Why Apple's move to an ARM Mac is going to be a bumpy road for some

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  • Reply 101 of 162
    darkvaderdarkvader Posts: 889member
    I still say it's an incredibly stupid thing for Apple to do if they still want to sell computers.

    Going to ARM for the Mac will be the end of the Mac.  It'll be long, drawn out, and painful for those of you who choose to stick it out.

    If they do this, what it really means is that Apple intends to transition into a consumer toy company. 

    It makes me sad, I'm not at all a fan of Windoze, and Linux has... issues as a desktop/laptop OS.  Android is mostly awful, but I suppose I'll have a bit longer on the iPhone. 

    But I'm not coming along for this ride with the Mac.  I put up with a lot of stupidity from Apple as it is, the recent laptop hardware is overpriced garbage (except for the trackpad, that's the one hardware area where Apple really is better than everybody else out there).  But hey, at least I'll be able to get something with standard NVMe SSDs, upgradeable RAM, and easily swapable batteries.

    Maybe I'll make do with Hackintoshes for a while.  Or maybe somebody at Apple will realize how incredibly f****g stupid another architecture change is.

    I'm not going to buy an ARM Mac.  And I'm not going to recommend any of my clients ever buy an ARM Mac. 
    prismatics
  • Reply 102 of 162
    jdb8167jdb8167 Posts: 624member
    darkvader said:
    I still say it's an incredibly stupid thing for Apple to do if they still want to sell computers.

    I'm not going to buy an ARM Mac.  And I'm not going to recommend any of my clients ever buy an ARM Mac.  
    I wonder what happened to all the people who said the same thing during the PPC->Intel transition. 
    fastasleepbbh
  • Reply 103 of 162
    danvmdanvm Posts: 1,251member
    wizard69 said:
    If I were Apple, I would make a x86 instructions compatible processor with ARM core.  Modern Intel processors used the same technique with RISC-like core and x86 microcode.  This way, no transition issues, if not 100% compatible with existing software.
    You would then loose your ARM advantages!    Beyond that this article is extremely misleading there are far more ARM based devices out there than Intel.  X86 does not share the popularity it once had.   The operating systems on these devices is Linux derived or MacOS derIved, Windows isn’t even a thing anymore.  

    Windows users are more of a joke today than at anytime in the past. It is the land of the gamer and corporate drone.  Windows isn’t a problem and the people that claim it is either have a special interest or are living in the past.  

    Software itself will not be like it was in the past switch overs because Apple has designed gene Mac OS around the possibility.  Further they have been beating developers every year at WWDC to write to the API’s.    By the way this isn’t simply for the possibility to go to ARM, developers have benefitted many times already as APIs have been updated to leverage new hardware. 
    Windows and x86 still very popular in the desktop market, far more than ARM or macOS, and it looks like will stay that way for a few more years.  IMO, to say that "Windows isn't even a thing anymore" doesn't makes sense, when you consider the are +1B Windows 10 devices.  The only OS, desktop or mobile, with less than 1B devices is macOS. I suppose you think that macOS "isn’t even a thing anymore", right?  At the same time, I'm looking forward for Apple and MS and how they start to transition developers and users to ARM environments.  

    And why you said that Windows users are a "joke"?  Because they don't use macOS?  Maybe they would be using it if Apple have done a better job, specially in the two examples you gave, gaming and enterprise / business market.  
  • Reply 104 of 162
    darkvaderdarkvader Posts: 889member
    crowley said:
    Just out of interest, are there any other viable architectures out there for consumer electronics, or is it all about an ascendant ARM and a declining x86/x64?  I'm guessing PowerPC and SPARC and are pretty much dead now?  Are there any up and comers, maybe in the quantum computing, or similarly experimental areas that might be potential rivals?  A single architecture future doesn't sound like the most healthy situation.

    SPARC is dead.

    PowerPC is dead, but the architecture is still going with the IBM POWER chips.

