Why Apple will move Macs to ARM, and what consumers get

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  • Reply 61 of 148
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,925member
    tundraboy said:
    I don't believe it one bit.  Shifting laptops to ARM won't gain even one new Apple customer.  Closing down Intel Macs will lose a lot of customers, especially corporates.  It's a good thing that Apple is not run by pure tech geeks who understand only the technical aspects of the industry and nothing else.
    Who said anything about closing down Intel Macs?
    If they don’t then they’re expecting software developers to support 2 versions of their software. That’s what I can’t quite fathom - Apple’s ARM processors are plenty capable enough for the average user, but not for machines like the Mac Pro, so they either expect software for each line of machines, have the ARM run the x86 code or have the x86 processors run the ARM code. 
  • Reply 62 of 148
    MplsP said:
    tundraboy said:
    I don't believe it one bit.  Shifting laptops to ARM won't gain even one new Apple customer.  Closing down Intel Macs will lose a lot of customers, especially corporates.  It's a good thing that Apple is not run by pure tech geeks who understand only the technical aspects of the industry and nothing else.
    Who said anything about closing down Intel Macs?
    If they don’t then they’re expecting software developers to support 2 versions of their software. That’s what I can’t quite fathom - Apple’s ARM processors are plenty capable enough for the average user, but not for machines like the Mac Pro, so they either expect software for each line of machines, have the ARM run the x86 code or have the x86 processors run the ARM code. 
    When Apple transitioned from PowerPC (RISC) to INTEL developers only many one version that was compiled into a FAT binary for two different platforms because there is a layer of abstraction between the software and the hardware. Oddly, we're now reversing the from INTEL to ARM (RISC) which in many ways just a continuation of PowerPC.

    But I agree with what  lot of people are saying, I also need x86 compatibility. The really questions is the future x86 or ARM? ARM is now the dominant architecture for mobile devices and they makeup the majority of the world's computers.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 63 of 148
    mcdavemcdave Posts: 1,927member
    So we’re back to an iPad with an attached keyboard and no touchscreen. Remember Apple management see no place for a touchscreen on a laptop. So far I haven’t seen anyone with a real systems architecture background profess an ARM implementation being faster/better than the current intel implementations. Then there’s the software side of things. How many developers of win/mac versions are going to abandon mac because its just not worth the hassle of dealing with an new dev environment?
    Then those with a ‘real systems architecture’ background shouldn’t buy them. Those of us with business teams that do real work are impressed by how even an iPad Pro delivers higher business productivity. So we’ll probably buy them.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 64 of 148
    mcdavemcdave Posts: 1,927member
    tundraboy said:
    I don't believe it one bit.  Shifting laptops to ARM won't gain even one new Apple customer.  Closing down Intel Macs will lose a lot of customers, especially corporates.  It's a good thing that Apple is not run by pure tech geeks who understand only the technical aspects of the industry and nothing else.
    Why? Most corporates use PCs as browser hosts or RDP terminals. Macs are way more compatible with corporate computing than people think.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 65 of 148
    croprcropr Posts: 1,124member
    wizard69 said:
    cropr said:
    Using the Mac for cloud development, this could become an issue for me.  All major cloud providers are using an Intel architecture. 

    If Apple would move the whole Mac product line away from Intel there is absolutely no reason to keep a Mac as a development machine.   A Dell XPS with Ubuntu will not only have the price advantage (the current situation), but also the ease of use and speed advantage.

