Bloomberg: Apple eyes homebrewed chips for Macs

Over the past several years, Apple has spent a sizable chunk of change to bring iDevice chip development in-house. We’ve long heard rumblings that Apple will use that newfound expertise to design chips for its Mac computers, as well, but the speculation has been largely restricted to rumor sites—until now.

Quoting not one, not two, but three sources with knowledge of Apple’s plans, Bloomberg says Apple engineers "have grown confident that the chip designs used for [Apple’s] mobile devices will one day be powerful enough to run its desktops and laptops." The transition may not happen for "a few years," Bloomberg adds, but some of Apple’s engineers reportedly consider the switch "inevitable."

Ooh.

Unification between Macs and iDevices may be in the cards on the software front, too. One of Bloomberg’s sources notes that Craig Federighi, who’s been overseeing both OS X and iOS since Scott Forstall’s ouster, is "considered likely to push for this more integrated experience [between OS X and iOS]." One of the sources is also paraphrased as saying, "If [Apple CEO] Tim Cook wants to offer the consumer of 2017 and beyond a seamless experience on laptops, phones, tablets and televisions, it will be easier to build if all the devices have a consistent underlying chip architecture."

Meanwhile, Microsoft already offers a version of Windows for ARM, which powers the Surface and other tablets, and it’s working on support for ARM’s upcoming 64-bit architecture. And of course, AMD is cooking up ARM-based Opterons. It sure seems that Intel’s dominance in the PC market will be challenged more and more strongly over the coming years. I think this is going to be an interesting decade.

Comments closed
    • rrr
    • 7 years ago

    And obviously they will patent those chips and look for money from lawsuits.

    • Beelzebubba9
    • 7 years ago

    It should be noted that Apple’s first in-house ARM core was easily the best SoC available at its launch, so it seems that Apple has good chip design talent in house.

    That said, switching to ARM seems like a terrible idea since I find it very hard to envision a future in which Intel chips still don’t offer the best performance per watt for typical desktop and notebook workloads. I assume this is Apple’s attempt to keep Intel’s feet to the fire and shape their roadmap to better serve Apple’s needs.

      • NeelyCam
      • 7 years ago

      I’m not sure it was “easily the best SoC available”. Sure – it had the biggest baddest GPU in it, and the CPUs were pretty fast. But the CPU wasn’t [i<]that[/i<] much faster than Krait and Atom, or [i<]that[/i<] much more efficient. And how much of the performance was due to the OS?

        • Beelzebubba9
        • 7 years ago

        I assume quite a bit of the A6’s strong showing was due to OS integration, but that still doesn’t change the fact that the iPhone 5 lead or was at the top of the pack in nearly every performance metric while fitting into one of the thinnest and lightest phones while offering among the best battery life. Considering Apple doesn’t have any kind of process advantage and their SOC has a lot more of GPU horsepower, any advantage they can extract over companies that have been designing ARM cores for years deserves a strong mention.

        As far as OS independent-ish benchmarks, look what the A6 does to Krait in LNpack:

        [url<]http://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/Nexus-4Optimus-G-charts.005.png[/url<] [i<]brutal[/i<] Edit: To defend my 'easily the best' SoC claim, I just mean that the A6 offered among the best or the best CPU performance, and among the best to best GPU performance in a more efficient package than any of the competition. Anand's insane iPhone 5 review has a lot better efficiency benchmarks if one wants more evidence.

          • NeelyCam
          • 7 years ago

          [quote<]To defend my 'easily the best' SoC claim, I just mean that the [b<]iPhone 5[/b<] offered among the best or the best CPU performance, and among the best to best GPU performance in a more efficient package than any of the competition.[/quote<] I edited that just a little bit to emphasize the point that OS and integration may have played an important role, too - not just the magical A6

            • Beelzebubba9
            • 7 years ago

            I half agree with your point. It’s impossible to isolate the SoC from the platform, but in the few areas where you can minimize the impact of software optimizations (LNpack, GPU throughput benchmarks) the A6 still shines.

            Is there an argument to be made that there’s a better SoC on the market currently?

            • NeelyCam
            • 7 years ago

            The A15-based Exynos chip in the new Chromebook is pretty fast – I bet it would “nuke” A6 in Linpack. But yes – it guzzles your battery dry when doing that.. so I’m not sure if it qualifies as an “SoC” in the sense you’re talking about here

            • Beelzebubba9
            • 7 years ago

            Actually there are plenty of benchmarks for the A15 based Exynos out in the wild in at least tablet spec:

            [url<]http://www.anandtech.com/show/6425/google-nexus-4-and-nexus-10-review[/url<] I'd expect future versions of the A15 core to offer better performance than that because of the core itself has a lot more execution resources than either the A6 or Krait. It seems like it just might be a bit too power hungry for a smaller-than-netbook form factor right now and there may be a lot of throttling going on. Also, do be quite clear I don't think linpack represents a particularly meaningful benchmark in a smartphone SoC, but another gerbil insisted at great length that it was the only benchmark that mattered because everything else had too much room for software optimizations. I assume he mostly pushed this angle because he thought it would put Krait based Android devices in a much better light than Apple's, but that does not appear to be the case anymore. I am very curious to see what nVidia does with the A15 based Tegra 4.

          • ChronoReverse
          • 7 years ago

          Keep in mind that Linpack for Android is terrible since it’s not native but running on Dalvik. StabilityTest has a natively compiled Linpack which is much faster.

          For example, my Snapdragon S3 scores 282 in the native Linpack while only 82 in the Dalvik one. That’s over THREE times faster!

          The Optimus G scored 377 in the Dalvik Linpack; could you imagine three times that for over 1000?

          As a sidenote, why is it that every single benchmarker for mobile hardware (even the Anandtech I normally respect) done so terribly?

          It’s as if they don’t understand the nature of what they’re benchmarking. Even I’d do a much better job and I’m just an amateur.

            • Beelzebubba9
            • 7 years ago

            Do you have a link to back this up? I’m just curious now.

            • ChronoReverse
            • 7 years ago

            Feel free to contact the developers of the two apps I mentioned.

            But you can tell from the app descriptions:
            Linpack for Android
            “This test is more a reflection of the state of the Android Dalvik Virtual Machine than of the floating point performance of the underlying processor.

            StabilityTest
            “It also comes with per core or combined native linpackc MFLOPS calculation to measure your raw cpu performance.”

            • Beelzebubba9
            • 7 years ago

            I don’t actually doubt you, I’m just used to hearing a list of excuses every time an iDevice is faster than the Android competition and then a list of gloating whenever the tables are turned. So pardon my skepticism.

          • ChronoReverse
          • 7 years ago

          As for the GPU, you also have to keep in mind how Apple has double the SoC size compared to everyone else. They have more volume so they can afford the huge dies.

          In terms of absolute performance, the SGX554 is top end but at best on par with the Mali T604 and Adreno 320. But graphics is really parallel so Apple has been able to put more and more cores since they can afford to have such a large die.

          It still comes down to the fact that Apple has the fastest GPU by far but it’s not really a technological advance that let them do that.

            • Beelzebubba9
            • 7 years ago

            1. The A6 is only ~17mm^2 larger than the Tegra 3:

            [url<]http://www.anandtech.com/show/6330/the-iphone-5-review/4[/url<] I know that's not really any kind of level comparison, but I couldn't find die size information for the S4 Pro. Considering the S4 Pro has quad Krait cores and an Adreno 320 GPU, it's certainly not a 50mm^s SoC, so I'm not sure where you're getting the notion that the A6 or the A6X are twice the size of the competition. And if it were, then Apple should get a ton of credit for maintaining industry leading battery life despite having so many more transistors to account for. 2. The SGX554 MP4 absolutely manhandles the 320 and Mali T604: [url<]http://www.anandtech.com/show/6426/ipad-4-gpu-performance-analyzed-powervr-sgx-554mp4-under-the-hood[/url<] But to be quite clear: [quote="ChronoReverse"<] It still comes down to the fact that Apple has the fastest GPU by far but it's not really a technological advance that let them do that.[/quote<] I totally agree; Apple is just taking a more aggressive stance on SoC design because their massive volumes can allow them to eat the cost and their deep vertical integration helps them mitigate design consequences. It's not magic, just expensive engineering. πŸ™‚

            • ChronoReverse
            • 7 years ago

            They’re not on the same process size. The A6 is 32nm while Tegra3 is 45nm. The A5X (163) is more than double the Tegra3 (80).

