This week on AI: No Mac Pro until 2019, Apple to ditch Intel CPUs, 2018 iPad reviewed & mo...

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News on future products kicked back into fifth gear, with word that a modular Mac Pro won't arrive until 2019, and that Apple may ditch Intel processors in 2020. We also reviewed the 2018 "budget" iPad, and caught a glimpse of the possible futures for Siri and the iPhone.




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Everything you need to know:

  • Two years from now, your next Mac may have an Apple-designed CPU > >
  • AppleInsider reviewed the sixth-generation iPad > >
  • Apple has officially delayed the new Mac Pro into 2019 > >
  • The company plucked a major Google executive to head its AI and machine learning efforts > >
  • Future iPhones could have touchless gestures and curved screens > >
  • Final Cut Pro X is getting an update with a new ProRes RAW format > >
  • Apple and Facebook slagged each other over their privacy policies > >
For in-depth discussion of this week's hottest stories, listen to the AppleInsider podcast. Subscribe here, or stream the embed below:

A roundup of all of our hottest stories this week:

Review: 2018 iPad with Apple Pencil support might replace your iPad Pro

Apple planning to ditch Intel chips in Macs for its own custom silicon in 2020

Apple modular Mac Pro launch coming in 2019, new engineering group formed to guarantee future of hardware

Apple nabs Google's chief of AI and search John Giannandrea to broaden Siri, self-driving car programs

Apple experimenting with touchless controls & curved screens for future iPhones

Final Cut Pro X update brings ProRes RAW format, improved closed captioning

Mark Zuckerberg calls Tim Cook's anti-Facebook retort 'glib,' defends ad-based model

Apple releases first developer betas of iOS 11.4, tvOS 11.4, and watchOS 4.3.1

Video: Everything new in iOS 11.4 including AirPlay 2, Messages in iCloud, and more

Apple to report fiscal Q2 2018 earnings on May 1

Apple and TSMC starting Apple Watch MicroLED display mass production later this year

Feature: A brief history of the iPad, Apple's once and future tablet

Apple says male UK staff earn average of 5 percent more than women

Apple's morning show drama switches showrunners after creator leaves project

Apple Pay makes long-awaited debut in Brazil

Apple Music hits landmark 40 million paid subscribers

Apple's Tim Cook to be deposed June 27 as part of Qualcomm countersuit

Review: WeMo Bridge adds HomeKit & Siri support to your Belkin smart home accessories

Apple opposes EPA repeal of Clean Power Plan, citing impact to investments

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 9
    Some of us remember what a dead end the Power PC chips turned out to be. Apple moving back to non-Intel chips scares me.
    Mike1969xzu
  • Reply 2 of 9
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,631member
    Some of us remember what a dead end the Power PC chips turned out to be. Apple moving back to non-Intel chips scares me.
    Well that’s a lot less likely if they’re designing the chips themselves.  

    StrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 9
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,223moderator
    Some of us remember what a dead end the Power PC chips turned out to be. Apple moving back to non-Intel chips scares me.
    Times have changed since this happened. Today's computers are roughly 8x faster than they were back then and have 4-8x more RAM. What's become evident the more ubiquitous that computers have become is that all CPU development is a dead-end for all but the most specialist fields of work. If you gave 99% of computing users today a chip that was 100x faster, they wouldn't know what to do with it and likely wouldn't notice the difference beyond the battery life being better. A lot of heavy computing has been moved to the GPU.

    Apple today also sells around 5x the amount of Macs since they switched to Intel and while that was partly helped by the switch, it was massively helped by the iPhone, which put Apple back into everyday conversation in a positive way e.g 'hey, this company makes awesome phones, I wonder if they also make awesome computers. Well look at that, they do'. The iPhone brought developers back to the Mac.

    ARM chips would likely mean they won't have to emulate iOS development on Macs, which would be better than it is now.

