Windows on Apple Silicon is up to Microsoft, says Craig Federighi

Posted:
in General Discussion edited November 2020
In a wide-ranging interview, Apple executives including Craig Federighi have revealed more information behind designing the Apple Silicon M1 -- and discuss aspects like the future of Windows on the platform.

The M1 processor is proving to be better than most Intel chips available
The M1 processor is proving to be better than most Intel chips available


Apple has been very active on the interview scene since releasing its first Macs with custom Apple Silicon. The M1 processor is an important first step in transitioning from Intel, and the executives in charge of the move are excited for the future.

Between YouTube and conventional press, Apple has been pushing its narrative hard about the M1. The latest interview between Ars Technica and Greg Joswiak, Craig Federighi, and Johny Srouji covers the usual questions surrounding the shift, but also gives some insight into future prospects about the Mac.

Users have been getting their hands on the new MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro, and Mac mini since release, and immediately see the results of Apple's labor. Benchmarks show the M1 outperforming all but the most expensive Mac desktops out there with performance mimicking the snappiness seen only on iPad and iPhone.

Craig Federighi, SVP of Software Engineering, commented on the design path to M1. When asked if they started with the A12Z Bionic and worked up from there he responded that the Mac needed its own chips with its own capabilities like Thunderbolt and a better GPU, that "the M1 is essentially a superset."

SVP Craig Federighi during the
SVP Craig Federighi during the "One More Thing" event


Johny Srouji, SVP of Hardware Technologies, expanded on that, stating "the foundations for M1... started over a decade ago" that by using scalable architecture Apple could build "a whole different custom chip." He asserted that the M1 was never going to be an A-series chip on steroids, but a new chip build on the same foundation.

The interview moves on to cover detailed information about unified memory architecture and its use in the M1. The executives think that this methodology is more efficient and shows large gains in performance. Federighi says that their development of Metal showed them the way to using tiles rather than performing the operation on the entire frame at once.

When pressed about future plans, the executives deflected as usual. They did state that designing the M1 with a specific goal of fitting into the machines it is shipping in plays a large part in its performance. The charts shown during the Apple event stop after 10W loads, but Johny Srouji says "it gets bigger."

The interview covers some aspects of bringing iOS and iPadOS apps to the Mac and why some are not there. Simply put the Mac doesn't have a touch screen or things like a gyroscope, so some limitations do exist. Also, some developers chose to not bring their app to the Mac altogether.

Johny Srouji introducing the M1 processor
Johny Srouji introducing the M1 processor


Speaking on software, Federighi was asked if it was possible to run an ARM version of Windows in emulation. He said "that is really up to Microsoft."

"We have the core technologies for them to do that, to run their ARM version of Windows, which in turn of course supports x86 user mode applications," said Federighi. "But that's a decision Microsoft has to make, to bring to license that technology for users to run on these Macs." Federighi concludes, "But the Macs are certainly very capable of it."

When pressed for information about Intel support, Federighi clarified Apple's stance on the matter.

"We haven't created a branch of macOS," said Federighi. "There's not the version of macOS for M1-based Macs and a different version of macOS for Intel. We're building it as a universal OS that works on both systems."

When asked about future Intel Macs, Greg Joswiak shrugged it off.

"When we said we would support Intel systems for years to come, that was talking about the operating system." Apple had commented that future Intel hardware was coming, but Joswiak said "We still had Intel systems that were in the pipeline" when it was said, "That very next month, we introduced an Intel-based iMac."

The interview concluded asking the executives about how they felt about the transition as a whole. "We've done this before," Joswiak said, "but this time, it's all baked at home." He concluded "we are giddy. We are excited about it."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 109
    Sounds to me like there will be no new Intel Macs going forward...
    williamlondonseanjcy_starkmanBeatshippoosmartormenajrdysamoriawatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 109
    Why would Microsoft want to embarrass themselves (and their ARM devices) by allowing Windows on an M1 MacBook that will massively outperform their own devices?
    lkruppseanjtwokatmewchasmAlex1Nalanhrazorpitwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 109
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 2,545member
    Not going to happen but if Microsoft ports modified ARM Windows to run natively on M1 MACs like Windows on x86.Now a days MacOS or Windows pretty much free or people buy M1 version of Windows license from Microsoft. Customers buy MACS and load which ever OS they need for certain applications to run and switch around.
    edited November 2020 ravnorodom
  • Reply 4 of 109
    Why would Microsoft want to embarrass themselves (and their ARM devices) by allowing Windows on an M1 MacBook that will massively outperform their own devices?
    Umm, it already does that on MacBook Pros.  If you boot into Windows, it outperforms pretty much every single Windows desktop out there.

    InspiredCodegregoriusmBeatsAlex1Nhippodysamoriaalanhwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 109
    Why would Microsoft want to embarrass themselves (and their ARM devices) by allowing Windows on an M1 MacBook that will massively outperform their own devices?
    Because they are going to realize they are a software company and realize people would pay $200-$300 for perpetual license or x on a subscription.  