            Also, the A6 doesn’t contain the SGX554. The A6[b<]X[/b<] does πŸ˜‰ With that said, I've been beat down before in discussions for daring to mention how the Tegra3 has a pretty subpar GPU for its generation. The Adreno 320 and Mali T604 both have slightly faster GPUs than the A6 (compare the GLBenchmark HD 2.5 scores with the iPhone 5), but the SGX554 MP4 compared to the iPhone 5 has double the cores (and minor core changes). So it doubles the Adreno and Mali. Still, when you look at the die image for the A6X, it's dominated by the GPU cores. At 130ish mm^2, it's larger than a dual core Sandy Bridge cpu/gpu combo on the same 32nm size! In any case, this is academic. Only an idiot would argue that the A6X doesn't have the fastest GPU for mobiles. I just like information to be accurate and comprehensive.

            • Beelzebubba9
            • 7 years ago

            The Tegra 3 is made on a 40nm process, not 45. πŸ™‚

            Anyway, i think we agree that Apple isn’t using any kind of mojo or magic here, they’re just doing the following:

            1. Because iOS has always been able to offload a lot of the GUI functions to the GPU, it make sense for Apple to invest more money in graphics hardware than the average Android handset manufacturer.
            2. And because Apple has such massive volumes and a tight cost structure, adding $2 to the cost of an SoC makes sense because of #1.
            3. Lastly, because of their very tight vertical integration, Apple can mitigate the tradeoff in peak power consumption by more tightly controlling their software stack and hardware design to keep form factor and battery life in check.

      • esterhasz
      • 7 years ago

      I don’t know – you’re second point makes sense, but what makes ARM interesting for heavier workloads in a five year horizon is the modular integration of IP blocks to dedicate to specific tasks and optimize accordingly.

      The move to ARM would not only be the move to a new instruction set, but also an OS strategy that combines highly targeted compilers with specialized hardware in tight integration. That’s why certain tasks simply fly on relatively anemic hardware. iOS’ browser for example hands off rendered content to an optimized and prioritized GUI layer that is almost entirely handled by dedicated OpenGL hardware.

      I don’t know whether heterogeneous computing is “the future”, but the modularity of the ARM ecosystem allows for quite interesting things, in particular if one controls the software side of the equation.

        • Beelzebubba9
        • 7 years ago

        Excellent post.

    • chuckula
    • 7 years ago

    Yeah.. upon additional reflection: we’re right but we’re also wrong.

    1. All the technological arguments about how Apple’s flavor of ARM won’t beat the performance of Intel are 100% true, but unfortunately irrelevant.

    2. Technical arguments don’t matter because Apple doesn’t care: ARM gives Apple the ability to force new people into the walled garden and to exert an even greater level of control over existing “guests” of the walled garden that are already iPhone/iPad users. To that end: [b<] it doesn't matter if the ARM products are technically inferior and forbid the use of real applications that real PC users have come to expect! That's because Apple is not out to make the best technology but to make something shiny that gives it more control over the users.[/b<] 3. Irony Alert: Apple will still have to keep some Intel based systems around in their offerings because they still need developers to write stuff for the walled garden. Writing apps on a crippled system won't be productive, so Apple will need to keep Intel around to make it possible for the shiny ARM iWhatevers to keep consumers hooked.

      • Beelzebubba9
      • 7 years ago

      Fanboy logic is the best logic.

      • diable
      • 7 years ago

      That has to be one of the dumbest things I’ve ever read.

    • HisDivineOrder
    • 7 years ago

    Apple always does this before a major Intel chip release. Before Ivy Bridge, Apple had rumors running around of how they were considering swapping out Intel chips for ARM chips of their own design for Macbook Air’s running iOS. The argument was that’s all Macbook Air’s really needed. They were running Intel. Did the same before Sandy Bridge. Still were running Intel.

    Apple has traditionally used these rumors to achieve their goals. The trivial amount of money they invested in PA is insignificant next to the bargaining posture they’ve had since that purchase, especially with each successful Ax chip since.

    But leaks are classic Apple. If they need to drum up interest in a product, then they release a whole series of rumors through their manufacturing partners and “leaks” to their publishing/news friends who are all too happy to have the publicity. Who cares if they’re only half right? People only remember when they’re right for the most part. Suddenly, the iPad 2 is going to have retina, it’s going to able to interpret your dreams as you have them, and the iPad 2 is going to include a Butt Plug add-on that will actually make it so your farts don’t stink. Instead, they’ll smell like roses OR apple pie.

    Then they release and it’s same old, same old. People are all revved up, though, and the iPad’s are spun by Jobs as “magical” so hard, that initial enthusiasm over the exotic crap that didn’t materialize becomes fuel to power the magic that does happen to show up with the newest iPad. Apple has built up a network of “leaks” that serve their interests and they use them whenever they need something. If there is a failing, it is that Apple has no one to replace Jobs to spin the whole thing, so people are now coming away disappointed. The RDF was real and it continues to evaporate, leaving lots of indifference in its wake. The magic is gone and seemingly gone for good. Lots of people cling to that old feeling, but it just isn’t the same anymore. Hence, people are for the first time less excited about a new Apple iOS release than they were satisfied by the last one. Momentum’s a funny thing. One minute, you’re on top of the world, the next you’re seen as a complete screw-up. Like Microsoft.

    But when a new Intel chip series is coming, Tim Cook’s wheelhouse is negotiating new contracts and Apple’s almost certainly in negotiations right now for Haswell’s final pricing because it’s probably six months or less out from release in Apple products, and if Apple didn’t have ANOTHER OPTION, then Intel might get the idea that Apple was desperate for their chips. Apple is never desperate, even when they are. That’s why they have such great deals with Foxconn and formerly with Samsung. That’s why Sharp’s going out of business. That’s why Foxconn is killing its employees, one poisonous aluminum particulate matter at a time or helping ease the burden of working at their factories by setting up nets to catch their tortured workers to ensure they do not escape the hell they’ve been hired into. Because Apple is never desperate and always, always gets the best deal even if it means they have to crack a few hundred overworked Chinese slave skulls.

    Even if they have to let slip rumors of iOS taking over for certain classes of Macbooks to force Intel into lowballing their pricing. Of course, this does happen to be Intel’s nightmare scenario where x86 chips are replaced wholesale on the cool computers (ie., Apple) with ARM and iOS, leading to other manufacturers also dropping x86 chips to run with Windows RT (or a derivative). Leading to Intel going from a world class CPU company to a world class fabrication company making tons of money. Just not as many tons.

    Oh, the horror. The horror.

      • brute
      • 7 years ago

      butt plugs are all i got out of that

        • MadManOriginal
        • 7 years ago

        I think you mean INTO that.

        *rimshot*

    • windwalker
    • 7 years ago

    This will definitely happen.
    Why? Here’s a reason: ultrabooks.

    The shamelessness and audacity of the claim that ultrabooks were “inspired by Intel” makes my stomach turn.
    Just imagine how Apple must feel seeing Intel subsidizing to the tune of $300 million the efforts of PC manufacturers to clone the Air.

    I bet that when 64bit ARM chips are available, they will power at least the MacBook Air and as a result Apple will be able to sell them well below the $1000 line, at prices comparable to mid to high end iPads.
    They will easily get applications by forcing everyone on the Mac App Store to provide fat binaries for both Intel x64 and 64 bit ARM, just like Microsoft is doing for Windows 8.

    MacBook Pro and Mac Pro (and maybe also iMac) will remain on Intel (for a while at least).

