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  • Apple Silicon Mac mini dev kit looks like a desktop iPad Pro

    MplsP said:
    In another thread people were discussing the significance of the absence of thunderbolt On the developer Mac mini. My initial assumption was that Apple surely would be including it since leaving it off would be too big of a compromise In functionality, but as I’m reading this story I’m wondering about it again - if the Mac mini is meant for developers to get their software going, doesn’t the absence of TB hamstring that goal? Of perhaps it’s just because they ‘crammed an iPad into a mini box’ because that’s all they have ready right now? 
    As the article states, Apple's SoCs don't and can't support PCIe or Thunderbolt 3. They are Intel-licensed technologies that require special hardware, and neither has made sense on an iOS device. The article points out that TB3 is leaving Intel's proprietary control to become a feature optionally supported in USB 4. So at some point, Apple Silicon Macs and other iOS/iPadOS devices could deliver TB3 functionality using Apple's SoCs. But existing chips don't, so there's no way to put TB3 ports on an Apple SoC Mac right now. 

    If there were functional TB3 ports, it would indicate that the DTKit was instead a Mac mini with an A12Z bolted on the side, instead of basically an iPad Pro with much more RAM installed. 
  • Apple Silicon Mac mini dev kit looks like a desktop iPad Pro

    Sorry, but without an external keyboard and mouse or trackpad the iPad WAS mostly just an output device and not a "real computer" capable of "real work".
    Fortunately, that is no longer the case -- iPad is wearing big boy pants now -- and ready to challenge MacBooks.  In fact, with yesterday's announcements, one wonders why one would choose a MacBook over the iPad Pro with Magic Keyboard.
    The original iPad had an external keyboard. And while the trackpad cursor is an interesting development, it hasn't materially changed the usefulness of the platform. The core value of iPad is its mobility and the fact that it can be used without setting up any "desktop" to work from. 

    Apple is obviosuly not trying to "challenge" MacBooks. On what planet does that even make sense?

    And lots of people buy a MacBook to use it as a conventional, light & thin notebook used for typing. That's not new either.  
  • Why the Mac's migration to Apple Silicon is bigger than ARM

    imat said:
    Nice and well written article.

    My wonder is how Apple will manage feature parity. Apple announced Intel models of Mac are in the pipeline, I imagine Mac Pros and some high end configuration of other MacBook Pros for the time being.

    But the question is how will Apple introduce the benefits of Apple Silicon on some models and leave the Intel ones out.
    Imagine a MacBook Pro with Apple Silicon and FaceID, bionic processor, W1 processor and the rest. And the "higher performance model" with Intel CPU and none of the previous features. Because, if Apple adds them on Intel based Macs it will do a ton of work for 24 months only (which is the timeframe it provided for the switch to be complete).

    The same goes for "universal 2" software. Some tasks can only be performed on Apple Silicon based machines, forcing developers to think about workarounds which might or might not be possible.
    Since Apple Silicon, differently than the switch between PowerPC and Intel, is not only about the CPU, some software features might be tied to Apple Silicon leaving the nominally more powerful machines out in the cold.

    Yeah will be interesting to see how that works out. 

    Apple is already putting some of its SoC elements into the T2 chips on modern Macs to provide support for features coming from iOS. It's likely that future Intel Macs will get an expanding set of these features in a "T3" etc. But with all the dev tools in place and Universal binaries, it might even be cost-effective for Apple to replace the T2 with an actual A13 alongside the Core i5, providing a full set of Apple Silicon features. 

    The cost of silicon is mostly related to the design and initial production of each chip; cranking out volume copies makes each copy that much cheaper. 

    So it could end up being cheaper to mass-produce a few million extra copies of a full "A14 Bionic" SoC and use them in new Intel Macs vs. developing a custom T3 and T4 chip that would only end up being used in a few million Intel Macs over the next couple years. 

    Apple pays a lot of money to use Intel and Qualcomm chips, but those chips are mostly pure profit for the vendor. Same as software. 

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

    mattinoz said:
    mjtomlin said:

    These new Macs will still support discrete GPUs. There’s no reason to think they won’t.

    Would not be at all surprised if the Developer kits have a GPU in them. Given they were supposedly driving the XDR display.

    The new iPad Pro already supports 4K resolution output over USB-C (DisplayPort). It doesn't even need Thunderbolt.

    The existing developer transition "Apple Silicon Mac" has USB-C (no thunderbolt), and is likely a modified iPad Pro with more RAM, rather than a Mac mini adapted to use Apple Silicon.

    The standard Mac mini has Thunderbolt 3 supporting 4 x 4K displays, and also supports TB3 RAID & eGPUs. TB3 is basically PCIe over a cable. TB3 and PCIe are both tied to Intel processors. iOS devices don't support either. 

    However, the upcoming "USB 4" is supposed to roll in the features of TB3, meaning that Apple Silicon Macs (and iPad Pros) could support USB 4 in the future without needing an Intel CPU. 
  • Why the Mac's migration to Apple Silicon is bigger than ARM

    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.