Apple was cautious when it shifted to Intel, and an ARM Mac migration will be no different...

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in General Discussion
Apple took a convoluted 20-year journey to shift the Mac to Intel processors, and it isn't jumping into ARM on a whim. Here's what the previous journey looked like.

Steve Jobs welcomes Intel to the Mac in 2005
Steve Jobs welcomes Intel to the Mac in 2005


There have been rumors for a decade that Apple will move the Mac from Intel to ARM processors. It's no surprise that if it happens, Apple will have spent a time getting the ARM Mac ready, but we might discover that Apple has been thinking about it for a lot longer.

That's because the 2005 move to Intel had its roots going back far, far further than was suspected at the time.

If you are truly a long-time Mac user, then you can imagine how strange it must have been when the familiar startup chime first came out of an Intel PC. But it wasn't in 2005 as Steve Jobs announced was announcing the first Intel Macs, though. Instead, the familiar Mac startup was first shown on a PC all the way back on December 4, 1992.

And even that wasn't the start of Apple's move to Intel.

The first steps

The original Macintosh was launched on January 24, 1984, and ran on the Motorola 68000 processor. It wasn't an immediate success, though, and that's partly because it expensive, partly because it was slow. By 1985, Microsoft's Bill Gates was calling it a failure -- and he was telling Apple how to fix it.

Bill Gates in 2020
Bill Gates in 2020


In June 1985, Gates wrote a multi-page memo to then-CEO John Sculley detailing why he thought Apple should license the Mac operating system. While he wrote praisingly about the Intel architecture in IBM PCs, he didn't specify that he meant the Mac should run it.

Apple's own Dan Eilers did. Apple didn't take Gates up on his offer of helping out, but the company did task Eilers, then its director of strategic investment, with looking into it. He strongly proposed that Apple moved to Intel and he wasn't alone.

Larry Tesler, inventor of copy-and-paste on computers, revealed in 2011 that the whole engineering team had wanted the move.

"We had actually tried a few years before to port the MacOS to Intel, but there was so much machine code still there, that to make it be able to run both, it was just really really hard," he said.

"And so a number of the senior engineers and I got together and we recommended that first we modernize the operating system, and then we try to get it to run on Intel, initially by developing our own in-house operating system which turned out to be one of these projects that just grew and grew and never finished."

Also in the team at this time, and very much on board with an Intel move, was Alan Kay, practically a legend in computing. His argument, as quoted in Owen Linzmayer's "Apple Confidential 2.0," was that what made the Mac special was its operating system, and its software.

"When you're in the software business you have to run on every platform," Kay says he told Apple management. "So you must put the Mac operating system on the PC and put it on Sun workstations and put it on everything else because that's what you do when you're in the software business, right?"

Kay called this "probably the largest battle I lost here at Apple," and the company did not move to Intel in 1985. It tried to hammer out a deal in 1987, but the company did come close to it with the now forgotten Apollo Computer of Massachusetts.

The two companies did many collaborations, but this one would've seen the Mac operating system licensed to Apollo. If John Sculley hadn't decided Apollo wasn't going to stick around much longer, Apple would've had its first clone then and surely Intel machines would've followed.

The original Mac ran on a Motorola 68000 processor, but even shortly afterwards, Apple engineers wanted a move to Intel
The original Mac ran on a Motorola 68000 processor, but even shortly afterwards, Apple engineers wanted a move to Intel


As it is, it took until August 1990 before Dan Eilers tried again. He was even more insistent than Bill Gates had been, and presented what is reportedly a 112-page memo to management to try and sell the concept.

Apple gets bold

It was around this time that Windows 3 came out, and in 1992 would become a real threat to Apple with the much improved Windows 3.1. Early in 1992, though, Apple was not the only company looking under threat -- so was Novell.

