Why the Mac's migration to Apple Silicon is bigger than ARM

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  • Reply 21 of 123
    I find this all rather exciting because unlike in the past where we could look at the future roadmap for PowerPC and Intel we realistically have limited understanding of what apple's new silicon could look like. That goes especially for their higher-end Macs. The chip used in the developer Mac mini looks to certainly be capable for MacBook Air and other compact portables however I'm extremely interested to see what those higher-end chips could look like. 

    Given the transition is scheduled to take around two years that would indicate to me that the architecture of all their Mac-based chips is more or less finalized. The new silicon should provide incredible versatility for making many processes more efficient. However, I'm curious if for the high-end iMac or Mac Pro if Apple will be motivated to silence critics worried about high-end performance. The possibilities are wide open for what kind of monster Apple could create. The Mac Pro has a lot of thermal capacity. So at the end who knows but for me at least I'm quite excited.
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  • Reply 22 of 123
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 6,145member
    rain22 said:
    Mac users will be stuck using dumbed down iOS software for a long time I feel. 
    After all - This is the motivation isn’t it? Eventually have just 1 OS that can be modded to facilitate the device. 
    I certainly did not get that impression from what we saw. Not sure why you did. 
    rmusikantowwilliamlondonStrangeDayslolliverwatto_cobraDetnator
  • Reply 23 of 123
    crowley said:
    ErlendurK said:
    Apple doesn't use ARM cores.  They have a license of the instruction set that they use to develop their own cores, so technically they aren't ARM cores, but Apple cores that are using ARM instruction set.
    That's not a useful distinction; ARM aren't a manufacturer of any processors, so any processors that use the ARM instruction set are going to get called ARM cores for convenience.  Insisting that they be referred to as "Apple cores that are using ARM instruction set" is needlessly long winded pedantry.

    Say what?

    I'm surprised the article referred to Apple processors as using "ARM cores". That's what I expect to see on Android sites where they try to make it appear Apple processors are nothing special and are just ARM cores with a "few tweaks". They are far from it.

    While it's true ARM doesn't make processors, they sure as hell design processor cores. They even give them names (A55, A76 or similar). These cores are what Qualcomm, Huawei, Samsung and others use when they build processors, which saves them a massive amount of work that would be required to design their own custom cores (micro-architecture).

    @ErlendurK is correct. Apple has a license to use the ARM ISA (instruction set architecture) and then builds 100% custom designed cores that run that instruction set. It's the same as AMD building processors that are also 100% custom, but run the x86 ISA. I never hear anyone claim that AMD processors are using "Intel cores" so why should we do it with Apple/ARM?

    It's not pedantic to tell the truth.
    macplusplusStrangeDayslolliverfastasleeppatchythepiratetmayroundaboutnowspock1234thtwatto_cobra
  • Reply 24 of 123
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    crowley said:
    ErlendurK said:
    Apple doesn't use ARM cores.  They have a license of the instruction set that they use to develop their own cores, so technically they aren't ARM cores, but Apple cores that are using ARM instruction set.
    That's not a useful distinction; ARM aren't a manufacturer of any processors, so any processors that use the ARM instruction set are going to get called ARM cores for convenience.  Insisting that they be referred to as "Apple cores that are using ARM instruction set" is needlessly long winded pedantry.
    Nope. 

    ARM doesn’t manufacture processors, it licenses reference designs that manufacturers build upon. So that’s the basic design including the instruction set. Apple basically designs it’s own chips and uses the instruction set, which is why no one else can match them. 

    Article makes a good point though: the processor is just a small part of what’s happening here.  Folk seem to be worried that Apple can’t match Intel chips, but they’re not relying on just a basic ARM chip to do the work. 
    edited June 2020 williamlondoncommentzillaStrangeDayslolliverfastasleeptmayspock1234watto_cobraDetnator
  • Reply 25 of 123
    narwhal said:
    rain22 said:
    Mac users will be stuck using dumbed down iOS software for a long time I feel.  
    Here's news for you, Rain. Very few new apps are written for macOS (or Windows). Apps today are developed for the web, iOS and Android.