      • NeelyCam
      • 7 years ago

      [quote<]The shamelessness and audacity of the claim that ultrabooks were "inspired by Intel" makes my stomach turn.[/quote<] If I remember right, it was a joint collaboration between Apple and Intel to develop the MBA platform.. I wouldn't be surprised if the thin motherboard design and CPU packaging and cooling solutions came from Intel. [url<]http://www.macrumors.com/2008/06/13/apple-and-intels-collaboration-on-macbook-air-and-beyond/[/url<]

        • Airmantharp
        • 7 years ago

        That, and Intel patented and copyrighted ‘Ultrabooks’ without Apple crying foul. Apple couldn’t have made the MBA without Intel, and Intel appears to have made use of the relationship.

      • clone
      • 7 years ago

      Apple is a company that loves margins…. big margins, has always loved to maintain the largest margins in the industry, it’s doubtful they are focused on lowering the price of the air any more than they absolutely have to.

      “shameless” seems personal which given Apple is a corporation interested only in taking your money while dictating to you where your creativity should lie seems notably unfortunate, regardless it’s not personal it’s business, nothing more, Apple wants to walk away from Intel for the sake of more independence, it’d likely be less costly as well given Apple has proven to the market for the past 30 years that it doesn’t need the best or fastest parts in their products to sell let alone maintain the highest margins in the industry.

      the Apple brand is built around the tao/legacy of Steve and it’s all they need….. at least for now.

    • raddude9
    • 7 years ago

    Just an idea, but a combined ARM/x86 chip from AMD would be just the ticket to smooth the transition from X86 to ARM for Apple..

    • moog
    • 7 years ago

    Looks like Apple is trying to follow Microsoft. Who would’ve thought.

    • ronch
    • 7 years ago

    Getting a bit cocky, ain’t we, Tim?

    • MadManOriginal
    • 7 years ago

    Bloomberg: Technically clueless analysts do a trendy tech companies mashup.

    • pedro
    • 7 years ago

    Introducing: CPU mini. Now 50% thinner.

    You heard it here first folks.

      • ronch
      • 7 years ago

      … And 50% fewer execution units!

        • Anonymous Coward
        • 7 years ago

        But thats OK, because you’ll have Apple manage all your processing and data storage in their data centers.

          • MadManOriginal
          • 7 years ago

          Which will probably run on x86 hardware. Rube Goldberg would be proud!

            • Beelzebubba9
            • 7 years ago

            …and Windows Azure. πŸ™‚

    • esterhasz
    • 7 years ago

    Five years is a long time. Much can happen.

    For the moment, ARM chips are still far away from even the mid-range x86 CPUs, but they advance in strides. Will they catch up? I don’t know.

    But technical questions aside, there is a true difference in licensing models between the different ISAs and the more open ARM model currently allows for a lot of actors to contribute to the development of that platform. That’s a clear advantage, at least for the moment.

    And Apple is now an industry on its own and complete control over both hardware and software can compensate for missing horsepower, in particular if their compiler division can keep up with chip design.

    Interesting times.

      • ronch
      • 7 years ago

      Perhaps if big companies with far more R&D money than ARM itself would design ARM cores, ARM can match or exceed x86’s performance records. Take Sandy Bridge, for example. It’s practically a RISC design with a CISC-to-RISC front end. Imagine what would happen if Intel re-architected that RISC core to execute ARM instructions and did away with the CISC-RISC-CISC circuits.. Voila! An ARM CPU with Sandy Bridge’s architectural tricks. With theoretically lower power consumption Intel can probably clock it higher than SB x86. Of course, the likelihood of this happening is about as much as the likelihood that Intel will decide to make candies instead, so this is just fantasy.

        • esterhasz
        • 7 years ago

        True, it’s highly unlikely, but the fact that ARM licenses the instruction set makes it at least a theoretical possibility. And Intel already was an ARM licensee in the XScale days.

          • ronch
          • 7 years ago

          Someone’s bound to take the ARM ISA to new heights, given enough reason to and a big enough R&D budget.

    • Arclight
    • 7 years ago

    Apple can do whatever it wants, on the desktop front they are still a small, tiny player. Bringing ARM chips won’t do them any favours here.

    • sschaem
    • 7 years ago

    The true power of ARM SoC
    [url<]http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=VTtf_BgFS08[/url<] Coming to a laptop soon.... (Be careful what you wish for.)

      • BestJinjo
      • 7 years ago

      Bad example. That was a software bug that was fixed already. It doesn’t disprove that ARM SOC is terrible idea for a $1,000+ Apple laptop, but the issue in your video is not really showing how ARM CPUs an perform in Word.

        • sschaem
        • 7 years ago

        Didn’t Anand state that he saw 40% CPU usage in word? Was that also fixed?

        And how can a bug that obvious ship ? Doesn’t MS test typing in an app like word ?
        and its not like there is tons of configuration to test.. their is only ONE surface model.

        I agree no one should judge just on that app experience, this was ‘extreme’.
        But all the benchmarks I seen to far from Apple and their A6, the performance relative to a single core Atom is not that impressive.

        I also wonder what happen if you multitask on the surface.
        Like use word and watch netflix or run other task….
        (I’m sure the next version will have a faster SoC, but ARM have yet to provide netbook performance)

    • ronch
    • 7 years ago

    Just curious. Apple is the one company which has switched ISAs more often than any other computer company (at least from what I know). How do they maintain backward software compatibility? Do today’s Macs still run programs written for PowerPC-based Macs?

    Anyway, no doubt this will be a big blow to Intel. I guess the ARM onslaught continues.

      • TurtlePerson2
      • 7 years ago

      Some emulation and some stuff simply doesn’t work. In addition to being one of the only companies to switch ISAs, Apple is also one of the only companies that can tell its customers that they need to rebuy their software and have them not complain.

    • pedro
    • 7 years ago

    [quote<]Unification between Macs and iDevices[/quote<] I'm [i<]all[/i<] for this so long as the Frankenstein is more OSX-like than iOS-like.

    • Airmantharp
    • 7 years ago

    I think people are fairly confused about what constitutes ‘ARM’. It’s an instruction set, and any architecture one wishes may be built on top of that. Hell, it’s already going out-of-order and 64-bit, it’s biggest hurdles.

    The biggest challenge will be attempting to compete with Intel in their game while Intel happily competes with itself (thanks AMD!).

      • kalelovil
      • 7 years ago

      I don’t know why people are down-voting you for just stating a fact.

        • TaBoVilla
        • 7 years ago

        The comment voting system is ridiculous, as well as people who downvote normal opinion posts

      • sschaem
      • 7 years ago

      Well, AMD tripped… and while it was down the IT world stepped on its face and kick it in the ribs and use baseball bats to pummel it to a juicy pulp. Hard to dust yourself off and catch-up.
      No excuses, but I think people put to much expectation on what AMD can do as the underdog.

      For ARM you are 100% right, its just an ISA, nothing special about it.

      Intel could save a few transistor if it switched its ivy bridge CPU to another ISA.
      Probably not enough to do anything significant with, but at least the performance wouldn’t be any worse.

      Also, with platform like Android. MIPS is an alternative. If China go nuts on MIPS I could see ARM being invaded at the low end by mips products, and an unbreakable barrier set by Intel.
      Making ARM only reach a narrow middle range.

    • fantastic
    • 7 years ago

    Although CPU power is becoming slightly less important and power consumption is becoming more important, someone really underestimates Intel’s (and AMD’s) ability to move forward from where we already are. Intel probably invests more into R&D than Apple makes overall.

    This is translucent veil over the whole move from the desktop to cellphone debate.

      • BestJinjo
      • 7 years ago

      “Intel probably invests more into R&D than Apple makes overall. ”

      Are you joking? Apple’s earnings from overseas alone were $36.8 Billion in fiscal 2012:
      [url<]http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/technology/apple-paid-only-2-percent-income-tax-on-368-billion-in-earnings-outside-us-in-fiscal-2012/2012/11/04/d45c126c-26b9-11e2-ac64-5d52a2c5953e_story.html[/url<] Apple could buy most of Intel with its cash holdings alone. Now I personally don't believe that Apple will be stupid enough to switch to ARM-based CPUs in the next 5 years but beyond that, it's not out of the question that they might introduce lower priced laptops/desktops with ARM CPUs in 7-10 years if ARM CPU's eventually become fast enough. I think this is mostly to scare Intel to put Apple into a better bargaining position to get lower prices from Intel and/or influence Intel to continue making even more efficient CPUs (10W Haswell and better).