Whether it was Novell being convincing in its desire to license the Mac OS to run on Intel, or Eilers' making a better case, Apple started to move to Intel on February 14, 1992. At John Sculley's direction, the project was started and it was called "Star Trek."

The project was called that because it was also known as taking the Mac "where no Mac has gone before," into Intel territory. Bill Gates wasn't impressed. Maybe because it was seven years after he'd suggested it, he called Apple running the Mac on Intel as being "like putting lipstick on a chicken."

It was expensive lipstick. Apple and Novell together put four engineers on the project, headed by Chris DeRossi. On top of their unknown salaries, the four were promised a bonus if they could get the Mac running successfully on a PC. The bonuses, according to Linzmayer, ranged from $16,000 to $25,000.

In today's money, that's between $30,000 and $45,700, and the team did it. Or at least, they did it enough to get those bonuses and reportedly spend a lot of them on a doubtlessly deserved holiday.

DeRossi and Apple's vice president of software engineering, Roger Heinen, presented the results on December 4, 1992. That's when the first Intel Mac started up, complete with its "Welcome to Macintosh" front screen.

L-R: Steve Jobs, John Sculley, Steve Wozniak
L-R: Steve Jobs, John Sculley, Steve Wozniak


What the team had done was get System 7.1 running on a PC -- but in truth it was a little more basic than that. Not all of the system was running, for one thing, but the chief issue was that it was only System 7.1 that would run at all. No apps did.

Unfortunately, John Sculley was on his way out when that demo happened. His replacement Michael Spindler didn't agree that licensing an Intel version of the Mac was a good idea. Plus, one of the two demonstrators, Roger Heinen, left Apple and went to work for Microsoft.

Spindler didn't cancel the project right away, but he might as well have. The original team of four had become one of 18, and then as Sculley left and Apple's Advanced Technology Group took over the project, it became 50.

Today Apple might well put 50 people working on a project, but back then, it was an expensive proposition. Especially so when Apple was then successfully committing to the PowerPC. And, especially when the 50 were reportedly engaged mostly in writing proposals instead of code.

Consequently, they were an easy target when Spindler needed to cut costs. And in June 1993, the "Star Trek" project was cancelled and no more work was done on that move to Intel.

Steve Jobs returns, and Apple bears down

"It's perfectly technically feasible to port [Mac OS X] Panther to any processor," said Steve Jobs in November 2003. "We're running it on the PowerPC and we're very happy with the PowerPC. We have all the options in the world, but the PowerPC road map looks very strong so we don't have any plans to switch processor families at this point."

According to Linzmayer, Jobs said this at an analyst meeting conference call, but beyond that account, we couldn't confirm the quote. If it is accurate, though, then something big changed right after it -- and it's probably to do with that phrase "road map."

Ultimately, Jobs would say the opposite at the launch of the transition to Intel, that PowerPC just didn't have the future Apple needed. Internally, though, Jobs or at least enough key personnel within Apple had been suspecting this for some time.






Around the year 2000, Apple began working on what would become the successful move. "Mac OS X has been leading a secret double life for the past five years," revealed Steve Jobs at the 2005 launch.

"There have been rumors to this effect," he continued, to laughter from a knowing WWDC 2005 audience who may had been reading half a decade's worth of rumors about it on AppleInsider. Jobs showed a slide marking the precise building at Apple's Infinite Loop campus where the work took place. "Right there, we've had teams doing the just-in-case scenario."

"Our rule has been that our designs for OS X must be processor independent," he said. "And that every project must be built for both the PowerPC and Intel processors. So today for the first time, I can confirm the rumors that every release of Mac OS X has been compiled for both PowerPC and Intel. This has been going on for the last five years."

Specifically, it had been going on since the release of Mac OS X Cheetah, which was released to the public on March 21, 2001.

Lessons for ARM

It's no surprise whatsoever that anything Apple does is planned in advance. Even a new Apple Watch band takes some work before it's announced to the public, so a gigantic change such as a move to a new processor is going to take time. It is going to start in secret, too, as Apple has learned that transition projects can go wrong.