    My use case is of course only limited to a few percent of the market, but it could anyhow jeopardize the market share of Macs
    Seriously if you are a developer you should already know that the architecture of the processor in the cloud is not a big deal.  Most of those machines run Linux anyways and do so with specific feature (software) support on those systems.  I really don’t see an issue for cloud developers as long as you still have MacOS on the box and the freedom to install your favorite (cloud providers) software. 
    Apparently you have no clue about cloud developing.  Currently I develop locally, launching a set of Docker containers on a my development machine. The containers can run at almost native speed because the Mac has an Intel architecture.   If Apple moves fully away from Intel, it is not sure I can run those Docker containers on the new architecture, and even if Apple provides the necessary tools to eventually run these containers, they will run much slower and not hassle free.    Like I said, A Dell XPS with Ubuntu will have the price advantage, the ease of use and speed advantage.


    muthuk_vanalingammelgross
  • Reply 66 of 148
    mcdavemcdave Posts: 1,927member
    wizard69 said:
    rob53 said:
    Bigger issue will be GPUs. Does anyone have info on how graphics will be impacted by the change?
    Why do you assume a problem?    Apple will use integrated where it does now and discreet where it does now.  No big deal.  
    They’ve just patched things up with Imgtec so maybe their own dGPU.
  • Reply 67 of 148
    rob53 said:
    Bigger issue will be GPUs. Does anyone have info on how graphics will be impacted by the change?
    Well, considering that Apple already has great homegrown GPUs in the recent Ax SoCs (and those are constrained greatly by power/cooling constraints that are very much relaxed in a laptop or desktop, and considering that Metal2 is 100% optimized for ARM; I'd say that graphics will be just fine...
    knowitallrundhvidwatto_cobra
  • Reply 68 of 148
    Soli said:
    jkdsteve said:
    There's also the issue of I/O - PCIe and Thunderebolt etc.

    The consumer will no doubt suffer through quite a lot of teething issues in software and hardware.
    How is Intel making Thunderbolt royalty-free for other chip makers an issue for Apple?
    About 2 years ago, Intel made Thunderbolt 3 a Royalty-Free, Open Standard, and just gave it to the USB Standards Consortium.

    That's what USB 4.0 actually is:

    https://www.guru3d.com/news-story/intel-releases-thunderbolt-to-the-industry.html

    knowitallcyberzombie
  • Reply 69 of 148
    knowitallknowitall Posts: 1,648member
    I can't see a move to ARM happening so easily.  I think it's more likely that the report is referring to a future iPad, or some sort of Mac-iPad hybrid device - even though Apple has said they're not interested in a hybrid device.

    Either the ARM report is true, or the other current rumour (with apparent evidence) that Apple will use AMD x86 processors, is true. I can't see both being true. Why introduce another x86 vendor 1 year before you transition to ARM? Especially since AMD processors would be most useful down the low-end of the Apple Mac platform range, where AMD's APUs (CPU+GPU) provide better performance (at least for graphics) than Intel's offerings. I would think the low-end Mac range would be where an ARM transition would start. Of course, having an AMD Threadripper at the top of the Mac Pro range might be interesting too, but Intel's 8-core CPUs are doing quite nicely at present in the MacBook Pro notebooks.

    Also, Windows and Linux on ARM are not well supported yet. If Windows on ARM was compelling, there's be more reason for Apple to move to ARM. Without it, Apple would be disadvantaging lots of folks (me included) who run Windows on their Macs, either in a VM or using BootCamp.

    Finally, and I think importantly, moving the Mac to ARM would mean that Apple has to develop a much wider range of "A"-series CPUs. I just can't see Apple producing:

    • an "A17" for the iPhone
    • an "A17X" for the iPad
    • an "A17XX" for the MacBook (Pro)
    • an "A17XXX" for the iMac
    • an "A17XXXX" for the Mac Pro
    Intel and AMD are happily producing CPUs with up to 64 cores (AMD) for server-class workloads, and Apple employs a relatively high-end Intel Xeon in the Mac Pro. Is Apple really going to produce similar/equivalent ARM processors for all it's Mac platforms? And some would be in relatively small quantities (perhaps such as for Mac Pros). I don't think Apple could ever transition the Mac Pro to ARM without being accused of ignoring their "Pro" customers all over again.

    Either the move to ARM isn't going to happen, and Apple will use CPUs from AMD and Intel and keep each of them on their toes to give the best price and technology, or Apple will split the Mac line into ARM-powered low-end Macs, and higher-end Macs using x86 processors. All the "Pro" users and everyone who wants decent Windows/Linux support will keep using the x86 Macs for the foreseeable future. And the Mac App Store will have to provide ARM or x86 or "fat" binaries, as required.

