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Intel Desktops (Apple) Portables (Apple) Apple

No More Intel Inside, Apple Plans To Use Its Own Custom-Built Chips in Mac (bloomberg.com) 513

Apple is planning to use homegrown custom-built processors in its Mac line of computers, ditching Intel, the processors by which powers Apple's current line of computers, Bloomberg reported on Monday. The company could make the switch to its own chips as early as 2020, the report said. From the report: The initiative, code named Kalamata, is still in the early developmental stages, but comes as part of a larger strategy to make all of Apple's devices -- including Macs, iPhones, and iPads -- work more similarly and seamlessly together, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private information. The project, which executives have approved, will likely result in a multi-step transition.

The shift would be a blow to Intel, whose partnership helped revive Apple's Mac success and linked the chipmaker to one of the leading brands in electronics. Apple provides Intel with about 5 percent of its annual revenue, according to Bloomberg supply chain analysis. Intel shares dropped as much as 9.2 percent, the biggest intraday drop in more than two years, on the news.

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No More Intel Inside, Apple Plans To Use Its Own Custom-Built Chips in Mac

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  • Whoa (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 02, 2018 @02:28PM (#56367909)

    That is all, just whoa

    • Re:Whoa (Score:5, Interesting)

      by supremebob ( 574732 ) <themejunky@@@geocities...com> on Monday April 02, 2018 @02:39PM (#56367977) Journal

      Yeah, a story like this is kind of hard to believe. I know that Apple isn't as good as keeping secrets as it used to be, but a leak about Apple's product line 2 years from now almost never happens.

      I'd love to see a second source of this information besides Bloomberg and the various tech blogs who are just pointing to the Bloomberg article.

      • by Z00L00K ( 682162 )

        And the Bloomberg article is from second of April, is this a late April Fools on Bloomberg?

        • is this a late April Fools on Bloomberg?

          Apple has a lot to gain by avoiding the Intel tax on PC-class processors, there is no theoretical reason why the ARM architecture cannot match Intel/AMD superscalar performance, and the days when customers cared about type of processor are long gone. That said, "as early as 2020" seems wildly optimistic. ARM is closing in on high end processor throughput, but is not quite there yet. For the time being, this rumour smells like a negotiating tactic to hammer down Intel's price point, if it has any substance a

          • Re:Whoa (Score:5, Informative)

            by StikyPad ( 445176 ) on Monday April 02, 2018 @06:35PM (#56369483) Homepage
            Not really. Ditching IBM/Motorola made sense because the PowerPC chip didn't hold a candle to x86 in either performance/$ or pure performance. The cost was a complete rewrite of all software, not to mention the OS, but it was worth it to make Macs competitive. But ditching Intel at this point? That's like switching horses mid race when your horse is winning. Intel dominates the desktop/server/laptop CPU market by almost every measure, and for good reason. Even if Apple can wrench similar price/performance out of a desktop ARM processor, which is far from a foregone conclusion, the disadvantages are numerous:
            • Users lose Bootcamp, which affects something like 20% of users at last count
            • ARM has limited virtualization support - or usefulness for that matter
            • Apple loses the economies of scale that Intel enjoys, eating into cost savings
            • All existing MacOS apps and games, gone (without either substantial developer support for rebuilds or else subpar emulation, which is not a UX Apple is likely to support)
            • At the end of the day, it's really just trading one master (Intel) for another (ARM)

            I agree though, that this is probably Apple trying to extract some sort of concession from Intel, be it pricing, input in, or influence on, the feature set or direction of development, or all of the above. The threat of a switch to ARM may seem more credible than the threat of a switch to AMD, perhaps, but either seems incredible to me.

            • Re:Whoa (Score:5, Interesting)

              by DontBeAMoran ( 4843879 ) on Monday April 02, 2018 @07:59PM (#56369903)

              Apple has done two successful CPU transitions in the past, from 86K to PowerPC then PowerPC to x86. I'm sure they'll be able to handle x86 to ARM quite successfully.

              Apple's A-series processors now have comparable power to Intel [macrumors.com] and better built-in graphics capabilities. We can only imagine they would be even more powerful within laptops (bigger batteries) and desktop computers (no battery limitations at all, much better heat dissipation).