        • sschaem
        • 7 years ago

        “this is mostly to scare Intel to put Apple into a better bargaining position ”

        Those rumors are not pushed by Apple, they come from the financial community.

        First step for Apple to dump x86, is to copy something like MSIL and have all OSX apps compile to an intermediate language. (The assembly step is done at install time, on the client machine)
        If they do it now and give developers 3 to 5 years, they will be able to switch to another CPU architecture with ease.

        But as long as the body of OSX app target x86 binary, they show that they have no plan to make a move.

          • Anonymous Coward
          • 7 years ago

          You might recall that once upon a time, Apple was running PPC processors, and they gave no warning when it was time to switch.

            • chuckula
            • 7 years ago

            [quote<]they gave no warning when it was time to switch.[/quote<] Not exactly, there were extensive rumors before the official announcement and it was not a big surprise when it came. The big difference is that the Intel CPUs were so ridiculously better than the old PowerPCs they replaced that you could even emulate the old PowerPC software on the x86 chips at reasonable speed. Remember, the x86 chips were *massively* better than the PowerPCs, especially in mobile where the G5 never was never practical for use in a notebook. Can you honestly say that the ARM chips are going to be so ridiculously fast that they can emulate years and years of highly complex x86 software without causing heartburn? Can you even say that recompiled applications that specifically target ARM will be any faster at all than running them on an x86? Can you say that the architectural changes needed to get improved performance out of ARM will leave it any more power efficient than x86?

          • Flatland_Spider
          • 7 years ago

          [quote<]First step for Apple to dump x86, is to copy something like MSIL and have all OSX apps compile to an intermediate language.[/quote<] LLVM, the FOSS compiler Apple uses, already compiles everything down to its Intermediate Representation language before it creates the machine code, and LLVM works well as a JIT compiler.

            • Scrotos
            • 7 years ago

            And CLANG is apparently produces binaries that perform as well as GCC, too. And even if they don’t go that route, I’m sure they can revive the “fat” binaries again which is how they got PPC/x86 going in the first place with Rosetta/QuickTransit as an alternative for the emulation/translation. No reason they can’t extend that to ARM as well (binaries and QuickTransit, if IBM would still license it).

        • kumori
        • 7 years ago

        “Apple could buy most of Intel with its cash holdings alone”

        Intel’s market cap is $108b. Apple’s cash holdings are $11b (much of that parked offshore).

          • Beelzebubba9
          • 7 years ago

          Your numbers are wrong – Apple currently has $121B in cash on hand:

          [url<]http://www.macrumors.com/2012/10/25/apple-records-q4-2012-earnings-of-8-2b-on-36b-in-revenue-tops-150b-in-sales-for-fiscal-2012/[/url<] So yes, Apple could theoretically buy Intel out.

            • chuckula
            • 7 years ago

            No because buying a company out typically requires a multiple of the market cap (i.e. you can’t buy out a company, especially a highly-profitable company like Intel, by running out and buying up all the shares). An Intel takeover would likely require cash (mostly from leverage) of ~400 – 500 Billion, give or take, and if it turned into a feeding frenzy like what happened in the 80’s, then that number could balloon higher.

            • Beelzebubba9
            • 7 years ago

            Yeah, I should have put ‘theoretically’ in quotes or offered some kind of caveat since you’re completely right – there’s no real way Apple could buy Intel.

    • Decelerate
    • 7 years ago

    The only way this will happen is if/when Windows will be fully ARM-compatible and mature with major programs, minus the very old applications that will, maybe, eventually be emulated. Apple will wait for Windows to migrate first before they’d even take that step.

    Bootcamp was a huge boon that opened the floodgates for new adopters to the Mac world. Many users feel safe with that tether to the popular/dominant world and will only remain if that link is still present (Parallels?). I don’t see Apple kill that goose laying golden (ticket?) eggs anytime soon.

    Ticket: Think Willy Wonka…

    Edit: Thinking about it some more, the idea [i<]could[/i<] have been possible with a dreamer like Jobs at the helm, but I don't see the more [i<]reasonable, down-to-earth[/i<] Tim Cook pulling such a move...

      • Airmantharp
      • 7 years ago

      Windows *is* ARM-compatible. Only re-compiles are necessary.

        • Anonymous Coward
        • 7 years ago

        In theory.

    • Jive
    • 7 years ago

    I don’t understand why this rumor is so hard to believe? An ARM chip is an ideal candidate for use in the Macbook Air. People who purchase the MBA to begin with don’t do anything more than check email, surf the internet, watch Netflix, and use MS Word. Since when do you need a $100+ dollar Intel chip to do that when in a few years a $15 ARM chip can do the same exact thing while consuming MUCH less power.

    For a MBP/iMac, I would agree this is unrealistic.

      • sschaem
      • 7 years ago

      Because MS Word run GREAT on the ARM version of OSX ?

      If Apple was all about ‘going cheap’ they would use something like the AMD Z60.
      Its much faster then their A6, and still only consume 4.5watt. (Or they can go with intel z2460 in the macbook air if they dind’t care about performance)

      And yea, thats the only thing people do on a macbook air ? run netflix and browse the web? News flash, those people already have ipads.

      Lots of OMG moment on TR today.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 7 years ago

        Particularly because the UI scaling requires that programs be written with Cocoa and Office for OS X is still, 12 years after the introduction of OS X, a series of Carbon apps (other than the new Outlook that replaced Entourage)

        • Jive
        • 7 years ago

        Stop living in the past, I am sure you are still clinging onto your Windows Mobile 5.0 Pocket PC and and Windows XP desktop.

        Guess what, Apple doesn’t give a rat’s ass about what is currently [b<]NOT[/b<] available on OSX, including ARM support for Office on OSX. I am guessing you haven't realized that Apple does what it thinks is right, not what the market thinks is right and especially not what [i<]YOU[/i<] think is right. If the demand is there, Microsoft will develop a version of Office for OSX to run on an ARM processor, that is if they haven't already started or at least thought about it given that we will be having Office for the ARM version of Surface. Boy, I would hate to see how you would react to some news about Microsoft developing Office for the iPad....oh wait...

      • End User
      • 7 years ago

      Speak for yourself. I run VM’s on my MBA. ARM would suck.

        • Jive
        • 7 years ago

        Sorry but you are the minority of users that actually runs anything CPU intensive on your MBA and Apple doesn’t really care about you, that’s why they have the Macbook Pro.

          • sschaem
          • 7 years ago

          And dont kid yourself, you are the only person that would buy a ARM based macbook…
          Well beside the other Apple fanatic that buy anything Apple makes no question asked.

          Seriously. a macbook with an ARM CPU ?! Its a totaly useless product.

      • Sam125
      • 7 years ago

      Yeah, I can see that happening. Although I think this makes a lot of sense for every single Apple product.

      • diable
      • 7 years ago

      And you know this how or did you forget the /s?

    • sschaem
    • 7 years ago

    I’m surprised any geek is taking this article even remotely seriously.

    Just take a minute to think as to who buys $2000 macbook pros, and the software they run.

    And yea, iOS would work on an ARM based macbook air… … … … not!

    Anyways, we already new Apple made a version of OSX on ARM… nothing new.
    iOS devices will continue to grow…
    and unless Apple wants to kill its professional division (and loose billion is profit a year)
    it has literally no choice but to keep the x86 alive.

      • Sam125
      • 7 years ago

      You’ll have to understand the Apple demographic. Apple users tend to care more about style and tend to place a greater emphasis end-user functionality than the technical specs. Performance is secondary to ease-of-use as most Apple computer users would be considered to be more creative than technical. Plus they tend to be affluent and value brand identity. Do you think someone like that would want to use an Intel processor that powers the common x86 computer? No, they’d want to go homebrewed simply for the exclusivity.