    I need both software, less Windows today but I still have perpetual Windows software that I would happily shell out a few hundred to still use as the new versions of the Mac version is just okay and a large monthly subscription.
    mobirdStrangeDaysgregoriusmbageljoeymuthuk_vanalingamblastdoorwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 109
    goofy1958 said:
    Why would Microsoft want to embarrass themselves (and their ARM devices) by allowing Windows on an M1 MacBook that will massively outperform their own devices?
    Umm, it already does that on MacBook Pros.  If you boot into Windows, it outperforms pretty much every single Windows desktop out there.

    That's possible unless Apple willingly creates Boot Camp 2 for M1.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 109
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,472member
    wood1208 said:

    Customers buy MACS and load which ever OS they need for certain applications to run and switch around.

    Blathering nonsense. Utter baloney. Bull excrement. The vast, vast majority, almost the totality of customers buy Macs to run macOS, period, end of story. It only seems your way because of tech blogs and the posers that pontificate on them. 

    If the ASi Macs won’t run Windows or Linux it won’t affect sales one scintilla. And after the transition there will be no such thing as a Hackintosh either.
    marcotor949twokatmewBeatsAlex1Ntmaywatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 109

    wood1208 said:
    Not going to happen but if Microsoft ports modified ARM Windows to run natively on M1 MACs like Windows on x86.Now a days MacOS or Windows pretty much free or people buy M1 version of Windows license from Microsoft. Customers buy MACS and load which ever OS they need for certain applications to run and switch around.
    It will be an opportunity for Microsoft to make extra money if they charge Mac users 2x the amount for Windows OS M-edition. Since they don't make PC anyway (except Surface), why not.
    tmayspock1234watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 109
    All Microsoft has to do is make Office and Teams run on those machines. And Their CRM. Who needs Windows but to run applications? If these applications run as well on iOS, I would say Windows is not necessary.
    Beatsspock1234watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 109
    Why would Microsoft want to embarrass themselves (and their ARM devices) by allowing Windows on an M1 MacBook that will massively outperform their own devices?
    Under Nadella, MS stopped being a Windows company so I don't think they care.
    edited November 2020 anantksundarammuthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 109
    Why would Microsoft want to embarrass themselves (and their ARM devices) by allowing Windows on an M1 MacBook that will massively outperform their own devices?
    Microsoft sells more software than hardware. They would benefit if Mac users could use the macOS and a non virtual version of Windows. This would also be great for Apple.
    edited November 2020 gregoriusmOferhippoGeorgeBMacmuthuk_vanalingamspock1234watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 109
    Why would Microsoft want to embarrass themselves (and their ARM devices) by allowing Windows on an M1 MacBook that will massively outperform their own devices?
    I see that you are still living in the early 2000. Satya Nadella isn't out to destroy Apple contrary to what you seem to believe. It's time to forget that microsoft "stole" the GUI, and move on. 

    The fact that qualcomm cannot afford to make a cpu as expensive as the m1 is not really microsfot fault. (If qualcomm ever tried they would go bankrupt,Apple can afford such design because they are making their own devices). Unless microsoft somehow decide to buy qualcomm and go vertical integration. They have enough money to do it, they just don't seem interested. 
    rezwitshippomuthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 109
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 5,737member
    I suspect Microsoft is going to introduce a more baked version of Windows for ARM.  The writing is on the wall.  Chips like the M1 and soon, other competitors will leave the x86 chips behind.  

    I really believe that Apple started a new level of technology that doesn’t include Intel or AMD and others will follow.
    seanjMisterKitlkruppStrangeDaysgregoriusmargonauttwokatmewBeatsrezwitsAlex1N
  • Reply 14 of 109
    seanjseanj Posts: 255member
    Old timer that I am, I remember the days before the WinTel duopoly dominated the computer industry. We had machines running 68000, ARM, SPARC, Alpha, etc, and a consequence we had year on year real innovation and advances; the completion that the free market promotes. 
    Whereas we’ve seen stagnation with Intel’s CISC x86 architecture for over a decade, a fact that Apple recognised. The irony of course is that things have come full circle as Apple was one of the original investors in ARM back in the late 1980’s.
    Hopefully exciting days ahead!
    gregoriusmcy_starkmanargonauttwokatmewtaugust04_aiBeatsrezwitsAlex1Nhippodysamoria
  • Reply 15 of 109
    wood1208 said:
    Not going to happen but if Microsoft ports modified ARM Windows to run natively on M1 MACs like Windows on x86.Now a days MacOS or Windows pretty much free or people buy M1 version of Windows license from Microsoft. Customers buy MACS and load which ever OS they need for certain applications to run and switch around.
    Spoken like a true Windows bloke. No Mac user calls it a MAC. MAC is usually an address for networking hardware, etc.
    edited November 2020 StrangeDaysseanjBeatsrezwitsFileMakerFellerAlex1Nhippotmaywatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 109
    dewmedewme Posts: 3,827member
    seanj said:
    Old timer that I am, I remember the days before the WinTel duopoly dominated the computer industry. We had machines running 68000, ARM, SPARC, Alpha, etc, and a consequence we had year on year real innovation and advances; the completion that the free market promotes. 
    Whereas we’ve seen stagnation with Intel’s CISC x86 architecture for over a decade, a fact that Apple recognised. The irony of course is that things have come full circle as Apple was one of the original investors in ARM back in the late 1980’s.
    Hopefully exciting days ahead!
    ... and the first "working version" of Windows NT, which is present in Windows 10's DNA, ran on the Intel i860 - which is a RISC chip. Talk about full circles...