    Several things: its about ARM not AMD (x86 is eol), Linux on ARM is very well supported, ARM for servers is already very well established (because of very favourable performance to watt ratio (compared to x86 architectures)), multicore architectures are standard ARM and 8 or more is not a problem at all, MS has windows on ARM so this runs fast on a ARM Mac, an equivalent to Xeon cpus is not at all a problem, Apple can produce the same processor for pads, phones and Macs, only the packaging and software performance settings will be different (also making a small production run of highly specialised processor chips is not that big of a burden), Apple is done with x86 (and rightly so) and will use its own processors from this year on I think.
    watto_cobrarossb2
  • Reply 70 of 148
    knowitallknowitall Posts: 1,648member
    mcdave said:
    tundraboy said:
    I don't believe it one bit.  Shifting laptops to ARM won't gain even one new Apple customer.  Closing down Intel Macs will lose a lot of customers, especially corporates.  It's a good thing that Apple is not run by pure tech geeks who understand only the technical aspects of the industry and nothing else.
    Why? Most corporates use PCs as browser hosts or RDP terminals. Macs are way more compatible with corporate computing than people think.
    Thats correct.
    Also Macs aren't very well established in corporate environments. So it's the (huge) gain they can make because of lower prices and better performance.
    watto_cobraanome
  • Reply 71 of 148
    knowitallknowitall Posts: 1,648member

    cropr said:
    wizard69 said:
    cropr said:
    Using the Mac for cloud development, this could become an issue for me.  All major cloud providers are using an Intel architecture. 

    If Apple would move the whole Mac product line away from Intel there is absolutely no reason to keep a Mac as a development machine.   A Dell XPS with Ubuntu will not only have the price advantage (the current situation), but also the ease of use and speed advantage.

    My use case is of course only limited to a few percent of the market, but it could anyhow jeopardize the market share of Macs
    Seriously if you are a developer you should already know that the architecture of the processor in the cloud is not a big deal.  Most of those machines run Linux anyways and do so with specific feature (software) support on those systems.  I really don’t see an issue for cloud developers as long as you still have MacOS on the box and the freedom to install your favorite (cloud providers) software. 
    Apparently you have no clue about cloud developing.  Currently I develop locally, launching a set of Docker containers on a my development machine. The containers can run at almost native speed because the Mac has an Intel architecture.   If Apple moves fully away from Intel, it is not sure I can run those Docker containers on the new architecture, and even if Apple provides the necessary tools to eventually run these containers, they will run much slower and not hassle free.    Like I said, A Dell XPS with Ubuntu will have the price advantage, the ease of use and speed advantage.


    Apparently you have no clue about computers.
    Docker seems completely cpu architecture agnostic, it's the aim of the project ...
    Get your facts straight: https://www.docker.com/blog/getting-started-with-docker-for-arm-on-linux/
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 72 of 148
    knowitallknowitall Posts: 1,648member
    melgross said:

    knowitall said:

    mham4908 said:
    The technology for ARM to do the extensive multi-tasking that Intel chips provide does not exist today. Arm chips can only now do very small multi-tasking operations. The technology for ARM is still several years away. The main advantage for Apple is Temperature, always on, non comparability with the open architecture that Intel has, (IE Kill Hackintosh) and MORE PROFIT. The most important for them being the last two. Because we know even with the bargain basement chip that ARM is Apple will not drop their pricing. I am old enough to remember when Mac had a completely closed architecture and sales was probably 1% of what it is today. Moving to Intel allowed them to grow to where they are today. ARM will be the death of Mac. Not Apply but the Mac for sure.  
    Current Arm chips are equal or better in performance compared to Intel x86 chips, single or multi (hardware) threading.
    ARM will be Macs biggest breakthrough.