        • MrJP
        • 7 years ago

        Performance is secondary to ease-of-use as most Apple computer users would [b<][i<]like to[/i<][/b<] be considered to be more creative than technical. Fixed that for you.

        • Beelzebubba9
        • 7 years ago

        The majority of computer users don’t care about who makes the processor in their devices, nor do they understand the difference between x86, AMD64, ARM v6, ARM v7, etc. It’s absurd to me that nerds would single out Mac users as being somehow more ignorant about computer hardware than the tens of millions of consumers out there who bought whatever the cheapest 15″ laptop they could at Best Buy.

        The greater truth is that neither the CPU nor the ISA matters to 90% of consumers 90% of the time since as long as the device does what they want as fast as they expect it to..

          • brute
          • 7 years ago

          It’s not that nerds are frothing at the breathehole at Mac users for being ignorant, but how they carry themselves. Not their ignorance, but the manner in which they’re ignorant.

          Mac users aren’t simply ignorant. They’re very vocal about their ignorance. They may be ignorant, but they know more than you, and you need to hear about it!

            • Beelzebubba9
            • 7 years ago

            Maybe because it’s the sites I read (PC enthusiast sites), but for every Apple fanboy there are 400 anti-Apple zealots spewing out equally useless and ignorant ‘arguments’ based entirely on which product or company they most closely identify themselves with, not anything useful or factual. It’s just a deeply uninteresting paradigm.

            • brute
            • 7 years ago

            my experience comes from the mystical realm of real life

            • Beelzebubba9
            • 7 years ago

            No one I associate with is a fanboy of any type. πŸ™‚

            • brute
            • 7 years ago

            i go to college. yuppy ass mac kids are the norm. besides, if someone is an anti mac zealot, they’re probably a neckbeard nerd who is scared of social interaction anyway.

            i was once told that Windows breaks computers. The OS. breaks the computer. Destroys the hardware. I asked why the iMacs in the library weren’t broken though they were running windows, and the guy freaked out. Literally. Yelling, spitting, all that. it doesnt help that im a bit of a caustic asshole, but at least i know my shit. being an asshole, and all.

            • Beelzebubba9
            • 7 years ago

            In my world most Mac users are either in IT or just don’t know jack about computers, but it makes sense that you’d have a very difference experience in college.

            • brute
            • 7 years ago

            that’s pretty much it. they identify very strongly with the brand, and don’t know much about computers. a fantastic combination!

            i work in IT. my coworkers have mac toys (pads and pods and phones) but stick to PCs for actual work

            • Beelzebubba9
            • 7 years ago

            I prefer Apple laptops (in substantial part because of OS X much better type 2 hypervisor support), but see little to no value in Apple desktops. My ‘work’ computers are a Dell T7400 with a quartet of LCDs and a MacBook Air.

            • NeelyCam
            • 7 years ago

            Based on my mystical real-life experience, there are now more anti-Apple zealots than dumb pro-apple fans. Nerdrage-based Apple hate I see mostly online (like here at TR), while in real life I see folks who hate Apple users because they represent rich people.

            • esterhasz
            • 7 years ago

            Ingroup / outgroup dynamics are basic animal behavior, learned over tens of thousands of years of competition for resources and reproduction.

            The moment anybody chooses to lump together a heterogeneous demographic in a simple category as “Mac users” that is then attributed a common trait, they are already on the slippery slope towards “them and us”. Dawkins’ “selfish gene” (1976) explains the evolutionary benefits of ingroup altruism and outgroup exclusion quite well.

            It’s just a bit sad, because there are really interesting discussions to be had about Apple’s strategies, their technical and design decisions, and so forth, but the urge to demarcate just ruins that.

    • Xenolith
    • 7 years ago

    An ARM based PC with a GPU co-processor for floating point, will eventually beat anything Intel can spit out. That’s the premise mainframes are designed on… this architecture is trickling down into the consumer space.

      • sschaem
      • 7 years ago

      ARM + Imagination ?
      vs
      Broadwell + KNI ?

      You are right, Intel got no chance… sigh

      • chuckula
      • 7 years ago

      If you think that mainframes run on a GPU then I have a bridge to sell you.

      • Airmantharp
      • 7 years ago

      I think you’re embarrassingly mistaken, but expect something from Nvidia like this for specialized HPC applications.

    • jdaven
    • 7 years ago

    In the past, transitions to new chip architectures at Apple have occurred over 10 years. ARM chips in 2017 follow this trend quite close. When Apple IBM-Intel switch rumors started happening, most comments were of denial or disbelief. So anything’s possible.

    I think the most important question is, “What kind of ARM chips on what manufacturing process will be out by 2017?” I’m thinking a second or third iteration of ARM v8 on a mature sub 15 nm process.

    • NeelyCam
    • 7 years ago

    This is such a persistent rumor that I’m wondering if it really is true..

    Some possible scenarios:

    1) Apple is “leaking” this stuff to freak out Intel so Intel would a) give Apple a better deal on chips or b) start developing chips in the direction Apple wants

    2) Apple’s new ARM SoC engineers got a bit arrogant with the A6 success, and think they can outdesign Intel’s engineers

    3) Apple knows that their stuff will sell regardless of performance, and having in-house lower-performance chips in MBAs will increase profits

    4) This is a colossal Tim Cook mistake that will define his legacy as the Apple CEO that destroyed what Steve Jobs saved

      • phileasfogg
      • 7 years ago

      I have no opinions on 2, 3 and 4 above, but I do hope (1) is at least half true and causes much hand-wringing and hair-pulling among analysts, leading to lowered EPS estimates for ’14. That’s when I’ll pounce and buy INTC stock, should it dip to about 20.

      • chuckula
      • 7 years ago

      Likely #1, but given Apple’s arrogance, 2 – 4 are within the realm of possibility too.

      • Bensam123
      • 7 years ago

      Number Three with a bit of Number Two added in.

      • sschaem
      • 7 years ago

      Its just fabricated assumptions from non technical people based on quote taken out of context.

      Those assumption would kill off their mac product line.
      Because this is a multi billion $ market and fast growing, Apple wont kill it off.

      Who wants a $2000 laptop that just an ipad with a tethered keyboard?
      And its massively slower, doesn’t run any OSX software. Makes no sense.

      ARM CPU in 2015 are expected to be ~24 slower then Intel Broadwell.
      Why would Apple punish their customers that bad?!
      “Remember we said you cant run Flash on our devices…
      well Now we are telling you that you cant run ANY Adobe software.. Welcom to the new magical Mac Arm”

        • NeelyCam
        • 7 years ago

        [quote<]ARM CPU in 2015 are expected to be ~24 slower then Intel Broadwell.[/quote<] Link...?

          • sschaem
          • 7 years ago

          Just speculation based on an MCP haswell and recently released ARM 64bit architecture and stated performance expectations.

          To me ARM 64bit chip to be release in 2014 look extremely lackluster.
          x86 would have been there a decade ago….

            • NeelyCam
            • 7 years ago

            Do you have a link to this, or is this just your own speculation..?

            • sschaem
            • 7 years ago

            Just based on ARM recent claims for their A50 2014 release, and speculation on broadwell improvements over haswell.

            I’m not saying 24x more power efficient. I’m taking about a single chip package performance.

            haswell double ivy throughput, and boardwell 10% on top of dual die MCP.

            To get an idea: take an i7-3770, tripple its core count, double its throughput, double that again for the MCP package, and add 10%. You have a chip that about 12x faster

            Now look at ARM best bet… do you really think ARM A50 will beat an i7-3770k when its best design today struggle to match the performance of a 1.6gh Atom ?

            • Beelzebubba9
            • 7 years ago

            Haswell will be ~10% faster than Ivy Bridge CPU side and twice as fast GPU side because Intel is focusing their design efforts on improving power consumption and graphics performance, not x86 application performance. Broadwell will again focus on power and GPU performance, so your performance calculations are wildly off.