    x64 isn't going anywhere.  It's going to be THE desktop/laptop architecture for the foreseeable future.  ARM isn't going anywhere on the desktop, if Apple tries, Apple will lose the market.
  • Reply 105 of 162
    jdiamondjdiamond Posts: 105member
    For me, all the pain already happened with the move to Catalina. I already lost all the software that isn't already being actively developed, which for me was most of it. (And this wasn't old software either - dang that 2006 decision to have one Mac made with a 32-bit x86.). And actively developed software shouldn't have much difficulties hitting the ARM button on XCode. So AFAIK, Catalina is already forcing 99% of the transition. And I'm sure Apple is thinking they can plug software gaps with iOS apps. FWIW, x86 emulators on ARM do exist. So if Apple wanted to give us a Rosetta, they could. And once the Unix stack gets boot strapped, all the other Linux stuff should hopefully just compile. Hopefully the kinds of small utilities that are so valuable already exist for ARM chips and should appear quickly on Macs. Here's hoping Apple leverages this to go all out - like a Macbook Pro with 256 ARM Cores and 256 Megabytes L3 cache running at 15 watts. :)
    GG1
  • Reply 106 of 162
    jdiamondjdiamond Posts: 105member
    And think how much better bootcamp will work for Windows 10 on ARM than running in an ARM emulator on an x86 chip. :)
  • Reply 107 of 162
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 11,421member
    Xed said:
    The concern with running Windows is very, very real.
    When I bought my grandson a MacBook Air for Christmas (because he asked for one) I made sure that it could run Windows if needed (I knew I would have to get a larger SSD, so I made sure to get a new 2017 MBA where it wasn't soldered in and could be upgraded).

    And, sure enough, after a month or two he stopped using it because he couldn't deal with MacOS -- it had too many differences from the Chrome and Windows that he knew and understood and just got frustrated with the Mac.

    So, I got a 500Gb Apple SSD, installed it along with a product key for Windows 10 and got them installed just in time for the schools to close and shift to cyber school.

    Both he and his mom are very grateful that he doesn't have to fight with MacOS and can just do his school work.
    That isn't the norm. Pretty much everyone using Macs are using macOS. Only on tech sites will you find a vocal minority, but still clearly a minority, that need to use Windows as a dual boot or VM.

    But none of this matters for those that do need or want to run Windows, because like your purchase to get an older Mac that has a removable SSD, people will simple buy the Mac HW that suits their needs. Pro Macs will surely be Intel for many years to come.

    Even if and when Apple no longer is making new Intel Macs you will still be able to buy older Macs, just like you did, to get the HW options you wanted… but I bet buy the time this comes to pass it won't even be an issue for the all but a handful of pertinacious people on this forum.

    No, running Windows on a MacBook is not the norm.  But then Mac users aren't the norm either.  Windows is the norm.

    And, no, I did not buy an "old" Mac (meaning used).   This was a brand new machine that I scooped up partly because it was reduced $300 and partly because it had better hardware than the new ones.
  • Reply 108 of 162
    Could they have both processors in them for a couple of years?
  • Reply 109 of 162
    horvatichorvatic Posts: 144member
    It's a bad decision for a lot of reasons. Bootcamp is used in a lot of businesses so I highly doubt the number of bootcamp users is only 2 percent. The versatility with having a computer that can run multiple operating systems can't be beat. Most people that do run Windows on a Mac think it runs better than a native PC. 

    This is a BIG mistake for Apple to make. Now this will force me to buy a PC for what I do on the windows side which will cost me more money. That sucks!
    macplusplus
  • Reply 110 of 162
    horvatichorvatic Posts: 144member

    horvatic said:
    Unless they can keep all the features that are currently in place including Bootcamp it would be the worst mistake Apple could do.
    I don't think so. Once upon a time, the Mac gave the halo to the iPhone. It hasn't been that way in 10 years, and is instead the other way around. The new Mac user doesn't care. Boot Camp installs are a very small percentage of the overall user base, as the article discusses.

    We'll all see together.
    Well I think you are wrong. Like I said there are a lot of businesses that use Bootcamp certainly more than 2 percent. They will be up in arms that now they have to buy 2 machines to do their work.

  • Reply 111 of 162
    XedXed Posts: 1,476member
    Xed said:
    The concern with running Windows is very, very real.
    When I bought my grandson a MacBook Air for Christmas (because he asked for one) I made sure that it could run Windows if needed (I knew I would have to get a larger SSD, so I made sure to get a new 2017 MBA where it wasn't soldered in and could be upgraded).

    And, sure enough, after a month or two he stopped using it because he couldn't deal with MacOS -- it had too many differences from the Chrome and Windows that he knew and understood and just got frustrated with the Mac.

    So, I got a 500Gb Apple SSD, installed it along with a product key for Windows 10 and got them installed just in time for the schools to close and shift to cyber school.

    Both he and his mom are very grateful that he doesn't have to fight with MacOS and can just do his school work.
    That isn't the norm. Pretty much everyone using Macs are using macOS. Only on tech sites will you find a vocal minority, but still clearly a minority, that need to use Windows as a dual boot or VM.

    But none of this matters for those that do need or want to run Windows, because like your purchase to get an older Mac that has a removable SSD, people will simple buy the Mac HW that suits their needs. Pro Macs will surely be Intel for many years to come.

    Even if and when Apple no longer is making new Intel Macs you will still be able to buy older Macs, just like you did, to get the HW options you wanted… but I bet buy the time this comes to pass it won't even be an issue for the all but a handful of pertinacious people on this forum.