    Windows will soon support 64-bit apps on ARM so if Bootcamp is still an option, they can support this version of Windows:

    https://www.engadget.com/2018/04/05/microsoft-windows-arm-pc-64-bit-sdk-build/

    The main reason Apple uses other manufacturers' chips in the first place is because they originally didn't make their own chips, just like other computer companies such as HP, Dell and Lenovo.

    Another difference today with ARM compared to PPC is that hardly anyone used or uses PPC chips. Even in servers, they have single digit marketshare:

    https://www.pcworld.com/article/3087817/battle-lines-are-drawn-ibm-prepares-power9-to-take-on-intel-and-arm.html

    More than 3 billion people use ARM chips for everyday computing tasks already.

    Nobody wants compatibility headaches and I'm certain Apple doesn't either. They wouldn't put in efforts to support eGPUs over Thunderbolt to then throw it all out. They could get Intel to manufacture custom chips for them if necessary. There's plenty of preparation being made for such a transition. Dropping 32-bit draws a line for support of plugins and binaries so people will be well aware of what is supported going forward before any major transition happens and everything that is supported after that should be easily supported on another set of hardware.

    I don't really see much to be gained in making this kind of switch for the higher-end Macs (below iMac Pro / Mac Pro) because it would be a small fraction of the price but $100-200 on the low-end can make the difference for large purchasing decisions in education and business and it would save a lot for the iMac and Mac Pro. If that's what they want to target, it's best to take the whole lineup over rather than have two sets of software. It's far enough away that it's not worth bothering about now because CPUs and GPUs will be faster again by the point any switch is due to happen and people will have a different vantage point from which to assess any potential problems. People can easily buy a 2019 x86 Mac and use it until 2029.
    edited April 2018 watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 9
    thttht Posts: 3,229member
    Marvin said:
    Some of us remember what a dead end the Power PC chips turned out to be. Apple moving back to non-Intel chips scares me.
    Times have changed since this happened.
    It can’t be reiterated enough. The most important thing about chip performance, strategic importance, are the fabs. In the past, Intel was always the leader, by years sometimes, because of favorable money flows due to their dominance in PC chips. They had the most money to keep pushing to the next node the fastest.

    This looks like it is not true anymore because the phone market has a lot more money it, a lot more users, a lot more use. It’s been flat out amazing to watch over the last ten years and seeing TSMC and Samsung catch up. Something a lot of people thought couldn’t happen.

    They were at least a full node to a node and a half behind Intel 7 to 8 years ago. The A5X was a 165 mm^2 chip on Samsung’s 45 nm process in 2012. That was a PC chip sized SoC. Intel was shipping 32 nm processors in 2010, basically two years earlier. By the end of this year, Apple may have A12 and A11X SoCs on TSMC 7 nm and Intel will have Cannon Lake Y series, maybe U series, processors out on 10 nm. The two fabs should be pretty equivalent in transistor densities.

    My bet is Apple’s SoCs this fall will outright outperform those Cannon Lake processors, and will match Coffee Lake at 15 W even though they are sitting in 5 W TDP devices.

    After that, the race is on to 5 nm and Intel doesn’t have much provocation to get there fast, while the ARM world will be eating themselves alive to get the next node. I bet Intel is going be at 10 nm for 5 years. They’ve been at 14 nm for 4 years.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 9
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 1,968member
    Whenever Apple moves to in-house CPU/GPU for MACs, it still have to maintain MacOS releases for both platforms for a while that may be cost prohibitive to ditch Intel..
  • Reply 6 of 9
    gustavgustav Posts: 824member
    wood1208 said:
    Whenever Apple moves to in-house CPU/GPU for MACs, it still have to maintain MacOS releases for both platforms for a while that may be cost prohibitive to ditch Intel..
    They did it for 68K -> PPC, they did it for PPC -> Intel, and I'm sure it can be done for Intel -> whatever; assuming this happens, that is.