     @narwhal: It may look that way but ALOT more programs are X86/64 The rest of the world decided to settle on x86. See that console gaming industry. Most LOB (Line of business) is x86. Real gaming on the mac is dead. Steam will not run on new ARM macs. So all those games that people bought on steam will be worthless for those who own these new ARM macs. Also when it comes to programs, There is Photoshop for ipad which is what your ARM mac will run and then there is REAL Photoshop with all of the x86/64 plugins that people have made. I wonder if they will port their plugins to the new ARM photoshop. Will the ARM photoshop even run plugins. The same is true for office will you get ipad office on ARM or REAL office that you do now? Also this is after Apple throws you out in the cold by stripping roseta2  away from you as they did is mac OS 10.7 i believe. Lets also not forget that wonderful smooth transition from 32-64 bit only apps that nearly killed Steam on the mac. Also how nice will apple play with developers and users once they have hegemony. Apple silicon is the ultimate lock in. I can see apple using gatekeeper to make their platforms only use the mac app store. That means you new $899-$10,000 mac is a glorified locked in ipad with a keyboard and mouse. At least with intel macs you can run crossover to get older 32-bit versions of windows apps and wine. Will you get that on your ARM mac. Lets not forget this is the same company that will not let you change your default web browser, or maps app in iOS because they want total control of the user experience. I bet you this will be coming to a mac near you, in mac OS 11.3 or whatever they are going to call it. This is a sad day for the computing industry indeed, if the market falls for Apple and their lock in scam.


    williamlondonRiker
  • Reply 26 of 123
    hmlongcohmlongco Posts: 388member
    There is Photoshop for ipad which is what your ARM mac will run and then there is REAL Photoshop with all of the x86/64 plugins that people have made. I wonder if they will port their plugins to the new ARM photoshop. Will the ARM photoshop even run plugins. The same is true for office will you get ipad office on ARM or REAL office that you do now? 
    The demo showed Photoshop. Not an iPad version of PS but Photoshop. And Apple has already stated that Rosetta 2 is perfectly capable of handling complex application plugins and even software (like web browsers) that do JIT compilation.

    Same for Microsoft Office, Excel, Powerpoint. Full blown desktop applications.

    "Lets not forget this is the same company that will not let you change your default web browser, or maps app in iOS because they want total control of the user experience."

    Uhhh.... https://9to5mac.com/2020/06/22/ios-14-default-apps/

    lolliverfastasleeproundaboutnowspock1234watto_cobra
  • Reply 27 of 123
    lmasantilmasanti Posts: 162member
    How would they be named?
    DTK uses an A12z chip because it is the most powerful that the had showed us.

    But for portables and desktop, they could develop different combinations and number of cores… ant they would be called ‘As’.
    Maybe Bs for mac(B)looks, or D for (D)esktop? 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 28 of 123
    Would it be possible (with development) to plug your phone into your Mac to double the processor power similar to how external GPUs work today? 
    lolliverspock1234watto_cobra
  • Reply 29 of 123
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 3,019member
    Ah, so the lousy webcam in most Macs is because of Intel.
    /s
    It seems like planned obsolescence to me.
    edited June 2020
  • Reply 30 of 123
    rain22 said:
    “ but it suggests that new Apple Silicon Macs will not be struggling to keep up with the graphics on Intel Macs.”

    That would be nice - but seems extremely dependent on programs being optimized. The anemic library of titles will probably shrink even further - at least until there is market saturation. 

    Mac users will be stuck using dumbed down iOS software for a long time I feel. 
    After all - This is the motivation isn’t it? Eventually have just 1 OS that can be modded to facilitate the device. 
    iOS and macOS share the same core and were designed to be processor independent. This is why existing apps can be modified and recompiled for ARM in days. I suspect the performance will be far better than you think. That Tome Raider demo spoke volumes. A brand new 2020 13" 10th Gen i7 Quad-Core can't even do that with native code.