Those first projects may have failed to move the Mac over to Intel, but once Apple truly committed to doing it, the company worked very quickly and very efficiently. That transition of the entire Mac lineup was incredibly smooth, and that's one reason why we can make some assumptions about the move to ARM.

First, it's been well and probably very long-planned. That's both in terms of the technology -- you can be certain that there are ARM-based Macs in Apple Park right now -- but also in terms of the transition.

What may be the most significant lesson from the Intel move, though, comes in that quote from Steve Jobs. "Our rule has been that our designs for OS X must be processor independent."

Having separated out the operating system so that it could sit atop either PowerPC or Intel, it seems unlikely that Apple will have ever decided to undo that. The current macOS is probably in a similar position and that means it won't need rewriting to work on ARM.

Apps will need work, as we saw in the Intel move, and even before that with the transition to PowerPC. Where the '90s project was a gigantic rewriting of the operating system to get it to work on Intel's processors, Apple has set the table with moves it has made for the last two decades to try and make that migration dramatically easier.

Or at least, easier for Apple. Regardless of the underpinnings of the operating system, it is still going to be the case that developers will shoulder a large burden. That will mean some developers having more complex jobs to do than others.

Users left in the cold with apps that don't make the transition won't benefit. But, the majority of the Mac using base, especially those yet to come, will see big benefits, though.


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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 32
    Why does this obsession the media has with this “switch from Intel to ARM” persist?  Having the Intel processor is key to keeping and getting converts from Windows. If my Mac couldn’t also run Windows stuff, I wouldn’t buy it. (I started buying Macs when they moved to Intel to begin with). Maybe they will add it as a secondary processor, but I doubt they are going to outright replace Intel cpus. It makes no sense. And I wish these stories speculating about it would cease. 
    edited June 2020 maltz
  • Reply 2 of 32
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,105administrator
    Why does this obsession the media has with this “switch from Intel to ARM” persist?  Having the Intel processor is key to keeping and getting converts from Windows. If my Mac couldn’t also run Windows stuff, I wouldn’t buy it. (I started buying Macs when they moved to Intel to begin with). Maybe they will add it as a secondary processor, but I doubt they are going to outright replace Intel cpus. It makes no sense. And I wish these stories speculating about it would cease. 
    Well, given that both William and I are Mac users dating back to the '80s and have gone through two architecture shifts, there's a larger perspective you may not be seeing.

    I understand that running Windows on Mac is your use case, but that is not even remotely a universal one -- and this is addressed in the piece. In regards to "add it as a secondary processor," Apple has already done this for the last four years with the T1 and T2 processors.