            • sschaem
            • 7 years ago

            Haswell ***double*** the peak floating point throughput compared to Sandy/Ivy Bridge
            [url<]http://images.anandtech.com/reviews/cpu/intel/Haswell/Architecture/avx2.jpg[/url<] Ivy Bridge-e are reported to have upto 12 core (same has haswell-e) Broadwell will double that juts from the dual die package. [url<]http://vr-zone.com/articles/exclusive-update--ivy-bridge-eep-die-to-have-12-cores-not-10-/17314.html[/url<] Do the math: 2x the throughput , 3x the core count, 2x die (Haswell MPC package) = 12x the raw compute power of a i7-3770k (assuming equal clock speed) Haswell is an absolute MONSTER. And broadwell double the performance per package at minimum. AVX2 also bring massive gain in AMP / OpenCL type code from its scatter/gather functionality. I seen a few people stating things like "revolutionize HPC" when mentioning AVX2. It will also be a huge boost since AVX2 now offer 256bit intereger SIMD. So 2x raw interger compute boost over ivy bridge.

            • NeelyCam
            • 7 years ago

            With your math, ARM could have a million cores and, consequently, easily beat Haswell

            • sschaem
            • 7 years ago

            My math use the data publish by intel at IDF 2012.

            Where did any ARM news show they would ship a CPU with 1 million 64bit core in 2015 ?

            Right now ARM target 4 core for their fatest 64bit incarnation.
            [url<]http://www.arm.com/images/Cortex_A57_600.jpg[/url<] Also because of the architecture, its unclear if they will be able to get the clock much higher then 2ghz. "The out-of-order design will deliver performance about 25-30 percent more than today’s 32-bit A15 cores" β€œIt’s a straightforward translation of the A15 to 64-bits-- not a revolutionary microarchitecture but a new ISA with optimizations,”

            • Beelzebubba9
            • 7 years ago

            Oh I was talking about real world performance, not peak theoretical FLOPs using AVX. Anyway, it’s deeply disingenuous to say that Haswell will be twice as fast as Ivy based on the peak [b<]theoretical[/b<] performance of its vector extensions.

      • ronch
      • 7 years ago

      I suppose, when you’re on top there’s nowhere else to go but down.

      • clone
      • 7 years ago

      for the past 30 years it’s been proven time and time again that Apple does not need the best hardware, they just need hardware that enables them to achieve the goals they want to achieve which isn’t about being the best but instead about ensuring it works.

      Apple didn’t want to go with Intel, Apple was forced to abandon their own silicon for a few years following the Sculley days because their marketshare had collapsed and Motorola was no longer interested in building for them….. that situation has reversed and they no longer need nor want to be dependent upon Intel for anything.

      the sooner Apple dumps Intel and builds to their own standards the sooner Apple can begin building proprietary hardware again just like they did pre 2005.

    • chuckula
    • 7 years ago

    64 Bit ARM will be TWICE as Fast as a Cortex A-15!!!

    Yay! That means in 2015 it’ll finally match the performance of an intentionally underclocked Core 2 from 2010 in the Macbook Air: [url<]http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2012/11/review-samsungs-new-arm-chromebook-gets-by-without-intel-inside/[/url<] So in 2015, you'll be able to buy something that is vastly slower than what you could buy right now (and don't expect miracles on battery life either), won't run the last 10 years of Mac software outside of an emulation layer*, and will completely lock you in to the "magical" Apple Garden (bye-bye loading Windows or Linux!) That's why it is the best thing evar! Why would you want some idiotic "Sky Lake" chip that requires primitive "electricity" to run when you can hook your cerebral cortex directly into the energy field that connects all living things together through ARM! (I'm talking about The [s<]Force[/s<] RDF obviously). * Yeah I know about Rosetta too, I was there at the switchover. Guess what? Rosetta worked because the new Intel chips were a whole crapton faster than the chips they replaced, and even then Rosetta was not exactly a speed-demon. P.S. --> I'm pretty sure this isn't serious, but hey, Apple can go above $700 and below $600 per share in 3 months, so nothing is impossible.

      • sschaem
      • 7 years ago

      And it will run NONE of the OSX software library….

      But yea, finally you will be able to run angry bird on your $2000 macbook pro… wait, you can already.

      This whole thing is beyond silly.
      The argument that the sole reason to make the move is to help user and reduce R&D cost is ludicrous.

      The ios API set is terrible to build desktop app and the same goes for the OSX eco system, its unfit for phones. Trying to merge the two on the basis of HW unification ? OMG

      Putting an ARM CPU in a mac doesn’t solve anything, it would create insurmountable problems.
      And this is not like a PPC to x86 move Apple can survive.

        • phileasfogg
        • 7 years ago

        >>>> Putting an ARM CPU in a mac doesn’t solve anything, it would create surmountable problems.

        I think you meant to say “insurmountable” problems πŸ˜‰
        +1 for your remarks, nonetheless.

          • derFunkenstein
          • 7 years ago

          Maybe he means that it creates roadblocks that you can eventually get around. Surmountable.

        • Action.de.Parsnip
        • 7 years ago

        I fear change. I resist it actively.

          • chuckula
          • 7 years ago

          You fear change? Is that why you are afraid of x86 smartphones then? The assumption that only ARM can innovate is amusing… and wrong.

          • sschaem
          • 7 years ago

          I welcome progress.

          Change without progress is taking a step backward,
          only ignorant people embrace change just for the sake of change.

        • nico1982
        • 7 years ago

        API have nothing to do with the architecture. An arm version of OSX would use the very same API as the x86 one. Now, they will have to write the underlying code – if they haven’t already – but that’s an issue for the toolchains guys, not application developers. It is not different for iOS, it already runs on arm an x86, but the API is the same.

        The unification of the OSs is a totally different and separate issue. It might happen even if they don’t move from x86 to arm.

          • sschaem
          • 7 years ago

          Did I say otherwise?

          “Now, they will have to write the underlying code – if they haven’t already – but that’s an issue for the toolchains guys, not application developers”

          Thats assuming Apple offer a kick ass x86 emulator… if not, every single app will need to be rebuilt for ARM. Might be easy for some apps, but other are x86 optimized. So all that work will need to be trashed and redone.

          Changing CPU architecture is not as simple as you think. Its also extremely costly for third party and Apple would need to convince corporation like Adobe and autodesk to spend R&D money to help Apple make the transition a success…
          And a transition to what ? ARM offer no benefits to mac users.

      • TEAMSWITCHER
      • 7 years ago

      What makes you think they would use a single chip? Have you seen the pricing on the high-end 8 core Sandybridge-EP workstation/server chips? They’re like one to two thousand dollars. Apple could use 4 or 8, quad or octo-core ARM chips for less.

      This might explain why Apple is so interested in securing FAB capacity.

        • chuckula
        • 7 years ago

        Have you seen the pricing on the high-end 8 core Sandybridge-EP workstation/server chips? They’re like one to two thousand dollars.

        Sure, some of them are. Some of them are going for less than $450 with 6 cores: [url<]http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819117269[/url<] And 8 ARM cores? Wonderful, if your code is perfectly threaded it will be almost half as fast as Bulldozer!

      • grantmeaname
      • 7 years ago

      [quote<]will completely lock you in to the "magical" Apple Garden (bye-bye loading Windows or Linux!)[/quote<] Because Linux doesn't run on ARM? Is that what you're saying?

        • chuckula
        • 7 years ago

        No (I should know since I was an early adopter of the Raspberry Pi). What I am saying is that if you think that an Apple ARM “PC” will have a magical unlocked bootloader that lets you install whatever software you like, then I’ve got some bad news for you Sunshine.

        If you don’t believe me, just waltz into your nearest Apple store and ask the “genius” to help you load Android on your iPhone. I’m sure you’ll get *lots* of help….

        That throw-away line about the “magical” Apple Garden? The more I think about it, the more I’m convinced that if Apple really does go ARM, then consumer lock-in is the *only* reason since there are effectively zero technological benefits to the customer in shoving ARM into platforms it is not meant to fit into.