    Edit: fixed threading
    That’s not entirely true. They’re better in some things, but not as good in others. You can’t just look at basic tests and assume the rest.
    I think I can.
  • Reply 73 of 148
    crowleycrowley Posts: 10,453member
    knowitall said:

    cropr said:
    wizard69 said:
    cropr said:
    Using the Mac for cloud development, this could become an issue for me.  All major cloud providers are using an Intel architecture. 

    If Apple would move the whole Mac product line away from Intel there is absolutely no reason to keep a Mac as a development machine.   A Dell XPS with Ubuntu will not only have the price advantage (the current situation), but also the ease of use and speed advantage.

    My use case is of course only limited to a few percent of the market, but it could anyhow jeopardize the market share of Macs
    Seriously if you are a developer you should already know that the architecture of the processor in the cloud is not a big deal.  Most of those machines run Linux anyways and do so with specific feature (software) support on those systems.  I really don’t see an issue for cloud developers as long as you still have MacOS on the box and the freedom to install your favorite (cloud providers) software. 
    Apparently you have no clue about cloud developing.  Currently I develop locally, launching a set of Docker containers on a my development machine. The containers can run at almost native speed because the Mac has an Intel architecture.   If Apple moves fully away from Intel, it is not sure I can run those Docker containers on the new architecture, and even if Apple provides the necessary tools to eventually run these containers, they will run much slower and not hassle free.    Like I said, A Dell XPS with Ubuntu will have the price advantage, the ease of use and speed advantage.


    Apparently you have no clue about computers.
    Docker seems completely cpu architecture agnostic, it's the aim of the project ...
    Get your facts straight: https://www.docker.com/blog/getting-started-with-docker-for-arm-on-linux/
    Aims and achievements are different things.  The article you're linked to explains how you can build for multiple architectures, but if you're reliant on containers from other vendors there's certainly no guarantee that they've followed this advice.  Much as there's no guarantee that developers will recompile Mac Apps for ARM, even if Apple makes it as easy as humanly possible.
  • Reply 74 of 148
    crowleycrowley Posts: 10,453member
    knowitall said:
    melgross said:

    knowitall said:

    mham4908 said:
    The technology for ARM to do the extensive multi-tasking that Intel chips provide does not exist today. Arm chips can only now do very small multi-tasking operations. The technology for ARM is still several years away. The main advantage for Apple is Temperature, always on, non comparability with the open architecture that Intel has, (IE Kill Hackintosh) and MORE PROFIT. The most important for them being the last two. Because we know even with the bargain basement chip that ARM is Apple will not drop their pricing. I am old enough to remember when Mac had a completely closed architecture and sales was probably 1% of what it is today. Moving to Intel allowed them to grow to where they are today. ARM will be the death of Mac. Not Apply but the Mac for sure.  
    Current Arm chips are equal or better in performance compared to Intel x86 chips, single or multi (hardware) threading.
    ARM will be Macs biggest breakthrough.

    Edit: fixed threading
    That’s not entirely true. They’re better in some things, but not as good in others. You can’t just look at basic tests and assume the rest.
    I think I can.
    Then you are making a mistake.  Test suites may be indicative in the general sense, but real world performance can vary significantly depending on the use case.

    I think you're probably right that users, certainly at the low to mid end will see significant gains from ARM on Mac, but at the higher end it may get hazier.
  • Reply 75 of 148
    knowitallknowitall Posts: 1,648member
    crowley said:
    knowitall said:

    cropr said:
    wizard69 said:
    cropr said:
    Using the Mac for cloud development, this could become an issue for me.  All major cloud providers are using an Intel architecture. 

    If Apple would move the whole Mac product line away from Intel there is absolutely no reason to keep a Mac as a development machine.   A Dell XPS with Ubuntu will not only have the price advantage (the current situation), but also the ease of use and speed advantage.

