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

135678

Comments

  • Reply 41 of 148
    dewmedewme Posts: 3,892member
    If Apple simply wants to turn up the heat under Intel's slow butt, why not bring some of the high end AMD processors into the Mac platform? 

    At some level, the bulk of customers that Apple really wants to be selling computers to really do not, and should not, care one little bit about what is under the hood of their shiny new Mac. All they need to know is that it runs every software product they need it to run, helps them complete their daily tasks, helps them solve the problems they need to solve, and does it all very quickly and efficiently. 

    The logical transition from personal computers being hot rod hobbyist toys to general purpose computational appliances seems to be taking forever. Perhaps, like automobiles, it’ll be over one hundred years into the fray and still unable to escape the realm of toydom. Who needs an 800 HP automobile for a daily commute in a stream of traffic that averages 37 mph? Who needs a 32 core CPU for a personal computer that spends 85% of its cycles animating the screensaver? 

    I’m not advocating for minimalist designs, or complaining about overkill, I’m just saying that the fascination around how the tools that are supposed to simplify and benefit our lives are being constructed should not be a higher priority for Apple than making sure the tools that are making actually solve the problems that we need them to solve. The essence of being a “Mac” should be based on what the computer does for us, not how it does what it does. If moving from Intel to ARM moves the needle in favor of things that customers value, the decision should be a no brainer.
    FileMakerFellerrundhvidwatto_cobra
  • Reply 42 of 148
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,095member
    melgross said:
    All off a sudden we’re getting articles about this because one analyst states it’s happening. As Jon Gruber just said on his page, in an article about this:

    ”Also worth noting: Ming-Chi Kuo is often wrong, especially about products other than iPhones and iPads. We could be writing this same stuff a year from now and Macs could remain on Intel until the end of the platform. But I do think they’re moving to ARM, sooner rather than later.”

    I agree with Jon. It’s likely to happen at some point. Sooner rather than later though, could mean three or four years.
    This isn't "all of a sudden" and it isn't just one analyst. There are many, many, many links to previous coverage on the matter.

    What I meant, was that even though there have been many articles speculating about the possibility of this, including these here we’ve argued in, this is the first I’ve seen, at least in a pretty long time, of someone giving a specific schedule of an actual machine. We’ve always argued whether Apple would it, and when they might do it, but he’s saying that Apple will do it, and when. That’s different.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 43 of 148
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,095member

    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.
    jony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 44 of 148
    anomeanome Posts: 1,465member
    I'm still thinking they might go for "Pro As A Service" (PraaS). Pushing a lot of heavy processing onto X86 in the cloud, either hosted by Apple, or on a rackmounted Mac Pro on premises. For some uses, the X86 might remain onboard the hardware, with the ARM doing most of the OS and front end work, and the X86 only spinning up when needed.

    Apple can then turn professional computing into a Service revenue stream.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 45 of 148
    dws-2dws-2 Posts: 268member
    Geez, there is a huge benefit to consumers, and it's battery life. It's like switching to a car that gets 10 times the miles per gallon, but still travels faster and farther. (It's not quite that good because the screen takes a lot of battery, but still, I'm really surprised this wasn't mentioned.
    watto_cobrarazorpit
  • Reply 46 of 148
    netroxnetrox Posts: 1,083member
    I just don't know if I can switch to ARM Mac as I do rely on Intel processors for running Windows and ubuntu in VMs. Having ARM would require that the Virtual machine be running in an environment emulating the Intel processor which we all know slows down significantly. 

    I guess I'll buy the latest Intel MacBook before ARM comes out. 
  • Reply 47 of 148
    Another fantastic article by William. Both William Gallagher and Daniel Eran Dinger are what makes AI into the best for mac related articles. Thanks.
    jony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 48 of 148
    SoliSoli Posts: 10,031member
    netrox said:
    I just don't know if I can switch to ARM Mac as I do rely on Intel processors for running Windows and ubuntu in VMs. Having ARM would require that the Virtual machine be running in an environment emulating the Intel processor which we all know slows down significantly. 

    I guess I'll buy the latest Intel MacBook before ARM comes out. 
    If you're one of the few that needs to run Windows as a dual-boat or VM and are using an 12" MacBook to do it, then I'd say that's a good idea, but these machines will also exist after ARM-based MacBooks or MacBook Airs arrive, so you can always wait then and get one at a discount. Or, you could just use an Intel-based MacBook Pro after Apple includes ARM on their low-end Macs.