    No, running Windows on a MacBook is not the norm.  But then Mac users aren't the norm either.  Windows is the norm.

    And, no, I did not buy an "old" Mac (meaning used).   This was a brand new machine that I scooped up partly because it was reduced $300 and partly because it had better hardware than the new ones.
    You can't argue that because running Windows on a Mac isn't the norm and that running Macs aren't the norm that running Windows on a Mac is the norm. It doesn't work that way!

    You said a 2017 MacBook Air. That's an old Mac! That's not even one of the two Retina MacBook Airs that have come out since that MacBook was discontinued. Again, you bought out of date HW because the current HW didn't suit your needs… and that's exactly what the very tiny group of people will do when an Intel Macs are no longer available in many, many years but are oddly still holding onto needing an Intel Mac. At least you have a legitimate reason for wanting a Mac that is several years old with considerably inferior HW, just as people did many years ago when the Mac mini started coming with soldered RAM.
    edited April 2020
  • Reply 112 of 162
    horvatic said:
    Unless they can keep all the features that are currently in place including Bootcamp it would be the worst mistake Apple could do.
    I don't think so. Once upon a time, the Mac gave the halo to the iPhone. It hasn't been that way in 10 years, and is instead the other way around. The new Mac user doesn't care. Boot Camp installs are a very small percentage of the overall user base, as the article discusses.

    We'll all see together.
    Having bootcamp on ARM-based Macs would kinda of make sense only if it's compatible with Windows on ARM; and even that's not priority in the greater scheme of things because Windows core installed based is x86 based.
  • Reply 113 of 162
    GG1 said:
    I don't follow the line "it moved from the classic OS 9 to Mac OS X and now macOS".

    I thought both Mac OS X and macOS were Berkeley Unix-based. Unless macOS is the 64-bit version of Mac OS X.

    I was wondering the same thing. I was under the impression it was just a name change. 
  • Reply 114 of 162
    friedmudfriedmud Posts: 164member
    ElCapitan said:
    There is large number of open-source libraries in use, and both closed source and open source applications built on these running on macOS where it is highly unlikely they will ever be ported to ARM. Many of these run on the current macOS by a shoe-string only by feature of running on Intel, as the port is relative untrivial compared to a port to ARM.

    You have this exactly backwards.  The open-source underpinnings of MacOS actually make it _easier_ to port.  In fact: it's already been done (see iPadOS and iPhoneOS).

    To me: this has been coming for a long time.  I don't think that it's a coincidence that Adobe put out Photoshop, Lightroom and others on iPadOS within the last couple of years.  Those are, effectively, the beginnings of ports to ARM MacOS... combine that with Catalyst and we already have a HUGE selection of software that can be easily ported to ARM MacOS.

    Another telling thing is the new iPad Pro... with keyboard and trackpad.  That, effectively, IS an ARM-based Macbook (with a slightly different interface from OSX).  It doesn't take much to imagine that having an OSX interface instead of iPadOS....
  • Reply 115 of 162
    larryjwlarryjw Posts: 944member
    Rip the bandaid off. Legacy platforms need to upgrade or die off. It's a harsh and expensive stance to have, but it needs to happen. Software needs to be agile to stay relevent if not it needs to die. Im tired of all these "can't happen, I need legacy software" users. Technology moves too fast to wait for you, develop accordingly. 
    Legacy systems are not necessarily bad, but they need to be seen as living objects requiring "refactoring" to make improvements. My favorite saying in software is "A day without refactoring is a day without sunshine". If you were every into Agile programming, this phrase should be familiar to you. 

    We're seeing demand for Cobol programmers to handle legacy systems for payroll, unemployment compensation, etc due to economic collapse due to mismanagement of the response to coronavirus. 

    In my limited experience, the failure with Cobol has been that the legacy systems were initially written for the first version of Cobol pulling data from punch cards. Then they got updated, minimally, to pull data from magnetic tape, which looked and behaved like punch cards. When hard disks became available, they pulled data from hard disk files which looked like punch cards. When relational databases came on line, the programs pulled data from DB2 like it was punch cards. In the latter case, much Cobol code could be replaced by some simple SQL, replacing hundreds of lines of code with a handful of SQL. Some improvements might have been made for Y2K, but it seems minimal. 

    When newer versions of Cobol were released, with improved features, managers and programmers coded new programs using the same style and architectures of the original Cobol, and typically refused to use the newer features. And, they could have, at the same time, documented the code for later programmers. 

    Doing what is necessary to keep legacy code alive is not a failure of the legacy code, but a failure of the willingness of manager and programmers to improve code that works, to make the code work better or simply to improve the design without changing its functionality. 