              Apple loses the economies of scale that Intel enjoys, eating into cost savings.

              Apple would gain even better economies of scale because they already need to manufacture their A-series CPUs for the iPhones and iPads. If they can somehow simply link more ICs together for parallel processing, their cost per IC would be even lower. As a bonus, they would stop filling Intel's bank account.

              • Re:Whoa (Score:4, Informative)

                by StikyPad ( 445176 ) on Monday April 02, 2018 @09:16PM (#56370289) Homepage

                As I said, IBM and Motorola CPUs were sinking ships. Intel is not that.

                Apple does not manufacture their own chips, or anything at all actually. So they are either paying Intel, or they are paying TSMC/Samsung for manufacturing + ARM licensing. I doubt the costs are substantially different. The gain would be in control. But for all the reasons I listed, that would be a high price to pay for control.

                Moreover, end users would bear the brunt of those costs, and have little or nothing to show for it at the end of the day in terms of performance improvements. When Apple jumped CPU ships in the past, it benefitted end users. I am hard pressed to think of a single benefit of an architecture swap to end users at this point, but I am all ears if anyone has any ideas.

                • Re:Whoa (Score:5, Informative)

                  by Space cowboy ( 13680 ) on Monday April 02, 2018 @09:36PM (#56370367) Journal

                  Apple was one of the founders of ARM. An ARM license doesn't cost them very much at all.

                  Manufacturing chips on the scale of Apple's iPhone means the cost per chip is relatively low. The NRE is done; at that point the more you can manufacture the cheaper it is per unit. Certainly paying Intel to manufacture chips and sell them (even at the margin that Apple can command) is going to be more expensive for Apple.

                  As for benefits... Apple has always wanted to own the whole shebang. They get to know ahead of time what the schedule's going to be, they get to dictate the chip's abilities, and they already have the design capability in-house. I *think* it'll be cheaper for Apple, with lower thermals and higher efficiencies with potentially a better designed chip. Whether the user sees benefits from that is up for debate.

                  There are certainly issues with compatibility and emulation, and I don't have a good answer for that. I suspect, if Apple go ahead and do it, they will have a good-enough answer for a transition. As for recompiling etc., they'll just require an ARM64 variant of any app in the app-store for a year or so ahead of any transition in order to be listed. That'll be sufficient IMHO to get almost everyone on-board.

            • Who says it's an ARM chip. Doesn't via still hold cyrix patents on x86? Maybe the Mill will be ready by then.

            • Re:Whoa (Score:5, Insightful)

              by angel'o'sphere ( 80593 ) on Tuesday April 03, 2018 @01:37AM (#56371097) Journal

              PowerPC never had a performance issue.
              Apple ditched it because IBM could not provide mobile versions of it in the numbers Apple needed it.
              And IBM had no real plans to improve the mobile version, that is all.

              The PowerPC architecture is a really nice one and has nothing to hide versus Intel.

            • Re:Whoa (Score:5, Informative)

              by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Tuesday April 03, 2018 @06:45AM (#56371677) Journal

              There are a few other issues. It's not just Bootcamp, it's also WINE. A lot of the 'Mac' games are actually Windows games with a bundled version of WINE. Note that this is WINE, not WineLib. The WINE team now actively discourages use of WineLib because you get odd issues from programs that expect COFF linkage behaviour instead of ELF, for example, and porting is a lot easier if you ship WINE's PE/COFF loader rather than relying on the host platform's ELF loader.

              ARM has limited virtualization support - or usefulness for that matter

              I'd disagree with the first part of this. ARM's hardware virtualisation acceleration is on a par with Intel's. I'd agree with the latter part though. The common use of virtualisation on macOS is to run Windows in a VM. Unless Qualcomm's ARM Windows platform becomes a lot more popular, I don't imagine there being much call to run ARM Windows on Macs.

              Apple loses the economies of scale that Intel enjoys, eating into cost savings

              That one depends a lot on how much they can share designs with the iPhone / iPad. If the Mac chips are just a higher core count and clock rate than the iPad versions, then they may get some of this back. Mac, plus iPhone, plus iPad sales add up to about 50% of the total number of PC sales, so they're only a factor of two off.