    And, it's not like your old gear is going to burst into flames, or Apple will renovate the entire product line top to bottom immediately. Windows compatibility will still be around on the "Pro"-level hardware for a while.
    edited June 2020 jdb8167Xedmuthuk_vanalingamStrangeDaysfastasleepwatto_cobrawilliamlondonjony0
  • Reply 3 of 32
    XedXed Posts: 826member
    Why does this obsession the media has with this “switch from Intel to ARM” persist?  Having the Intel processor is key to keeping and getting converts from Windows. If my Mac couldn’t also run Windows stuff, I wouldn’t buy it. (I started buying Macs when they moved to Intel to begin with). Maybe they will add it as a secondary processor, but I doubt they are going to outright replace Intel cpus. It makes no sense. And I wish these stories speculating about it would cease
    And I wish people would stop speculating that without Windows (which runs great on ARM already) the Mac wouldn't have any sales. This inevitable move will grow the Mac user base to its highest levels yet.
    edited June 2020 watto_cobraaderutter
  • Reply 4 of 32
    This article adds some needed context. There is so much hand wringing with the ramping up of the processor change rumors and people seem to forget that this isn't Apple's first time to this rodeo and that in last to cases the change wasn't done because Apple had nothing better to do. Both the move to PowerPC and Intel benefitted the Mac. As for developers, there is more incentive to support the architecture change than there was in the Intel move. In 2005 Apple sold 4.5 million Macs, now they sell four times that number. The incentive to stay on MacOS is larger than it has ever been. 
    watto_cobraaderutter
  • Reply 5 of 32
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,788member
    Apple's transition to Intel was kicked off with an X86 system that ran stealthily inside a PowerMac G5 enclosure. These "Transition Kits" were loaned to developers for $999. A few months later, the kits had to be returned to Apple, but developers could opt at the same time to receive an X86 iMac for free.
    Rumors suggest this time that no transition hardware will be provided... Apple is going to jump right in with ARM products. And this raises the question of whether Apple has been able to use the T1 and T2 coprocessors all along to facilitate a complete transition. It still seems a bit risky not to have widespread availability to developers, both internal and external to Apple, of a purely ARM architecture system, though. Perhaps the rumored ARM iMac will only be available to developers at first.
    edited June 2020 watto_cobrawilliamlondon
  • Reply 6 of 32
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,105administrator
    This article adds some needed context. There is so much hand wringing with the ramping up of the processor change rumors and people seem to forget that this isn't Apple's first time to this rodeo and that in last to cases the change wasn't done because Apple had nothing better to do. Both the move to PowerPC and Intel benefitted the Mac. As for developers, there is more incentive to support the architecture change than there was in the Intel move. In 2005 Apple sold 4.5 million Macs, now they sell four times that number. The incentive to stay on MacOS is larger than it has ever been. 
    We've done this already.
  • Reply 7 of 32
    XedXed Posts: 826member
    cpsro said:
    Apple's transition to Intel was kicked off with an X86 system that ran stealthily inside a PowerMac G5 enclosure. These "Transition Kits" were loaned to developers for $999. A few months later, the kits had to be returned to Apple, but developers could opt at the same time to receive an X86 iMac for free.
    Rumors suggest this time that no transition hardware will be provided... Apple is going to jump right in with ARM products. And this raises the question of whether Apple has been able to use the T2 coprocessor all along to facilitate this transition. It still seems a bit risky not to have widespread availability to developers, both internal and external to Apple, of a purely ARM architecture system, though.
    Apple isn't up against a wall this time. They don't have to move quickly to make the transition from Intel to ARM like they needed to in the past. Intel isn't the best option for performance per watt, but it's still a viable option for many, especially for the few so-called "power users" that need Windows and/or some large and slow to update apps from a few select vendors.

    On top of that, Apple has made so many moves with macOS and IDE that the transition should be even more seamless than ever before. How Apple has been using T2 to help prepare for this transition is interesting. Hopefully we see something about that come out if that's the case.
    watto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 8 of 32
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,788member

    And, it's not like your old gear is going to burst into flames, or Apple will renovate the entire product line top to bottom immediately. Windows compatibility will still be around on the "Pro"-level hardware for a while.
    Apple transitioned the entire Mac product line to Intel in about 14 months time from the original announcement of the transition, and in about 7 months time from availability of the first X86 Mac models.
    watto_cobrawilliamlondon
  • Reply 9 of 32
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,105administrator
    cpsro said:

    And, it's not like your old gear is going to burst into flames, or Apple will renovate the entire product line top to bottom immediately. Windows compatibility will still be around on the "Pro"-level hardware for a while.
    Apple transitioned the entire Mac product line to Intel in about 14 months time from the original announcement of the transition, and in about 7 months time from availability of the first X86 Mac models.
    I'm aware. I'm guessing a bit longer than the 14-month timetable this time. Based on what we've heard, seems like it'll be closer to 18 months to two years for the entire lineup.
    edited June 2020 watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 32
    netroxnetrox Posts: 998member
    We need the courage to abandon x86 for good. The x86 is still plagued with backward compatibility legacy and technical issues while ARM has more possibilities. The BIG.little is a fine example - x86 cannot have cores that are of different speeds while ARM can. We need to change the technology where we can enable cores to support low speed for low priority tasks and high speed cores for demanding apps. It's called heterogeneous computing and that's how our computing should be. 