    Continuous improvement, a la Deming, is neither hard nor costly, but always taking shortcuts is. 
    roundaboutnow
  • Reply 116 of 162
    sergiozsergioz Posts: 338member
    You forget to mention that windows 10 and many programs like adobe have been running on ARM processors for 3 years now. 
  • Reply 117 of 162
    IanSIanS Posts: 39member
    I must say I agree with some others placing the new ARM based Macs at the bottom of the stack would make them seem like toys and would be a bad strategic decision. This is not what they did in their previous processor transitions.

    It would seem that the only group in Apple that can keep a secret is the Processor group, 64bit arm anyone. Another thing to consider was just how many development platforms there were in those early days, only the biggest multi-platform developers don't use Xcode.

    Apple could also use this transition to reinvigorate the Mac App Store, using it to supply binaries that are tuned to the mac downloading them, reducing bloat.

    If apple wants to make a splash and let developers know the writing is on the wall for Intel, they need to start with the prosumer market and not the low end.

    There is no end to massively powerful ARM chips out there from other companies for small markets, Apple definitely has the talent to develop something that could surprise everyone.
  • Reply 118 of 162
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    I for one am really excited, ARM is a great choice!
    Actually it is the stuff outside of the ARM cores that will make or break these machines.  
  • Reply 119 of 162
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    mbdrake76 said:
    Soli said:
    mbdrake76 said:
    I'd still say they are going to be moving to custom-designed AMD chipsets instead.  Probably based around the Zen 2 architecture.  It'll retain x86 compatibility and provide better performance for the power.  The move to an all ARM platform seems a little too early.  Yes, they could if they wanted to, but I still think there needs to be considerable work done before Windows on ARM becomes a proper, mass-embraced thing.
    Apple makes macOS. Microsoft makes Windows.
    Well DUH. 

    The point is that Macs are in a position to run both operating systems.  Virtually or via natively.  As a systems administrator who works for a system integrator (and before that, a VFX software firm), I work across multiple operating systems and the Mac is the only device that allows me to consolidate both OSes within the same hardware.  Shift to ARM, that goes away.
    Honestly nobody cares about your specific needs.   I’m not sure why people get so wrapped up in this multi OS support business.  

    As far as I’m concerned there are far more damaging ways that Apple could screw this up.  For example locking down the platform like iOS.   Another is not having fully native software at launch.  Another is forgetting the utilities UNIX provides and especially forgetting Python.  In a nut shell not being able Toruń Windows will not kill ARM based Macs by any stretch of the imagination.   Rather Apples stupidity of late could kill the machines.  

    By the way many expect lower cost machines.   I actually doubt this will happen as Apple is obsessed with profits.  If they go ARM I could see prices remaining the same.  The might go up if the machines demonstrate significant performance advantages.  
  • Reply 120 of 162
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    tht said:
    jdb8167 said:
    This has been done before with the Intel transition. The Rosetta emulator for going from PowerPC to Intel x86 was quite effective. The problem with the ARM transition is that the ARM CPU isn’t likely to be as much faster from the Intel CPU as was the Intel CPU from the PowerPC CPU. So any slowdowns will seem like very poor performance.
    The rumored Apple custom CPU for Mac is going to be fabbed on TSMC 5 nm. That's a 70% higher transistor density than the transistor densities afforded by Intel 10 nm or TSMC 7 nm, which AMD uses. And, Intel may still be fabbing desktop processors on 14 nm in the fall. That really boggles the mind and Apple at minimum should be jumping to AMD or their own custom processor ASAP.

    TSMC 5 nm has a 3x to 4x density advantage over Intel 14 nm. Like with AMD with TSMC 7 nm Zen 2 is crushing Intel 14 nm processors in perf/watt/$, Apple is going to crush AMD and Intel if they are fabbing these processors TSMC 5 nm while AMD is on 7 nm and Intel is using whatever they are using by then.

    Actually AMD is in the loop as far as 5nm goes!     Even with the 7nm node AMD is eating the hell out of Intel.  

    The only real problem with 5nm is heat which will require more care in SoC design.  Otherwise 5nm is looking to be HUGE.  ( couldn’t resist).  I’m fact if AMD gets there next year they will likely bury Intel, if Intel can’t get on anew node.  

    In any event for Apple 5nm will mean a massive performance bump of a huge power savings.  Likely they will split what 5nm offers down the middle to reduce power and increase performance.    This would mean an A14 that could reach mid to high end laptop performance.    That means better cooling than an iPhone but still amazing.  

    Im really excited about what A14 will be!   They could use all of that die space for far more functionality or instead shop a very small chip for phones.  It is just fascinating to think about the direction Apple will take.  
    prismaticsGG1mdriftmeyer
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