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

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  • Reply 161 of 246
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,678member
    Meanwhile, the entire Windows PC world is hyped up about the new 6-core Intel i9 on their laptops with GTX1080M GPUs which are basically skinny, yet powerful, gaming machines. Your move, Apple. Errr. I fear Apple has no answer for that. A-series SoCs are nice but not on all Apple computers. Some of us desktop people want a great deal more.
    1) Why is it "your move, Apple" for Intel announcing a gaming chip that PC notebooks?

    2) To say "A-series SoCs are nice but not on all Apple computers" implies that Apple would use whatever current A-series chip is out now for the considerably more portable and much smaller iPad. Do you think that the A-sereis in the 13" iPad Pro is the Apple making the most powerful ARM-based chip they can muster? I don't. I think it's the most powerful one they could make within a very specific power and heat thresholds.
  • Reply 162 of 246
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 2,541member
    I switched to Mac in 2007. In 2012 I bought an iMac with the best gpu on offer and used it for gaming in windows (BootCamp) and macOS for everything else. If the Mac switched from Intel the loss of BootCamp and gaming would be a significant blow, added to the last 6 years of increasingly buggy and very poorly designed Ui/Ux from Apple, means I would seriously start to consider leaving the eco system, or having to now have to computers (double expense, double space) whereas since 2012 I’ve only needed one. That’s not progress... that’s just dumb; but since Steve died, Forstall was fired and Sergei left, Apple has become less. That they have UI designers using tiny fonts in mid grey on a light grey background and tons of empty space is inexcusable.
    Unlike that wonderfully designed Windows UI/UX?

    Who the hell is Sergei?
  • Reply 163 of 246
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,471member
    wizard69 said:
    nunzy said:
    Will this be a step towards uniting iOS and OSX?
    Lets hope not!   If you look at these two as tools they are about as different as a lathe and a table saw.   Both iOS and Mac OS are tools that allow users to get work done in different ways.  

    While i can see both OS's adopting features of the other (actually has been happening for some time) i dont see an integrated OS being a huge win for either user base.   Rather an integrated OS would be more cumbersome for both.  

    Rather i see Apple coming up with an API that makes dupporting users on both systems much easier.  Frankly there is much that Apple could do to integrate  the users machine but kee them ditinct.  Some of this is already done through iCloud but that is a bit of a joke.   

    In any event interesting times ahead.  Maybe in time i wont be pissed with Apple and their Mac division.  
    Ha!  Among other power tools, I use a Shopsmith -- which is a lathe, table saw, drill press, disk sander, horizontal borer, router, shaper... all in the floor space needed for a bicycle (see below).

    As for an integrated Universal Apple OS -- there is NO need to sacrifice the function, speed, capability, UI, etc. for individual devices/architectures -- kinda' "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs".  *

    As others have posted it's more of a development, packaging & distribution process than a bifurcation.

    * My grandson, who is studying philosophy, will be surprised/happy I quoted Karl Marx!

    Edit:  Added: NO to need to sacrifice the function -- (completely changed the meaning -- I guess I must have lied to my diary)  :/




    WAY back when, I wanted to get a shop smith. But there are some things I’m lazy about, and the thought of changing everything about was just too much for me.
  • Reply 164 of 246
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,471member
    melgross said:
    wizard69 said:
    nunzy said:
    Will this be a step towards uniting iOS and OSX?
    Lets hope not!   If you look at these two as tools they are about as different as a lathe and a table saw.   Both iOS and Mac OS are tools that allow users to get work done in different ways.  

    While i can see both OS's adopting features of the other (actually has been happening for some time) i dont see an integrated OS being a huge win for either user base.   Rather an integrated OS would be more cumbersome for both.  

    Rather i see Apple coming up with an API that makes dupporting users on both systems much easier.  Frankly there is much that Apple could do to integrate  the users machine but kee them ditinct.  Some of this is already done through iCloud but that is a bit of a joke.   

    In any event interesting times ahead.  Maybe in time i wont be pissed with Apple and their Mac division.  
    ...
    same here, I’d like the opportunity to use iOS iPad apps on my Mac. If I could do so with a mouse, and other keyboard shortcuts, that would be great. I can’t imagine anyone saying that it wouldn’t be a good thing. And you know what, realistically, if you can run the software from two OSs on each other’s machine, they have effectively become the same OS. I would think that developers would like that too.not having to develop, and maintain two separate versions would save them time and money.
    You already do that with iWork applications. They present the same user interface, windows and pane layout etc... on iOS, macOS and iCloud. That doesn't make iCloud, iOS and macOS "effectively the same operating system".