    My use case is of course only limited to a few percent of the market, but it could anyhow jeopardize the market share of Macs
    Seriously if you are a developer you should already know that the architecture of the processor in the cloud is not a big deal.  Most of those machines run Linux anyways and do so with specific feature (software) support on those systems.  I really don’t see an issue for cloud developers as long as you still have MacOS on the box and the freedom to install your favorite (cloud providers) software. 
    Apparently you have no clue about cloud developing.  Currently I develop locally, launching a set of Docker containers on a my development machine. The containers can run at almost native speed because the Mac has an Intel architecture.   If Apple moves fully away from Intel, it is not sure I can run those Docker containers on the new architecture, and even if Apple provides the necessary tools to eventually run these containers, they will run much slower and not hassle free.    Like I said, A Dell XPS with Ubuntu will have the price advantage, the ease of use and speed advantage.


    Apparently you have no clue about computers.
    Docker seems completely cpu architecture agnostic, it's the aim of the project ...
    Get your facts straight: https://www.docker.com/blog/getting-started-with-docker-for-arm-on-linux/
    Aims and achievements are different things.  The article you're linked to explains how you can build for multiple architectures, but if you're reliant on containers from other vendors there's certainly no guarantee that they've followed this advice.  Much as there's no guarantee that developers will recompile Mac Apps for ARM, even if Apple makes it as easy as humanly possible.
    Ok, true, then that's the selection criteria for cloud service vendors.
    In this case I would say switch to a vendor that does understand wat it is doing.
    watto_cobracyberzombie
  • Reply 76 of 148
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 2,673member
    tjwolf said:
    The author gives Apple's previous two CPU transitions as an indicator for a successful ARM transition.  But he's kind of ignoring the fact that in those two prior transitions, the CPU being moved to was significantly faster than the CPU being migrated from.  This then allowed the use of emulation software ("Rosetta") to let users continue using "legacy" software without too much of a performance penalty.    ARM is not significantly faster than Intel chips, so how will Apple handle this transitional period in which users need/want to continue using legacy software?


    That's not completely true. First, Intel's CPU were not significantly faster than the PowerPCs they replaced. They were fast enough to allow Rosetta to work without users noticing much of change in performance. Also, Rosetta was not an emulator it was a translator. It's a relatively small performance hit (10%) to translate one set of instructions to another. On today's computers that's fairly insignificant as most people rarely "red line" their computers.

    watto_cobrapscooter63
  • Reply 77 of 148
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 2,673member

    DRB said:
    When Apple decided to move from PowerPC (RISC) to X86 (CISC), they had a strategy to move ALL of their computers to the X86 platform. It took a couple of years for the roll out of the hardware products, but it took a few more years for the software apps to be re-written from the ground up to X86, Microsoft being one of the hold outs. Apple DOES NOT HAVE a complete platform of ARM based processors that they can roll out a completely new line of Macs that are ALL based on ARM processors. PERIOD. I highly doubt Apple is going to muddy up and confuse everyone by having some Macs running ARM and other Macs running X86. it will cause more confusion with the application developers and that's going to cause even more confusion. 

    There will be no "confusion". There will be just Macs. Regardless of the CPU inside, it'll be a Mac that runs Mac software. Period. The only confused people will be those that over think what's happening without an understanding of how it works.

    The only developers that took forever to bring their software up to par, were those that did not use Xcode. Today, that's basically no one. It's a matter of checking a box in Xcode to determine target ISAs (Yes, plural. The same application can be compiled and run on multiple CPU platforms.)
    Soliwatto_cobrapscooter63asdasd
  • Reply 78 of 148
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 2,673member
    So we’re back to an iPad with an attached keyboard and no touchscreen. Remember Apple management see no place for a touchscreen on a laptop. So far I haven’t seen anyone with a real systems architecture background profess an ARM implementation being faster/better than the current intel implementations. Then there’s the software side of things. How many developers of win/mac versions are going to abandon mac because its just not worth the hassle of dealing with an new dev environment?

    Huh? What are you talking about?

    First of all, just because it's ARM it does not mean it has to run iOS. So no, it won't be an iPad with keyboard and non-touchscreen.