    There is simply no economic benefit from having more cores of the same speed. Most applications don't need all cores at full speed. The OS and apps would benefit the most if each app is given low speed cores and apps given high speed cores when performance is demanded. 

    Why would you want cores that have to be all of the same speed when you can easily have each low speed core to be dedicated for processing a certain task at a much lower clock speed? For example, if you build a core that is dedicated to processing a frame of a video and you decide that you only need say 500 Mhz per frame, it would be so much more economical to have 30 500Mhz cores along with a couple of 4GHz cores for tasks that require more complex calculations than to force all cores to have the same speed which actually degrade performance overall and not cost effective at all. 


    dewmewatto_cobraaderutterjony0
  • Reply 11 of 32
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 32,959member
    cpsro said:

    And, it's not like your old gear is going to burst into flames, or Apple will renovate the entire product line top to bottom immediately. Windows compatibility will still be around on the "Pro"-level hardware for a while.
    Apple transitioned the entire Mac product line to Intel in about 14 months time from the original announcement of the transition, and in about 7 months time from availability of the first X86 Mac models.
    This is a bit different. Back then, Intel had the processors Apple needed for their laptops, with Yonah, which Apple had first dibs on. Then when Core came out shortly after, Apple went with it. Yonah was a short term solution because Apple had already gone 64 bit, and the 32 bit Yonah was a step backwards.

    but now, does Apple have a chip they could put into the iMac Pro? How about the new Mac Pro? We can’t assume they will have one ready for those machines in less than a year, maybe more. Those high level apps need some time to come over. From experience, we know that it will take a year. Even Apple took a lot of time moving FCS and their other high level apps.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 32
    Hmm, there are about 850 million active Windows 10 users and about 1.5 billion IOS users and another 100 million + MacOS users last I checked. So Apple has about double the number of active users. While Microsoft’s situation and outlook remain strong, I’d say they have been and need to be reacting to Apple more than vice versa at this point. It is also increasingly advantageous to develop for Apple machines. 

    Given how big and wealthy Apple is, isn’t it entirely possible that they could keep Intel machines on the market as long as they want, if there is a need? Last time they switched from Motorola to Intel pretty quickly because Motorola wasn’t coming out with chips. Intel will remain in the game for the foreseeable future and will continue making competitive desktop chips I imagine. And if even their desktop chips become uncompetitive, then I don’t think people will miss them so much, will they?


    watto_cobraaderutter
  • Reply 13 of 32
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,788member
    melgross said:
    but now, does Apple have a chip they could put into the iMac Pro? How about the new Mac Pro? We can’t assume they will have one ready for those machines in less than a year, maybe more. Those high level apps need some time to come over. From experience, we know that it will take a year. Even Apple took a lot of time moving FCS and their other high level apps.
    I wouldn't be at all surprised if Apple has suitable ARM silicon for even a Mac Pro within the next year. The latest iPad Pro refresh has basically the same CPU as nearly 2 years ago, but Apple's ARM team hasn't been sitting around.
    Look at the Ampere Altra server processor announced 3 months ago:  80 64-bit ARM cores, 1 MB L2 cache per core, ECC. Performance often on par with AMD EPYC 7742 (64 core/128 thread). My experience with prosumer versions of the 7742, the Ryzen Threadripper 3970x (32 core) and 3990x (64 core), is that they're far faster than the 28-core Mac Pro. Like 2-3X faster.
    The Osborne Effect will also push Apple to complete the transition faster than some might expect. We may also see some Apple ingenuity for maintaining longer term Intel compatibility, too.
    edited June 2020 watto_cobraaderutterjony0
  • Reply 14 of 32
    KITAKITA Posts: 352member
    Hmm, there are about 850 million active Windows 10 users and about 1.5 billion IOS users and another 100 million + MacOS users last I checked. So Apple has about double the number of active users. While Microsoft’s situation and outlook remain strong, I’d say they have been and need to be reacting to Apple more than vice versa at this point. It is also increasingly advantageous to develop for Apple machines. 