    I'm not losing any sleep about running Windows on Apple Silicon. If I was currently traveling and doing all of my work on a laptop/notebook that has M1 Apple Silicon then I'd care a little bit about Windows compatibility (for running in VMWare). But for desk-bound use, if I really need to run Windows I'll just buy a small form factor (SFF) Windows box, preferably with a contemporary AMD cpu, and plug it into the second port on my desktop monitor and get a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse that support multiple computers. In fact, I'm already using all of these pieces (keyboard. mouse, and monitor) that support multiple computers so all I really need is a SFF Windows box. If I want to live large I'll get a NUC, but there are many choices across a broad spectrum of prices, from HDMI stick PCs to low cost NUC knock-offs. Easy peasy.
    edited November 2020 rezwitsAlex1Nhippotmayrazorpitwatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 109
    "When we said we would support Intel systems for years to come, that was talking about the operating system." Apple had commented that future Intel hardware was coming, but Joswiak said "We still had Intel systems that were in the pipeline" when it was said, "That very next month, we introduced an Intel-based iMac."

    Mark my words: Apple won’t refresh any existing Intel machine. They set a precedence with the M1 and cannibalized their existing Intel machines, fully knowing this. Everyone’s waiting for the transition to continue and keeping money in their pockets.

    My not so crazy bet is The MacBook Pro 16” and iMac are next up for an “M1X”, both offering faster GPU, 8/16/32 GB memory and more ports. Probably early Q2 2021? And the last one - the most niche product, a much smaller Mac Pro with the same SoC principle, M1XPro with high-end GPU/CPU performance. No eGPU support still - I don’t think that fits with their vision. With probably a couple of SSD slots (no room for harddrives anymore) and up to 64 GB. Lotsa ports. 

    edited November 2020 StrangeDaysargonautBeatsrezwitsAlex1Nhippomuthuk_vanalingamtmaywatto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 109
    wood1208 said:
    Not going to happen but if Microsoft ports modified ARM Windows to run natively on M1 MACs like Windows on x86.Now a days MacOS or Windows pretty much free or people buy M1 version of Windows license from Microsoft. Customers buy MACS and load which ever OS they need for certain applications to run and switch around.
    Spoken like a true Windows bloke. No Mac user calls it a MAC. MAC is usually an address for networking hardware, etc.
    It's kooky, he's been typing it incorrectly for years. Has been pointed out
    cy_starkmanrezwitsroundaboutnowAlex1Nhippodysamoriatmayspock1234watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 109
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,268member
    n2macs said:
    Why would Microsoft want to embarrass themselves (and their ARM devices) by allowing Windows on an M1 MacBook that will massively outperform their own devices?
    Microsoft sells more software than hardware. They would benefit if Mac users could use the macOS and a non virtual version of Windows. This would also be great for Apple.
    Agreed - having Windows on an Apple machine only benefits Microsoft. The question is whether they are going to expend the resources to do so. On the surface, it doesn't make sense to spend the resources for a nominal number of machines but having a true ARM version of Windows would like be beneficial in other circumstances as well, especially given Intel's decline from dominance in the processor market.

    lkrupp said:
    wood1208 said:

    Customers buy MACS and load which ever OS they need for certain applications to run and switch around.

    Blathering nonsense. Utter baloney. Bull excrement. The vast, vast majority, almost the totality of customers buy Macs to run macOS, period, end of story. It only seems your way because of tech blogs and the posers that pontificate on them. 

    If the ASi Macs won’t run Windows or Linux it won’t affect sales one scintilla. And after the transition there will be no such thing as a Hackintosh either.
    You clearly don't read comments around here. There are quite a few people who prefer Macs but need to run windows and have machines set up as either dual boot or use virtualization software. I don't have specific numbers to know how many people that is, but they are not non-existent as you contend.
    mobirdargonauthippodysamoriamuthuk_vanalingamspock1234watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 109
    All Microsoft has to do is make Office and Teams run on those machines. And Their CRM. Who needs Windows but to run applications? If these applications run as well on iOS, I would say Windows is not necessary.
    Office and teams for Mac iOS working fast and wonderfully on my MacBook M1 Air
    rezwitshippoAlex1Nkuduwatto_cobra
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