been excellent so far! 
    djames4242
  • Reply 140 of 246
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,354member
    Soli said:
    melgross said:
    Soli said:
    knowitall said:
    I suspect porting Xcode to iOS isn't easy, 12” is very little screen estate for such a program.
    There are MacBooks with the same size screen.
    Running Xcode on a MacBook is only an option because it's running macOS, not because it's an ideal display size.
    That’s true. But for convenience sake, running it on the iPad screen would be a good thing. More options are always better than fewer options.
    I'm all for it, but would beed to be added to make this feasible? Mouse support would be simple enough. What other frameworks are missing to make Xcode on iOS a reality? Do you think Apple will do that or if they'll just keep with the relatively simplistic Playgrounds.
    I wouldnt expect XCode to be xtremely popular on an iPad due to screen size.   If Apple did developer tools on iPad i woukd expect a different app.   

    As for OS support limitstions in Ios may prevent a direct port of XCode anyways.   Last i knew apps where prevented from spawning processes.  

    Playgrounds in my mind is anything but simplistic.  It is a rather advanced App that fully leverges the power of iPad.    When i think back to running older versions of XCode on a 2 GB machine, Playgrounds actually looks impressive.   

    In the end the thing that keeps IDEs off IPad is Apple and their policies.   
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