    Given how big and wealthy Apple is, isn’t it entirely possible that they could keep Intel machines on the market as long as they want, if there is a need? Last time they switched from Motorola to Intel pretty quickly because Motorola wasn’t coming out with chips. Intel will remain in the game for the foreseeable future and will continue making competitive desktop chips I imagine. And if even their desktop chips become uncompetitive, then I don’t think people will miss them so much, will they?


    Minor, but there are over 1 billion active Windows 10 users (as of March 2020). I also wouldn't compare active users in cases of iOS as a head-to-head with a desktop OS like Windows 10. Apple's only software ecosystem for high levels of productivity exists on macOS. iOS/iPadOS is still in the slumps on that end.

    I don't see Apple as quick to abandon Intel, particularly in the high end, there's still a worlds of work to be done and compatibility to sort out.
  • Reply 15 of 32
    loquiturloquitur Posts: 129member
    To Apple non-coder outsiders, layering an OS atop other hardware always seems like
    sleight-of-hand, possibly because of Apple's infamous secrecy.  But it's SOP
    in the industry.  (I'm long-retired from participating in such at the defunct Sun Microsystems,
    which maintained software builds for SPARC, Intel, PowerPC, and even HP's Itanium.)

    Some of the transition stuff is motivated by contractual obligations.  
    I believe for Motorola/IBM they had a 15-or-20 year exclusive arrangement to use just that architecture.  
    Steve Jobs analogized it to a marriage contract.  Maybe they had something similar for
    Intel -- I vaguely recall details (partly-redacted) which show up in SEC documents.
    So when the exclusivity ends, and either the vendor has fallen behind the competition,
    or you are allowed to roll-your-own, it's always wise to have a Plan B lined up
    beforehand.   

    Aside: yes you can certainly get a divorce mid-stream at a cost.  Tesla did this due to a rift
    with Mobileye, and their transition to Nvidia served them until they could vertically integrate better.

    dewmewatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 32
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,788member
    loquitur said:
    To Apple non-coder outsiders, layering an OS atop other hardware always seems like
    sleight-of-hand, possibly because of Apple's infamous secrecy.
    In the late '90s, IBM had prototype ThinkPads that could multi-boot Windows, OS/2 and MacOS.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 32
    canukstormcanukstorm Posts: 2,426member
    Why does this obsession the media has with this “switch from Intel to ARM” persist?  Having the Intel processor is key to keeping and getting converts from Windows. If my Mac couldn’t also run Windows stuff, I wouldn’t buy it. (I started buying Macs when they moved to Intel to begin with). Maybe they will add it as a secondary processor, but I doubt they are going to outright replace Intel cpus. It makes no sense. And I wish these stories speculating about it would cease. 
    Well, given that both William and I are Mac users dating back to the '80s and have gone through two architecture shifts, there's a larger perspective you may not be seeing.

    I understand that running Windows on Mac is your use case, but that is not even remotely a universal one -- and this is addressed in the piece. In regards to "add it as a secondary processor," Apple has already done this for the last four years with the T1 and T2 processors.