    Though sadly these days, so many desktop apps are electron apps, so I'm not sure it'll matter.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 9
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 7,974member
    wood1208 said:
    Whenever Apple moves to in-house CPU/GPU for MACs, it still have to maintain MacOS releases for both platforms for a while that may be cost prohibitive to ditch Intel..
    What do media access controllers have to do with this?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 9
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,155member
    Some of us remember what a dead end the Power PC chips turned out to be. Apple moving back to non-Intel chips scares me.
    A lot of people think that Intel is a dead end these days and that that’s precisely why Apple is considering the move to in house CPUs.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 9
    misamisa Posts: 827member
    tht said:
    Marvin said:
    Some of us remember what a dead end the Power PC chips turned out to be. Apple moving back to non-Intel chips scares me.
    Times have changed since this happened.
    It can’t be reiterated enough. The most important thing about chip performance, strategic importance, are the fabs. In the past, Intel was always the leader, by years sometimes, because of favorable money flows due to their dominance in PC chips. They had the most money to keep pushing to the next node the fastest.

    This looks like it is not true anymore because the phone market has a lot more money it, a lot more users, a lot more use. It’s been flat out amazing to watch over the last ten years and seeing TSMC and Samsung catch up. Something a lot of people thought couldn’t happen.

    They were at least a full node to a node and a half behind Intel 7 to 8 years ago. The A5X was a 165 mm^2 chip on Samsung’s 45 nm process in 2012. That was a PC chip sized SoC. Intel was shipping 32 nm processors in 2010, basically two years earlier. By the end of this year, Apple may have A12 and A11X SoCs on TSMC 7 nm and Intel will have Cannon Lake Y series, maybe U series, processors out on 10 nm. The two fabs should be pretty equivalent in transistor densities.

    My bet is Apple’s SoCs this fall will outright outperform those Cannon Lake processors, and will match Coffee Lake at 15 W even though they are sitting in 5 W TDP devices.

    After that, the race is on to 5 nm and Intel doesn’t have much provocation to get there fast, while the ARM world will be eating themselves alive to get the next node. I bet Intel is going be at 10 nm for 5 years. They’ve been at 14 nm for 4 years.
    Hardly.

    What many pundits, analysts and arm-chair stock pickers see is "Apple makes it's own CPU, so logically they will use their own CPU" and have been saying so ever since the A4. Still isn't true today.

    Any rumor to them switching is likely a way to twist Intel's arm. 

    Likewise what is appropriate for ARM is not appropriate for the desktop. At best making an "ARM" laptop is the only case where it could be used to save batteries, but they would not make a MacOS ARM Laptop, they would make iPadtop. History has proven time and time again that you can not shoehorn one use case into another, and shoehorning ARM CPU's into a device that is designed for heavy CPU processing will ultimately result in failure. Apple's own chips are only designed for power-sipping purposes, and that is where they are better than options from Intel. But all the software is compiled for those ARM devices and the user interface of iOS.

    If you suddenly release something like a MacPro ARM edition, you would have to push up the power requirements and thus the cooling requirements to get something comparable, and that I do not believe is going to happen. For all we know those chips do not work at all at 125 watt TDP. And then what are you going to do about the GPU problem? Intel iGPU's have been rubbish and always have been rubbish. Hence this bizarre hybrid Intel-AMD chip, seems like a way to go "Hey uh Apple, we can do something about that , really we can." 

    But I think ultimately the push is going to come from VR, because no Apple device can do VR right now, and that is an entirely self-inflicted wound due to not incorporating a standard PCIe GPU. And no, an External GPU won't cut it unless it connects 16 lanes like an internal one would. If Apple switched to it's own parts, it would need to substantially increase the GPU performance, and I doubt it can hit GeForce 1080Ti levels without consuming 900 watts, and I'd be seriously worried about a single chip that consumes that much power being confined to an itty bitty "Mac Pro" cylinder or "iMac Pro" all-in-one.
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