    By the time they'd even consider moving over their high-end Macs to ARM this won't even be an issue.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 49 of 148
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,275administrator
    dws-2 said:
    Geez, there is a huge benefit to consumers, and it's battery life. It's like switching to a car that gets 10 times the miles per gallon, but still travels faster and farther. (It's not quite that good because the screen takes a lot of battery, but still, I'm really surprised this wasn't mentioned.
    We considered that in the production of the article. But, like you allude to, there are too many other variables like GPU, screen, RAM, and other components to say nothing about what Apple decides to include as a battery to make that as a blanket statement.
    edited February 2020 watto_cobra
  • Reply 50 of 148
    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.
    ElCapitan
  • Reply 51 of 148
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,275administrator
    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?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 52 of 148
    Soli said:
    cropr said:
    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
    Did you consider the increase in Mac marketshare from having faster Macs at a lower entry-level price point? There is also the added advantage to all in more Mac users by Apple now allowing developers to sell a single license for iOS (watchOS), iPadOS, and macOS apps.
    For the overwhelming majority of Mac users, the machines are fast enough.  Any increase in marketshare from a faster Mac at a lower price made possible by switching to ARM will be indistinguishable from random fluctuations.  In fact it might be overwhelmed by those who switch away from Macs because of their corporate/business requirements.
    ElCapitan
  • Reply 53 of 148
    The point many keep forgetting is BitCode. There should be a large number of applications ready on day 1 in the App Store for Arm Mac's.
    watto_cobraasdasd
  • Reply 54 of 148
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    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.  
  • Reply 55 of 148
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    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. 
    beowulfschmidt
  • Reply 56 of 148
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    bnice said:
    I can’t imagine the developers that make products that run on the Mac and other platforms would be happy about transitioning ARM. Do we really think it would be just a recompile for the likes of Microsoft, Adobe, Java (Oracle), Autodesk, Vmware and ... to bring their products over to a new processor architecture?
    Yes we really think that for some apps.  This isn’t the same Mac platform from the 68K days.  If the developers have paid attention they will have followed Apples guideline.   If not screw then.  The only issue would be VM software which is always machine specific.  

    I really don’t understand why people fret so much over software. Smart people will check before buying the status of their critical apps.   In general though Apple will work to make sure the software library is packed with plenty of native apps.  
  • Reply 57 of 148
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    Count me as someone who is skeptical about all of this.

    On the one hand, we know what Apple has been doing with low-end ARM, but we have seen nothing on the high-end, so maybe Apple does have plans that would work across the entire lineup.

    On the other hand, there's nothing to suggest that this is the case.  Apple would be taking a big risk here when it has other things to do.  One thing that everyone neglects to consider in terms of Apple's previous transitions is that Apple was always transitioning away from what the rest of the industry wasn't using, albeit earlier also to what the industry wasn't using either.  So if their source was behind, delayed or inferior to the industry, Apple's products were too.  Now, any delay or issue isn't an Apple one, it's an industry one.

    IOW: Where Apple could be frustrated that there was no PowerBook G5 to compete with the industry, today Apple can compete with the same chips the rest of the industry has.

    Moving to ARM means Apple has to invest in maintaining a lead in their chips across the entire lineup of devices and do so with a minority market share as compared to Intel which supplies chips to the rest of the industry.  This not only puts Apple at a disadvantage, but if it falls behind, the entire Mac lineup falls behind.

    Combine this with the usual pain of transitioning, the issues with losing full Windows compatibility, and the distraction from other things Apple could be doing, and I just don't see the upside being worth the cost and risk.  I do see a potential for further ARM development as a co-processor in Macs though.
    If your mind is In the past the this certainly looks bad.   On the otherhand if you consider the future you might realize that Apple has little choice.   The future in computing lies in hardware that supports AI tech.  Currently both AMD and Intel have fumbled this one.   On the other hand the company that can nail this will be at a huge advantage with future systems.  

    Supporting this is the idea that Silicon is in effect the Printed Circuit Board of the 1980’s.   By this I mean it is the place where Apple’s engineers can realize their dreams.  Everything goes into the SoC these days.  That makes access to the silicon an imperative.  Frankly Apples A series is the ultimate example of this, one only needs to look at all the Apple designed subsystems on the chip to realize the importance of access to the silicon.   
    jony0knowitallwatto_cobraGG1razorpit
  • Reply 58 of 148
    This better be a very long transition. If I'm buying any Apple Pro machine today  or even after the first ARM machine is announced, I'm expecting a minimum of 5-7 years of full support.

    My top of the line 15" MacBook Pro is 7-years old this June. I'm looking to replace it with a new 14" MBP with 32GB RAM. If apple is planning to replace the entire pro line with ARM and discontinue INTEL without providing a minimum of 5-7 years of full support, then I'm better off waiting another 2-3 years for ARM to mature.
    edited February 2020
  • Reply 59 of 148
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    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.  
    I really don’t know where this BS comes from but ARM multitasks just like any other systems processor.    In fact with non equal cores it has advantages that even Intel is copying.    The only limits put on ARM are implementation based.  

    A common mistake is that people look at the A series and think that Apple's desktop and laptops will look just like it.  At first there may be lots of similarities but in the end we will see very different processors fall out of the development process.  For one caches will be careful bigger, there will be PCI Express or other high speed buss support and most likely vastly more powerful AI acceleration hardware.  

    One needs to think about how Apple will build a laptop processor not so much about how they will put an A series in the Mac.    Sure the cores will move over but from that point on it will be a very different chip.  
    knowitallwatto_cobracyberzombieGG1razorpitbeowulfschmidturahara
  • Reply 60 of 148
    mattinozmattinoz Posts: 1,658member
    anome said:
    I'm still thinking they might go for "Pro As A Service" (PraaS). Pushing a lot of heavy processing onto X86 in the cloud, either hosted by Apple, or on a rackmounted Mac Pro on premises. For some uses, the X86 might remain onboard the hardware, with the ARM doing most of the OS and front end work, and the X86 only spinning up when needed.

    Apple can then turn professional computing into a Service revenue stream.
    It would be the ideal end game not just from Apple's profits perspective. For the users having ubiquity in computing just buy devices with the most suitable interaction model for your work. even have multiple devices and service takes care of  making information available between them.
    It seem to be what Steve Jobs was talking about in WWDC97 Q&A that we haven't yet seen but more and more pieces seem to be coming together for it.
    anome
Sign In or Register to comment.