          • ermo
          • 7 years ago

          [quote<] (...) then I've got some bad news for you Sunshine. [/quote<] What's with the attitude, good Sir? I could be mistaken, but I think you'll find that a lot of people would take more kindly to your points if you cared to word them less aggressively. Being nice -- or even just diplomatic -- doesn't cost anything. Just saying.

            • chuckula
            • 7 years ago

            What’s with the attitude, good Sir?

            I like Pink Floyd?

          • willmore
          • 7 years ago

          I thought the big assertion was that Apple is a hardware manufacturer, why would they lock down the OS unless they make money on the walled garden?

          If they are a hardware manufacturer, they shouldn’t care what OS goes on the device. If they’re not just a hardware vendor, then they would care. We can’t argue both ways.

      • Arag0n
      • 7 years ago

      Actually that shows a pretty promising picture of ARM….. remember that the chrome book is still a very low power device. It could have twice the cores and twice the GPU cores and still be more efficient than the MacBook Air at a small fraction of the cost.

        • helix
        • 7 years ago

        So GPUs have cores now?

      • ThorAxe
      • 7 years ago

      I’ve always wondered why they call it the “Apple Garden”, it more closely resembles a prison.

    • OneArmedScissor
    • 7 years ago

    [quote<]It sure seems that Intel's dominance in the PC market will be challenged more and more strongly over the coming years.[/quote<] Oooooh delusions! Looks more like the "PC" itself is being challenged - including by Intel. OSX is about to turn 12. If Apple wanted to keep it around, there would have been a "Macpad" over a year ago, but in that time, they instead treated the Mac Pro, Final Cut Pro, etc. markets as disposable. The writing is on the wall. Every one of the aforementioned companies is on the same path now, pushing all "personal" computers towards one small wireless device. The odd man out is AMD. They're facing a [i<]real[/i<] challenge without a phone platform.

      • yogibbear
      • 7 years ago

      Maybe Google should buy AMD?

        • brute
        • 7 years ago

        a huge party with a dumptruck worth of coke and a few airplanes full of hookers would be way more fun and have roughly the same return as a buyout of AMD

    • End User
    • 7 years ago

    From 2011:

    “All the information available indicates that Ivy Bridge would wipe the floor with a “performance” ARM-based processor for the foreseeable future, and we have a hard time believing users would willingly downgrade from an Ivy Bridge-based laptop to an ARM-based laptop all other things being equal. There are factors that combined could push Apple in the direction of ARM, especially at the low end, but those factors rely on a lot of big ifs.”

    [url<]http://arstechnica.com/apple/2011/05/apple-could-adopt-arm-for-laptops-but-why-would-it/[/url<]

      • sschaem
      • 7 years ago

      It would loose all the benefit of OSX, and the result will be an ipad with a tethered keyboard.
      That actually sound like a lame product.

      So yes, Apple could make OSX run on ARM (we have word that it was been done already),
      but as a product its DOA and server no purpose.

      It would cause Apple to be ridiculed.

      • Hattig
      • 7 years ago

      The only reason I can think of is that Apple can probably make a suitable ARM SoC for a laptop (quad-core custom-ARM, octo-core GPU) for under $40, whereas the ultrathin Ivy Bridges are a lot more expensive. This would give Apple even more profit on a sale, and even more money to shuffle around the world to avoid paying taxes.

    • Game_boy
    • 7 years ago

    Charlie said this ages ago. As soon as 64-bit cores come out Apple will switch.

    [url<]http://semiaccurate.com/2011/05/05/apple-dumps-intel-from-laptop-lines/[/url<] [url<]http://semiaccurate.com/2012/09/24/an-update-on-apple-moving-away-from-intel/[/url<]

      • chuckula
      • 7 years ago

      One possibility: Charlie [b<]is[/b<] the source! (and we see how the circle of stupidity continues)

      • Alexko
      • 7 years ago

      They probably won’t “switch” in the strict sense of the word.

      They’ll just introduce ARM-based laptops while still selling x86 ones, but they’ll make the former more attractive (whether it’s with better displays/features or lower prices) and gently let them overtake the latter.

      I honestly wouldn’t have said this 2~3 years ago, but if I were Intel I’d start to worry, because Apple won’t be the only company doing this. Intel may be able to maintain their market share, but I doubt they’ll keep enjoying their current margins.

        • sschaem
        • 7 years ago

        What run on those 64bit ARM laptops ?
        iOS ? woudn’t it be simpler to just offer a keyboard cover like MS for their tablets?
        OSX? run x86 software under emulation ?

        Segmenting their platform further would cripple Apple…

          • derFunkenstein
          • 7 years ago

          Well if the software is really going to converge, it wouldn’t be a big deal.

            • sschaem
            • 7 years ago

            But it technically cannot. Why is that so hard to grasp?

            Every single app on the iphone and ipad are little toys, using a very limited OS.

            People that use mac are power users using software suite that took decade to mature.
            How do you see that converge?

            All this is delusion. The only way this can happen is if ARM crush Intel and is able to emulate x86 code at the speed close to Intel native chips.
            Then Apple can release an ARM based OSX, that run ‘legacy’ apps in emulation mode.

            But this doesn’t solve the issue that OSX is not ios. they are WORLDS apart.

            All this talk is just fantasy.

            You can be sure that their is more chances for Apple to discontinue its mac product line before it uses ARM in them…

            • nico1982
            • 7 years ago

            Well, they technically can. You think that they will not πŸ˜›

            Apple know what its costumers buy, install and run on their machines. The largest chunk of their profit doesn’t come from ‘power users’ anymore, and I suspect that even the majority of who purchases and iMac or a MBP won’t fit in that category. If and when – that’s a big if – they conclude that switching their lines from to ARM, whether custom or not, will bring them higher profit, they’ll do.

            • sschaem
            • 7 years ago

            If Apple see that they dont make enough money selling macbook pros, they wont turn that product around by using an ARM CPU.

            It make no sense to build workstations & power laptops that run x86 optimized software suite using cheap ARM processor.
            People that pay $3000 for a workstation, or $2000 for a laptop want the best.

            Why do you think Apple is not using Atom processor in their macbook air ?
            It would save them probably $100+ dollar per machine…

            This whole ARM thing for mac make no sense, no matter how hard people try to make it fit.

            • pedro
            • 7 years ago

            [quote<]People that use mac are power users using software suite that took decade to mature.[/quote<] No they're not.

            • entropy13
            • 7 years ago

            LOL yeah. Newer Final Cut Pro versions are apparently just iMovie with some minor features added.

            • Scrotos
            • 7 years ago

            Apparently after a poor initial reception, the professionals seem to like what Apple’s updates have brought them. I’m not in the field but this is what I’ve gathered from Ars’ coverage of the issues with FC-X and the commenters on those articles whining back and forth. For example, look at the comments here: [url<]http://arstechnica.com/apple/2012/10/final-cut-pro-x-update-adds-multichannel-audio-red-camera-support/[/url<] Apple burned many bridges with that market, though, so I wonder how much marketshare they really lost. Not updating their pro workstation for years hasn't helped, either. But "just iMovie with some minor features added" is either ignorant or naieve, even if you're not an Apple fanboy. At least do some research before throwing something like that out.

            • Beelzebubba9
            • 7 years ago

            [quote=”pedro”<] No they're not. [/quote<] In NYC at least, Apple computers are by far the most common brand at all of the developer, System engineer and network engineer classes and meetups I've been to. Lenovo comes close among system engineers however. The majority of system engineers I know use Apple laptops as well. I won't argue that they're the best choice (since that's a silly argument to make), but there are plenty of sound reasons why a power user would want a Mac over a PC.

            • sschaem
            • 7 years ago

            For sure, professional spend $2000 on a work laptop to run angry bird.

            They run tools like Unity3D, xCode, Adobe Creative suite, autodesk suite, etc..

            And most of those users also have an ipad and iphone. (mac heads)

            they have zero interesting in turning they workstations in ipad with keyboards….

            • derFunkenstein
            • 7 years ago

            It’s all BSD based and many of the Core foundations are shared. If they want to do it, they most certainly can. Heck, they could just build a VM into OS X that lets you run iOS apps if that’s easiest.