    One great example of such advantages came when Apple demonstrated that a console-class video game (Shadow of the Tomb Raider—granted, a game released in 2018) could run on an iPad Pro chipset in Mac OS. The demo wasn't perfect: the game ran at 1080p with fairly middling settings, but did so at what appeared to be at the very least a steady 30FPS, all while being run as an emulated x86 version of the game. That is: the game wasn't even natively compiled for ARM. But consider that Intel's most powerful laptop chipset GPU, found in the 10th generation Ice Lake series, is not capable of breaking single digit frame rates on this game at 1080p. Apple received some snark about this demo being lame, but it's only lame if you don't understand at all just how terrible modern integrated laptop GPUs are. Apple is using a—very likely fanless—system on a chip to run laps around the latest and greatest from Intel. There is nothing Intel makes that has a more powerful GPU. Oh, and all evidence suggests that it's doing this at under half the cost of using that Intel chipThat's not just impressive, it's absolutely nuts.

    Apple's chipset advantage has me more jealous than ever - Android Police

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  • Reply 31 of 123
    I suspect Apple has always been looking at 3 to 5 years ahead.  This means Apple slowed down the adoption of Intel processors in the last several years to divert all engineering resources to prepare this transition.  We will likely to see new Macs with new form factors, more innovative features, even modular designs for the next 2 years.
    williamlondonlolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 32 of 123
    rain22rain22 Posts: 132member
    rain22 said:
    “ but it suggests that new Apple Silicon Macs will not be struggling to keep up with the graphics on Intel Macs.”

    That would be nice - but seems extremely dependent on programs being optimized. The anemic library of titles will probably shrink even further - at least until there is market saturation. 

    Mac users will be stuck using dumbed down iOS software for a long time I feel. 
    After all - This is the motivation isn’t it? Eventually have just 1 OS that can be modded to facilitate the device. 
    iOS and macOS share the same core and were designed to be processor independent. This is why existing apps can be modified and recompiled for ARM in days. I suspect the performance will be far better than you think. That Tome Raider demo spoke volumes. A brand new 2020 13" 10th Gen i7 Quad-Core can't even do that with native code.

    I hope you are right. We got burned on a bunch of G5’s during the last switch. Rosetta didn’t work half the time, crashes, software wasn’t supported, and Apple dropped support on its own suit almost overnight. Peripherals became junk as no drivers were updated and Apple put the whole onus on developers and manufacturers. We ended up tossing the G5’s for a big loss and getting the new Mac Pro’s. At least then we could upgrade our own video cards.
  • Reply 33 of 123
    fox.kenji said:

    rob53 said:
    Good article but you left out how virtualization works and after doing a quick search of Apple's new Developer app, nothing showed up. Nothing for Rosetta either. Doesn't surprise me because it's probably a very proprietary set of software and hardware, which is fine with me.

    I saw that Parallels released a blog article mentioned their prototype version of Parallels was used for the demo but nothing about which port of Debian was used. Their blog keeps saying to check back later. Has anyone been able to ask this question of any of the macOS Big Sur Apple people during a WWDC conference call? If Parallels only had to create an Apple Silicon version of Parallels (ok, Im stopping to say ARM because it's obviously a lot more than just ARM developers will have to content with) while macOS Big Sur using Rosetta did the "conversion" then that is also a huge step by Apple. 
    Rosetta 2 does not support translation for virtualization 

    nuclide said:
    Arm Holdings (stylized as arm) is a semiconductor and software design company wholly owned by Japanese conglomerate SoftBank Group and its Vision Fund. 