    Actually Apple can handle everything on behalf of the developer in a platform-agnostic way. We have no idea yet to what extent Marzipan is related to that, but such an intervention from Apple would introduce more rigidity into the software and severely limit the granular control Xcode and current frameworks provide to the developer. Some might prefer filling-in a basic "universal" template application, but I think many would refine their applications to push the capabilities of each platform to its limits and would gladly design separately for each platform.

    This is my humble opinion, a more elaborate opinion is from Gruber:
    https://daringfireball.net/2017/12/marzipan

    These are still completely separate apps, in separate stores. What I’m talking about is essentially one app, in one App Store.
  • Reply 165 of 246
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,471member

    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 don’t know exactly what will be needed. But Playgrounds is a pretty sophisticated app. They keep adding more to is in the programming sense. I think that, longer term, it will turn into a reall programming app. I can’t think of any reason why Xcode couldn’t run. After all programming environments are available on many platforms. I would be surprised if Apple isn’t have it running yet, and is just waiting for some feature or two before finalizing it.
  • Reply 166 of 246
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,471member

    melgross said:
    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.

    @melgross I wanted digest your post before responding...

    I believe that you are absolutely correct that Apple will have a UOS!  It's obvious in the way the various OSes are organized under Craig Federighi and WWDC keynote presos that are made by him.

    There are so many benefits to this for Apple internally and external 3rd-party developers.

    Who's to say what IOT solutions Apple has under development -- which may utilize AI, ML, etc. -- with different (or no) UIs... wearable clothing, for example...

    The key to this is communication among devices running apps built with
    I think some people dismiss this. But it would simplify things from a user standpoint. Developers might prefer it, unless they’re making money from each of those separate versions, and think that this would cut into that. But it would also allow them to come out with software that’s cheaper than the original Mac version, yet more expensive than the iOS version. That’s because they would sell far more copies with iOS being part of the same OS. The greater sophistication of the software would allow that higher price. It would take too much to explain exactly what I’m thinking on this ina post.

    for those who want an easy to manipulate cursor, I have an idea for that too. Apple leave plenty of room above the keys. They can add a key there. Press and hold, and a large trackpad opens over the keyboard. Use that trackpad the same way you use it on a Mac. You can release it by taking your finger off that key, or have the key work with a press, and release with a press.
  • Reply 167 of 246
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,471member
    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.
    The big problem that was developing for Apple at the time that was the major spur to get them off the G5 was that even though it was increasing in performance somewhat more quickly than x86, it was still big and hot. At that time, the laptop was beginning to take over from the Desktop as the primary computing device - and there was no mobile G5. Apple was forced, for years, to use two G4 chips in their laptops. That’s was far less than ideal. They had gone that route with the G4 in their desktops before going to IBM.

    if Apple couldn’t have a competitive laptop, and over a third of their users were on laptops already, they would be totally marginilized, even though they were experiencing amazing computer sales growth of between 25-35% a year, and were gaining back the marketshare they lost when in the holiday season of 1995, Michael Spindler screwed things up.

    whike much better Windows virtualization might have been a thought, I believe it was the icing on the cake, so to speak.
  • Reply 168 of 246
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,471member

    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!
    Sure. If Apple can get the ARM chips to run x86 software natively, as I’m proposing, there is no way they could consider it for a high end machine. While some say that Apple could force its users and developers down that road again, I’m not so sure.

    whike users don’t care what in the machine, as long as it works, developers do. There are all too many ignorant people out there who believe the solution is to “just have it go through a recompile!” Sure, if you have a flashlight app, that will work. But no decently complex software will ever work properly, if at all, with “just” a recompile. It’s months of major work, at least, and mammoth amounts of money. Developers have to be taken off other projects, etc.

    having said that, desktop chips don’t have the power constraints mobile chips do. Even the Macbook Pro uses chips up to a 35 watt power draw. Compare that to the 6 watt draw of the A series for the iPad, or the M series of Intel chips for the Macbook. There’s plenty Apple could do just by going to 12 Watts. But at some point there’s a limit. As you go up the power scale, you actually have less options, because when you hit these power levels, you find that you’re competing with really high end chips. Right now, the A series can compete with the M series easily, and some other ultralow power Intel chips for mobile. But Desktop chips are different. Apple may still have an advantage, but by how much?
    edited April 2018 Habi_tweet
  • Reply 169 of 246
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,471member