    And, it's not like your old gear is going to burst into flames, or Apple will renovate the entire product line top to bottom immediately. Windows compatibility will still be around on the "Pro"-level hardware for a while.
    That's an assumption.  Apple transitioned their entire Mac lineup from PPC to Intel inside of two years.  There isn't any reason to think this time would be different.  If Apple is going to switch, then they need to go all-in and switch.  None of this half-a***sing it with some Macs remaining x86 and other Macs on ARM.
    maltzmacpluspluswatto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 32
    canukstormcanukstorm Posts: 2,426member
    netrox said:
    We need the courage to abandon x86 for good. The x86 is still plagued with backward compatibility legacy and technical issues while ARM has more possibilities. The BIG.little is a fine example - x86 cannot have cores that are of different speeds while ARM can. We need to change the technology where we can enable cores to support low speed for low priority tasks and high speed cores for demanding apps. It's called heterogeneous computing and that's how our computing should be. 

    There is simply no economic benefit from having more cores of the same speed. Most applications don't need all cores at full speed. The OS and apps would benefit the most if each app is given low speed cores and apps given high speed cores when performance is demanded. 

    Why would you want cores that have to be all of the same speed when you can easily have each low speed core to be dedicated for processing a certain task at a much lower clock speed? For example, if you build a core that is dedicated to processing a frame of a video and you decide that you only need say 500 Mhz per frame, it would be so much more economical to have 30 500Mhz cores along with a couple of 4GHz cores for tasks that require more complex calculations than to force all cores to have the same speed which actually degrade performance overall and not cost effective at all. 


    False.  Intel just released their next generation Lakefield processor that is based on a BIG.little design

    https://www.anandtech.com/show/15841/intel-discloses-lakefield-cpus-specifications-64-execution-units-up-to-30-ghz-7-w
    steve_jobswilliamlondonuraharajony0
  • Reply 19 of 32
    dewmedewme Posts: 3,533member
    It's a glass half-full versus glass half-empty argument. Moving away from Intel to ARM will stifle some of the Windows->Mac crossover but it will greatly enhance the iPad->Mac crossover. We thought we'd ever see an iPad that could make such good use of a stylus, keyboard, and mouse - but now we have several models that do. We never thought that Apple would do touch screen on a notebook, but with more shared DNA between Mac and iPad I wouldn't count that out in the least. Moving to ARM is in my opinion, Apple deciding to skate to where the puck will be, and in large part because the iPad is now pushing the puck.
    StrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 32
    anomeanome Posts: 1,441member
    Why does this obsession the media has with this “switch from Intel to ARM” persist?  Having the Intel processor is key to keeping and getting converts from Windows. If my Mac couldn’t also run Windows stuff, I wouldn’t buy it. (I started buying Macs when they moved to Intel to begin with). Maybe they will add it as a secondary processor, but I doubt they are going to outright replace Intel cpus. It makes no sense. And I wish these stories speculating about it would cease. 
    Well, given that both William and I are Mac users dating back to the '80s and have gone through two architecture shifts, there's a larger perspective you may not be seeing.

    I understand that running Windows on Mac is your use case, but that is not even remotely a universal one -- and this is addressed in the piece. In regards to "add it as a secondary processor," Apple has already done this for the last four years with the T1 and T2 processors.

    And, it's not like your old gear is going to burst into flames, or Apple will renovate the entire product line top to bottom immediately. Windows compatibility will still be around on the "Pro"-level hardware for a while.
    "Pro as a Service" - I tell you, it's coming...

    Seriously, though, There's already an ARM processor in all the new Macs, and the central thing I've been talking about is that the T-Series processor will take over more and more of the OS operations, leaving the x86 just for heavy lifting, leading ultimately to completely removing the x86 at some point in the future. Whether they go to x86 emulation for legacy support, or my fanciful idea of selling back end processing as a service, or just cutting the cord completely is less clear.

    One thing is, if they do axe x86 support completely, it could open up a market for consumer level Cloud Compute services, whether from Apple or someone else. You just rent time on an x86 VM (or software container, even) to run your Windows, or even legacy Mac software. Admittedly, this is less convenient for people when not connected to the net, but for a lot of users, like myself, who mainly use Windows in situations that already require a network connection, it would do.
    watto_cobrajony0
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