    How is ARM "majority-owned by Chinese interests?"
    Yes that's partially correct. In 2018, SoftBank set up an ARM China joint venture and then sold off half of the interest in that to Chinese interests. That was likely to get around US restrictions on sharing ARM technology with Huawei. SoftBank also still needs money, so it could go further and sell more of ARM Ltd. In any case, apart from Qualcomm and Samsung, pretty much all of the mobile competitors using ARM are served by ARM China.  
    This cannot be allowed to continue happening. ARM architecture is way far too important to be allowed to be appropriated by the Chinese Communist government. Something must be done.
    Did this conversation just ridiculously and stupidly go absurdly propagandistic?? [rolls eyes]
    commentzillamacpluspluswatto_cobra
  • Reply 34 of 123
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 5,990member
    narwhal said:
    rain22 said:
    Mac users will be stuck using dumbed down iOS software for a long time I feel.  
    Here's news for you, Rain. Very few new apps are written for macOS (or Windows). Apps today are developed for the web, iOS and Android.

     @narwhal: It may look that way but ALOT more programs are X86/64 The rest of the world decided to settle on x86. See that console gaming industry. Most LOB (Line of business) is x86. Real gaming on the mac is dead. Steam will not run on new ARM macs. So all those games that people bought on steam will be worthless for those who own these new ARM macs. Also when it comes to programs, There is Photoshop for ipad which is what your ARM mac will run and then there is REAL Photoshop with all of the x86/64 plugins that people have made. I wonder if they will port their plugins to the new ARM photoshop. Will the ARM photoshop even run plugins. The same is true for office will you get ipad office on ARM or REAL office that you do now? Also this is after Apple throws you out in the cold by stripping roseta2  away from you as they did is mac OS 10.7 i believe. Lets also not forget that wonderful smooth transition from 32-64 bit only apps that nearly killed Steam on the mac. Also how nice will apple play with developers and users once they have hegemony. Apple silicon is the ultimate lock in. I can see apple using gatekeeper to make their platforms only use the mac app store. That means you new $899-$10,000 mac is a glorified locked in ipad with a keyboard and mouse. At least with intel macs you can run crossover to get older 32-bit versions of windows apps and wine. Will you get that on your ARM mac. Lets not forget this is the same company that will not let you change your default web browser, or maps app in iOS because they want total control of the user experience. I bet you this will be coming to a mac near you, in mac OS 11.3 or whatever they are going to call it. This is a sad day for the computing industry indeed, if the market falls for Apple and their lock in scam.


    Funny... I heard similar things when Apple went off the PowerPC architecture to Intel.  But hey... "Apple is doomed" right?

    I'm a heavy photoshop/lightroom user and while I don't use the iPad version, many friends that do have said great things about it.  Many now primarily use the iPad Pro for their photoshop work. 

    That says something.

    As I understand it, Adobe completely rewrote Photoshop/Lightoom for the iPad and it is a huge improvement in performance compared to MacOS.  My primary reason of replacing my 2015 iMac is to upgrade to a new/faster machine in order to use Lightrooom which runs like crap on my machine, even though it's a Quad-i7 with 64GB of RAM.  It's crazy fast for everything else except this.  I hate that reason as there are no real alternatives (for me) to go to another photo editing platform.

    If performance is as good for MacOS(ARM) and not just marketing speak, I'll upgrade to it as will many others.

    Personally, I wish Apple never discontinued Aperture.  They have FCP which is for many, a market-standard for video, they could have done/kept the same thing for us photography users as "Photos" is nowhere near what Aperture could do.


    edited June 2020 lolliverfastasleeptmaymacpluspluswatto_cobra
  • Reply 35 of 123
    rain22 said:
    rain22 said:
    “ but it suggests that new Apple Silicon Macs will not be struggling to keep up with the graphics on Intel Macs.”

    That would be nice - but seems extremely dependent on programs being optimized. The anemic library of titles will probably shrink even further - at least until there is market saturation. 