    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. 
    In order to have virtualization of an OS on a different processor family, you first need emulation of that processor. It’s that emulation that causes the problems.
    edited April 2018
  • Reply 170 of 246
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,471member

    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 :) 


    That move wouldn’t happen if Apple does what I’m suggesting. In and of itself, simply by according the performance and high Rez screen, the iPad would make a fine developmental platform. If the chip could run x86, then there would be nothing g to complain about other than what people like to complain about for every other machine they use. Add better cursor support as I’ve already suggested, and you would not have anything left to complain about.
  • Reply 171 of 246
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,471member

    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 if Apple does do this, it will be years before it replaces the x86 Macbook Pro.
  • Reply 172 of 246
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,471member

    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. 
    Unless Intel give Apple a license as AMD has, which is highly unlikely, what chip family would Apple be using? It’s not likely that Apple would be starting from scratch. The current Intel family is based on their old mobile family which they went back to after abandoning Netburst. We can see how powerful that became. Apple could do the same with their A series too. We don’t know if Apple hasn’t been working on a netbook, and possibly a Desktop range. I would be shocked if they weren’t at least looking into it.
  • Reply 173 of 246
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,471member

    @ 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.
    Yeah, it’s amazing how much I remember from these days, and it’s anazing how much so many writers get wrong about it
  • Reply 174 of 246
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,471member

    wizard69 said:
    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.   
    I don’t see screen size as being a major problem. A mistake I see in that assumption is that people would use it as their primary developmental platform. I don’t see it that way. Just as we use a Macbook Pro for video editing, publishing, graphics photo work, CAD, etc, it’s not the main platform for any really serious work. It’s more supplemental for big projects.

    i see the 12.9 iPad Pro as a notebook in that Sansa. Smaller projects, and preliminary work could be done ther very well. If going away for the weekend, it could work too. The screen is 2700 x 2000, that’s serious resolution. If you can’t get your work done on that, you have a problem.
  • Reply 175 of 246
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,471member
    ylon said:
    BS. We don't want this to happen because we want flexibility. I won't get into what that all entails here, but many, many, many of us much deeper and more experienced professionals do not want to see this shift.
    Many of you supposed experienced professionals don’t seem to understand how this might happen, and why it wouldn’t affect anything you do.
    fastasleep
  • Reply 176 of 246
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,471member

    iqatedo said:
    Soli said:
    nunzy said:
    Will this be a step towards uniting iOS and OSX?
    That would be like uniting watchOS, tvOS, and iOS simply because they're all AArch64. Hell, even iOS for the iPhone and iPad are distinct UIs with different downloads despite  the I/O being almost identical. I don't see any future where iOS and macOS will be "united" into a single crappy OS. They will, however, continue to share code, which they've been doing since iOS was created despite the discrete architectures in play.
    Thank you Soli. 
    Aaand...I disagree. There is absolutely no reason to believe that it would result in a “crappy” OS.
  • Reply 177 of 246
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,678member
    melgross said:

    iqatedo said:
    Soli said:
    nunzy said:
    Will this be a step towards uniting iOS and OSX?
    That would be like uniting watchOS, tvOS, and iOS simply because they're all AArch64. Hell, even iOS for the iPhone and iPad are distinct UIs with different downloads despite  the I/O being almost identical. I don't see any future where iOS and macOS will be "united" into a single crappy OS. They will, however, continue to share code, which they've been doing since iOS was created despite the discrete architectures in play.
    Thank you Soli. 
    Aaand...I disagree. There is absolutely no reason to believe that it would result in a “crappy” OS.
    You honestly don't think unifying watchOS, tvOS, iOS for iPhone, iOS for iPad, podOS, macOS and every other OS X-based OS into a single, unfed download would not make for a crappy OS? What reason for the Apple Watch need to be weighted down with any code it doesn't need.