    Second, the argument for switching to an Apple CPU from Intel has nothing to do with performance. It's about Apple being able to control the Mac's future; they're currently reliant on Intel to release updated Macs.

    Last, but not least, there will not be a new development environment. It'll be Xcode and Swift (or Objective-C) and Apple's APIs, just as it is now.


    watto_cobrapscooter63
  • Reply 79 of 148
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,925member
    mjtomlin said:
    tjwolf said:
    The author gives Apple's previous two CPU transitions as an indicator for a successful ARM transition.  But he's kind of ignoring the fact that in those two prior transitions, the CPU being moved to was significantly faster than the CPU being migrated from.  This then allowed the use of emulation software ("Rosetta") to let users continue using "legacy" software without too much of a performance penalty.    ARM is not significantly faster than Intel chips, so how will Apple handle this transitional period in which users need/want to continue using legacy software?


    That's not completely true. First, Intel's CPU were not significantly faster than the PowerPCs they replaced. They were fast enough to allow Rosetta to work without users noticing much of change in performance. Also, Rosetta was not an emulator it was a translator. It's a relatively small performance hit (10%) to translate one set of instructions to another. On today's computers that's fairly insignificant as most people rarely "red line" their computers.

    I thought the main reason for switching to Intel was not power per se but because Intel had superior low-power processors for laptops? I know desktop performance was a consideration as well but I don’t recall it being that discrepant at the time of the switch.

    MplsP said:
    tundraboy said:
    I don't believe it one bit.  Shifting laptops to ARM won't gain even one new Apple customer.  Closing down Intel Macs will lose a lot of customers, especially corporates.  It's a good thing that Apple is not run by pure tech geeks who understand only the technical aspects of the industry and nothing else.
    Who said anything about closing down Intel Macs?
    If they don’t then they’re expecting software developers to support 2 versions of their software. That’s what I can’t quite fathom - Apple’s ARM processors are plenty capable enough for the average user, but not for machines like the Mac Pro, so they either expect software for each line of machines, have the ARM run the x86 code or have the x86 processors run the ARM code. 
    When Apple transitioned from PowerPC (RISC) to INTEL developers only many one version that was compiled into a FAT binary for two different platforms because there is a layer of abstraction between the software and the hardware. Oddly, we're now reversing the from INTEL to ARM (RISC) which in many ways just a continuation of PowerPC.

    But I agree with what  lot of people are saying, I also need x86 compatibility. The really questions is the future x86 or ARM? ARM is now the dominant architecture for mobile devices and they makeup the majority of the world's computers.
    Yes, developers can ship a dual binary the way the did before, but with the PPC-Intel switch it was a more temporary requirement as Apple switched their entire line of computers over to intel. If they were to switch the lower end computers to ARM processors and keep the higher end Macs on intel then they’re essentially asking developers to support dual-coded software for the foreseeable future. My concern is the added burden of doing so would drive developers away, decreasing the software base. 

    Like you, a lot of people take advantage of the x86 architecture with boot camp or virtual machines. Boot camp would obviously be out. I don’t know how well a virtual machine would run on an ARM processor; it would probably depend on what you needed it for.
  • Reply 80 of 148
    SoliSoli Posts: 10,035member
    Soli said:
    jkdsteve said:
    There's also the issue of I/O - PCIe and Thunderebolt etc.

    The consumer will no doubt suffer through quite a lot of teething issues in software and hardware.
    How is Intel making Thunderbolt royalty-free for other chip makers an issue for Apple?
    About 2 years ago, Intel made Thunderbolt 3 a Royalty-Free, Open Standard, and just gave it to the USB Standards Consortium.

    That's what USB 4.0 actually is:

    https://www.guru3d.com/news-story/intel-releases-thunderbolt-to-the-industry.html

    I'll ask again, "How is Intel making Thunderbolt royalty-free for other chip makers an issue for Apple?" Everything you wrote backs up my reply to jkdsteve.
    watto_cobra
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