    Mac users will be stuck using dumbed down iOS software for a long time I feel. 
    After all - This is the motivation isn’t it? Eventually have just 1 OS that can be modded to facilitate the device. 
    iOS and macOS share the same core and were designed to be processor independent. This is why existing apps can be modified and recompiled for ARM in days. I suspect the performance will be far better than you think. That Tome Raider demo spoke volumes. A brand new 2020 13" 10th Gen i7 Quad-Core can't even do that with native code.

    I hope you are right. We got burned on a bunch of G5’s during the last switch. Rosetta didn’t work half the time, crashes, software wasn’t supported, and Apple dropped support on its own suit almost overnight. Peripherals became junk as no drivers were updated and Apple put the whole onus on developers and manufacturers. We ended up tossing the G5’s for a big loss and getting the new Mac Pro’s. At least then we could upgrade our own video cards.
    A lot of difference between then and now. Apple has been running iOS (macOS) on ARM for a decade now and operating has been designed to create a layer of abstraction from the hardware. This is why many apps will only need to be recompiled or can run in translation. That Tome Raider demo was a x86 mac app running without modification in translation via Rosetta 2. The old Rosetta couldn't do anything like that since apps were much closer to the hardware in those days and Metal didn't exist yet.

    As for INTEL updates, I assume any app written natively for ARM can be recompiled for INTEL which means developers will easily be able to support both platforms. That's the beauty of the abstraction layer. The only question then becomes how long will Apple support new versions of macOS on INTEL since that occurs at the hardware level. I suspect it depends on the install base and their traditional obsolete/vintage status for hardware; 5 years of full support and 2 additional years minimum for security updates.

    5-7 years is just about what I expect to get out of a device. Come this Fall my 7+ year old 2013 15" MBP will no longer be supported by the current operating system, which means it's down to security update status. I got my money's worth and the resale value of these machines is likely to remain high since Bootcamp is gone forever.
    lolliverfastasleepspock1234watto_cobra
  • Reply 36 of 123

    fox.kenji said:

    rob53 said:
    Good article but you left out how virtualization works and after doing a quick search of Apple's new Developer app, nothing showed up. Nothing for Rosetta either. Doesn't surprise me because it's probably a very proprietary set of software and hardware, which is fine with me.

    I saw that Parallels released a blog article mentioned their prototype version of Parallels was used for the demo but nothing about which port of Debian was used. Their blog keeps saying to check back later. Has anyone been able to ask this question of any of the macOS Big Sur Apple people during a WWDC conference call? If Parallels only had to create an Apple Silicon version of Parallels (ok, Im stopping to say ARM because it's obviously a lot more than just ARM developers will have to content with) while macOS Big Sur using Rosetta did the "conversion" then that is also a huge step by Apple. 
    Rosetta 2 does not support translation for virtualization 

    nuclide said:
    Arm Holdings (stylized as arm) is a semiconductor and software design company wholly owned by Japanese conglomerate SoftBank Group and its Vision Fund. 

    How is ARM "majority-owned by Chinese interests?"
    Yes that's partially correct. In 2018, SoftBank set up an ARM China joint venture and then sold off half of the interest in that to Chinese interests. That was likely to get around US restrictions on sharing ARM technology with Huawei. SoftBank also still needs money, so it could go further and sell more of ARM Ltd. In any case, apart from Qualcomm and Samsung, pretty much all of the mobile competitors using ARM are served by ARM China.  
    This cannot be allowed to continue happening. ARM architecture is way far too important to be allowed to be appropriated by the Chinese Communist government. Something must be done.
    Did this conversation just ridiculously and stupidly go absurdly propagandistic?? [rolls eyes]
    What if it falls into the hands of the mythic Antifa! [rolls eyes] Are we reliving the 1950's Red Scare again?
  • Reply 37 of 123
    crowley said:
    I wonder if the higher end Macs will have A chips with integrated GPUs, or if there will be non-GPU variants where Apple have a dedicated separate GPU, presumably from AMD.
    I'm guessing we may have seen the last of AMD / NIVIDA in any future Mac. The ARM GPU cores are no less as impressive or scalable than the CPU cores. That's another significant cost savings for Apple. It also insures that the GPU is optimized for Metal. This was the point of Metal from the beginning and why OpenGL was sent to the dustbin. Apple has been planning this move for almost a decade and I think it runs much deeper and faster than most people suspect; no INTEL/AMD, no AMD/NIVIDA and soon no Qualcomm.