    I don't see that ever happening. We don't even have iOS for iPhone and iOS for iPad being unfied OS and those use nearly the same HW and code base. All of these OS X-based OSes will continue to share code as it suits each product but they will never be unified.
    edited April 2018
  • Reply 178 of 246
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,471member

    Meanwhile, the entire Windows PC world is hyped up about the new 6-core Intel i9 on their laptops with GTX1080M GPUs which are basically skinny, yet powerful, gaming machines. Your move, Apple. Errr. I fear Apple has no answer for that. A-series SoCs are nice but not on all Apple computers. Some of us desktop people want a great deal more.
    It seems as though you, and a few others here, just don’t get it. Do you think that Apple will, in one stroke, replace every machine from the Macbook through the Mac Pro? Assuming the RUMOR is true, it will take years for that to happen.

    baby steps first. Pick that low hanging fruit. Add those few s86 instruction to the SoC that are needed, and x86 software will run pretty well. Replace Intel’s M series. Then move on to the ultra low power i5 Apple uses in the lower end notebooks, and the Mac Mini, if they keep that in the line. After that, Apple could tackle the mobile i7. Each time, there’s a substantial increase in the power the chip uses. From 6 Watts to 35 Watts. Apple doesn’t need to keep the power envelope to the 6 Watts the Axx series now has. Move to 12 Watts. Use two SoCs. There are lots of ways Apple could do this while keeping x86 compatibility. If it takes 5, 6 or more years to cover the entire line, so what?

    x86 development has been slowing down for a good 5 years now. They eke out between 5-15% improvement between generations. If Apple could keep to just 30%, they would come out ahead in just a few short years. If Apple does go to their own chips, they don’t need a major performance improvement in basic processing. That thought is in error. What we see Apple doing now, and what they would want in the future, is extreme customization. That would give them what they need, and is something they can’t get from anyone else.

    a great example is Imagination. They did have the best mobile GPU designs, and was why Apple was ahead in that area. But Apple needs more customized GPUs. Imagination refused to do that for them, their biggest customer by far. Imagination is a tiny firm. They refused for Microsoft as well, and both companies left. Now, Apple is designing their own, highly customized GPUs. It’s not likely that Intel would allow Apple to design highly customized CPUs either. But ARM does.
  • Reply 179 of 246
    asdasdasdasd Posts: 5,265member
    Who's panicking? I had already decided that Apple was making terrible decisions as far as it's computer hardware went and was already looking at the possibility of non-Apple hardware/OS solutions moving forward. I will soon be Apple free for the first time since 1982. Yes, I jumped from the Apple ][ series to Mac. Of course I waited almost 8 years after the introduction of the Mac for the hardware to improve and the software I needed to be available. Yes...I remained an Apple user during the PowerPC years. That was because I was heavily invested in software that I couldn't duplicate elsewhere, not because the sluggish processors and crappy computers kept me there...plus Windows was a pulsating ball of suck. I also transitioned to OS X and then Intel platforms because Apple under Jobs started making sense to me again. I already had a PocketPC phone when the iPhone came out so I wasn't completely dazzled and Jobs "walled garden" philosophy turned me into a dedicated Android user for my phone and pad. Going forward on my laptop and home system? Haven't made any hard decisions but this announcement eliminated Apple from ANY consideration as I don't want to relive the PowerPC days under yet another hapless CEO who is evoking in my mind the dismal days of the Scully/Amelio years. Apple learned that trying to keep up with dedicated processor manufacturers was a fool's gambit once, too bad they seem to think it's a good idea to try it again.
    Thats the first time I have heard the term "walled garden" for a long time. Thought that propaganda had dissipated. 

    Just because Apple is (possibly) using the ARM instruction set does not mean that it is trying to keep up with dedicated processor manufacturers. Not that Apple manufactured the PPC either. The companies manufacturing the chip will be the dedicated manufacturers like TSMC and Samsung, as it is now for the iPhone. In fact it will probably be the same chip. Of course Apple has added to the instruction set in some cases, maybe that is what is confusing you. But it didn't do that for the PPC.

    Personally I don't think the high end will ever be non-Intel for numerous reasons. 
  • Reply 180 of 246
    asdasdasdasd Posts: 5,265member

    Meanwhile, the entire Windows PC world is hyped up about the new 6-core Intel i9 on their laptops with GTX1080M GPUs which are basically skinny, yet powerful, gaming machines. Your move, Apple. Errr. I fear Apple has no answer for that. A-series SoCs are nice but not on all Apple computers. Some of us desktop people want a great deal more.
    Apple don't really care about gaming machines, is what it is. 
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