            Saying you can’t do something like that is shortsighted and borderline moronic.

            • ludi
            • 7 years ago

            What are you talking about? Apple already switched between two different architectures when they moved from PowerPc to Intel x86, and there’s nothing to stop them from doing it again.

        • sjl
        • 7 years ago

        What would be really interesting is if they produce a dual CPU system: one x86, one ARM. ARM code can run on the ARM CPU, x86 on the x86, and if you want a modest boost in performance, an app that is so designed could run on both CPUs in parallel.

        It could happen. Probably won’t, but it could, and hey – if we’re going to speculate, might as well go for something that’s a little out there.

          • Hattig
          • 7 years ago

          The idea of having a low-power ARM SoC as a coprocessor in a standard laptop has been done before I believe. Indeed for an always-connected laptop it would be an extremely good idea to run that portion of the system on the ARM SoC and keep the x86 portion totally asleep.

          We have to remember that ARM is just an ISA, and custom implementations can be made that target higher performance. Indeed we have to remember that PA Semi, that Apple purchased, did have a high performance PowerPC product out in 2006. It isn’t inconceivable that they are working on a very high performance ARMv8 implementation.

            • Scrotos
            • 7 years ago

            Well, AMD might be doing this anyway with an ARM and x86 on one CPU with integrated graphics to boot, right? Apple can just wait to see if that comes to be.

            No idea if the PA6T was “high performance” as it still hasn’t been benchmarked. It’s in the new Amiga X1000 but I don’t know that anyone’s slapped Linux on it and run some Phoronix benchmark suite or something like that.

      • albundy
      • 7 years ago

      “So short story, x86 is history on Apple laptops, or will be in 2-3 years”

      about freakin time! x86 is as old as the exec farts that intel employs. amd has done good with arms wide open and ms has win8 armed on the surface. if you can smp arm chips, then i am all for it…after all, they pretty much run without heatsinks and fans.

        • sweatshopking
        • 7 years ago

        thanks to you i have to suffer this now; [url<]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=99j0zLuNhi8[/url<]

        • djgandy
        • 7 years ago

        x86 chips can run without heatsinks and fans if you cripple them to fart like speeds of ARM chips. What’s your point?

          • albundy
          • 7 years ago

          my point? wow, let me spell.it.out.for.you. stack a lot of arm chips on a board without the need for hsf’s to see if it can match intel’s low end cpus. sorry, i cant dumb it down any further for you, probably Rza79 can. i am not sure why you are such a negative nancy. competition benefits us all if ARM inches it’s way into intel’s territory. i am just glad AMD is in the ARM race to push it even further. I’d like to see what the new 64bit A50 chip can do vs. any intel chip.

        • Rza79
        • 7 years ago

        You’re a disgrace to the name Al Bundy!

    • sweatshopking
    • 7 years ago

    what???? i said that there would be more unification the other day and EVERYONE CALLED ME CRAZY. DON’T YOU KNOW SCOTT, THEY’RE ALREADY MERGED!!!

      • ronch
      • 7 years ago

      I believe Cyril, and not Scott, wrote this article.

        • sweatshopking
        • 7 years ago

        nice. pick on a guy cause he can’t read.

          • ronch
          • 7 years ago

          No, just a friendly tap on the shoulder.

          • ludi
          • 7 years ago

          I won’t pick on a guy who can’t read. I might on a guy who can, but doesn’t.

    • StashTheVampede
    • 7 years ago

    The more and more network based you go, the less the underlying CPU is really important. Already, I can see an iPad-chip based laptop that is similar to the Chrome OS notebook: unibody design, same keyboard, trackpad and screen as current MBAs. The technology is already here, no question about it.

    Apple would probably prefer more people to move into iOS than OSX: closed platform, cut of every sale, etc.

      • sschaem
      • 7 years ago

      a) Apple product are not ‘exclusive” . ‘I’m sorry sire we see that you already bought an imac, we cannot allow you to buy an iphone”
      This to say, Apple want to sale power user that $2000 laptop and that $500 phone or tablet.
      They actually thrive on that.

      b) People that buy mac have no use for chromebook type product, they most likely already have an ipad.

      Making an ipad with a keyboard is not a ‘revolution’ waiting to be done, its already here.
      And as nothing to do with the mac product lineup.

    • bthylafh
    • 7 years ago

    If only Steve was around to show off Photoshop benchmarks on these new chips.

      • LoneWolf15
      • 7 years ago

      Or FinalCut X -I bet it screams.

        • LoneWolf15
        • 7 years ago

        For it’s mother, that is.

      • chuckula
      • 7 years ago

      The best brownies were the “special” brownies that Uncle Steve baked every MacWorld at the annual Photoshop bakeoff!

        • brute
        • 7 years ago

        I thought Uncle Steve just [i<]got[/i<] baked.

      • sschaem
      • 7 years ago

      Dont joke ! Apple is almost there.

      FACTS:

      Apple 1.3ghz dual core ARM A6 scores 1672 in the Google Octane benchmark.
      That almost as fast as Intel single core Atom CPU with a scores 2048

      So Apple dual core ARM CPU is only 25% slower then a single core Atom.
      Its only a question of time before Apple catch up to Intel.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 7 years ago

        And don’t forget the gulf between Atoms and actual CPUs. There’s still plenty of time to go.

          • Airmantharp
          • 7 years ago

          Atoms are going OoO too!

          Graduating from 4×86 to the P6 era!

            • phileasfogg
            • 7 years ago

            When Intel’s ValleyView Atom 22nm SoC comes out late 2013, it will surprise a lot of people. Many of Intel’s ARMchair critics are in for quite a rude awakening.

            • Airmantharp
            • 7 years ago

            That’s the truth; a dual-core, Hyper-threaded OoO Atom-based SoC with Intel guts will be hard to beat in the mobile space, especially with Intel’s fabrication and design advantages there.

            • Beelzebubba9
            • 7 years ago

            Yeah I’m not sure if anyone wise ever bet against Intel in the CPU market. πŸ™‚

            • Scrotos
            • 7 years ago

            Pssst! It’s “486”! No x in there! You can go with 80486DX or i486DX or the like, but “486” isn’t split up any with letters. It was just Cyrix and AMD who did goofy stuff like that.

        • Rand
        • 7 years ago

        Only 25% slower then a unicore Atom. Thrilling.
        Meanwhile even the latest DualCore Atom’s are noticeably slow even for basic usage that involves precious little more then watching videos, browsing the internet and typing the occasional email. I don’t even want to imagine how awful a Unicore Atom is.

        Apple doesn’t appear to consider the fastest Atom processors to be adequate considering even their cheapest slowest Mac at $600 in the Mac Mini is using a Core i5 2.5GHz.
        That miles beyond what any Atom processor could do, I doubt you could overclock at Atom with sub zero cooling to i5 performance.

        So, Core i3. Too slow for Apple. Yet it’s an order of magnitude more powerful then any Atom.
        ARM, significantly slower then a UniCore Atom that no one uses in notebooks. Almost fast enough.
        Makes perfect sense.

          • faramir
          • 7 years ago

          While I don’t care about Apple’s take on this, I do believe there are non-x86 chips out there that are already “fast enough” for desktop use – namely APQ8064, the 1.7 GHz quad-core Krait with Adreno 320 graphics (made by Qualcomm). Given more refined manufacturing process and larger TDP envelope I see no reason for chips like this one not to scale well above 2 GHz mark, making them comparable with Atoms with same number of cores performance-wise (so as fast as quad core Atom running at lower clock speed than the ARM chip in order to fit into same TDP).

          I wish somebody would build a motherboard based on that one – something like this, but with a decent CPU rather than that gimped Freescale chip:

          [url<]http://www.engadget.com/2012/07/25/via-makes-its-first-arm-based-pico-itx-board/[/url<] I think we will see more non-x86 PCs in the upcoming years, why wait for Apple to get us there with their overpriced crap ?

        • MrJP
        • 7 years ago

        That’s just too deadpan – I’d already minused you before I realised you were being sarcastic.

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