    The end of dependence on competitors or a single source for parts. Complete design and manufacturing freedom.

    I suspect we'll also see the price drop as times goes on since they will be able to maintain margins and expand their base at the same time; maybe -$100 on the low end and $100s of dollars up the chain to the higher spec'd hardware.
    edited June 2020 lolliverfastasleeppatchythepirateDan_Dilgerspock1234watto_cobraDetnator
  • Reply 38 of 123
    narwhal said:
    rain22 said:
    Mac users will be stuck using dumbed down iOS software for a long time I feel.  
    Here's news for you, Rain. Very few new apps are written for macOS (or Windows). Apps today are developed for the web, iOS and Android.
    In the dark days of the mid 1990s, Mac users were forced to endure the indignity of software ported from Windows. At least now it’s software ported from iOS.
    raoulduke42lollivermwhiteDan_Dilgerspock1234jony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 39 of 123
    mattinozmattinoz Posts: 1,911member
    I find this all rather exciting because unlike in the past where we could look at the future roadmap for PowerPC and Intel we realistically have limited understanding of what apple's new silicon could look like. That goes especially for their higher-end Macs. The chip used in the developer Mac mini looks to certainly be capable for MacBook Air and other compact portables however I'm extremely interested to see what those higher-end chips could look like. 

    Given the transition is scheduled to take around two years that would indicate to me that the architecture of all their Mac-based chips is more or less finalized. The new silicon should provide incredible versatility for making many processes more efficient. However, I'm curious if for the high-end iMac or Mac Pro if Apple will be motivated to silence critics worried about high-end performance. The possibilities are wide open for what kind of monster Apple could create. The Mac Pro has a lot of thermal capacity. So at the end who knows but for me at least I'm quite excited.

    I guess it's going to depend on the specialist processors in the A (like ML Accelerators) and how much it makes sense to scale them up vs having small repetitive elements. Is it 2 -3 chips each to suit a part of the Mac family then bined and clocked to suit each model or do they go the other way and have 2-3 chips each to suit a roll and each machine ends up a combo of those parts?

    I do wonder If Apple might be seeing it as the later. A Family of chips as kit to build each machine instead of a part for each machine, say 3 chips 2 Bookends that go in every mac (basically versions of AX and T) and the middle one that can be used in multiples. With maybe a bigger middle chip for the MacPro charging an extra $1,000 per middle chip.

    Add some 3rd Party GPU choices in that mix and it will be interesting to see how Apple does do this over the next 2 years.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 40 of 123
    darthw said:
    Will it be possible, eventually, for Apple to make faster SoCs than the fastest most powerful intel Xenon chips?
    Yes. I just read that the new Japanese super computer, that is the fastest in the world is built using Arm chips.
    You can put enough of any CPU cores on a chip and have something with more computing power than a Xeon, but there are details required to work out there.  You can also have enough chips wired up to be more powerful overall.

    your answer didn’t answer anything in enough detail to be more than an apples to orangutan comparison and doesn’t answer the original question.

    can Apple eventually make their own SoCS to beat Intel Xeons? There are reasons that it could go either way:

    ARM ISA is easier to decode is in its favor.
    intel z86-64 ISA is more compact due to variable length instructions that reduce memory bandwidth required for a given number of of instructions that achieve the same thing.

    we shall see, but for the same process node, it could go either way.
    watto_cobra
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