              All existing MacOS apps and games, gone (without either substantial developer support for rebuilds or else subpar emulation, which is not a UX Apple is likely to support)

              Note that Apple has done this before. In both the PowerPC and Intel switch, they shipped emulators that allowed you to run existing code. Modern emulators are now pretty good at adjusting call frames so that you can call from emulated code into native code. If you keep the same structure layouts in your legacy and emulated platform then you can share pointers between them. Most Mac apps spend a huge proportion of their total CPU time in Apple-provided system libraries, which is a big part of why Rosetta was so fast in the PowerPC to Intel switch: most existing code (including all of the standard UI drawing, text rendering and layout, and so on) code ran as native x86 code, so the emulator only had to be fast enough that the rest didn't become a bottleneck. OF course, it helped that the laptop Intel cores were about twice the speed of the Freescale ones that they replaced (and had more cores).

              At the end of the day, it's really just trading one master (Intel) for another (ARM)

              Again, not quite so clear cut. One of the big reasons for the Intel switch was their relationship with Intel versus IBM / Freescale. Apple was the sole customer for both IBM and Freescale in the relevant markets, which meant that they were paying a huge proportion of the total R&D, yet someone else was in control. When they switched to Intel, they were the single largest customer, but were only about 20% of the total.

              I suspect that, given the massive growth of cloud stuff, that at least one of Google, Amazon, or Microsoft (possibly all three) is now a larger customer than Apple, which means that Apple is no longer able to demand exactly what they want. There's some evidence for this: Apple customers keep complaining about not being able to buy MBPs with 32GB of RAM, Apple says they'll ship them as soon as Intel produces a CPU that can handle 32GB of LPDDR4, Intel still isn't producing laptop chips that support LPDDR4.

              Their relationship with ARM would, again, be very different. Apple is an ARM Architecture Licensee, which means that they are allowed to (and do) design their own ARM-compatible cores in house and ship them as long as they pass the conformance tests. There are also over half a dozen other ARM Architecture Licensees (you can find an abridged list of these in the ARM ARM if you look at the hardware register value that provides the vendor ID, though some companies - including Apple - request not

          • Re:Whoa (Score:5, Insightful)

            by jeremyp ( 130771 ) on Monday April 02, 2018 @06:38PM (#56369499) Homepage Journal

            The ARM architecture absolutely cannot match Intel in terms of running native apps designed for Windows. There are many people, me included who sometimes need to run Windows applications on their Macs. At the moment, I just run up a Windows VM or use Bootcamp. Not having that capability would force me off the Mac.

            There is no Intel tax btw. You give them some money, they give you a processor. It's called doing business and if you want to call it a tax, then every business transaction involves a tax.

            The only way I could see this happening is if Apple are developing or have developed an x86_64 compatible processor.

        • Re:Whoa (Score:5, Interesting)

          by jwhyche ( 6192 ) on Monday April 02, 2018 @04:31PM (#56368871) Homepage

          This will not be a good move for Apple. It might turn out to be the final nail for apple as a computer manufacture.

          Back when Apple was 68K there where lots of companies that developed exclusively for Mac. Then Apple switched to PowerPC this forced all these companies to spend millions to rewrite code to support the new chips. To compound all this a few years later apple switched to x86 architecture. Again sending developers scrambling and spending millions to rewrite old code for the new architecture. The switch to x86 allowed some of these companies to mitigate some of the cost because now they had a code base that shared a common processor with windows.

          Because of these processor switches and the millions that had to be committed to rewrite old code send an number of developers, Adobe, looking for another market. Where Adobe used to develop their flagship products for Mac first and Windows as after thought, that is no longer true. Now Adobe and many former Mac companies now develop for windows first then mac as after thought.

          With the prospect of another processor switch and having to spend millions now to develop a code base for two different processor lines, I imagine many will simply drop Mac as a native platform all together. They simply will not see the value in supporting a shirking market place with millions of dollars worth of research. Not when they can develop one code base for windows and macs can run it under a windows emulator.

          • With the prospect of another processor switch and having to spend millions now to develop a code base for two different processor lines, I imagine many will simply drop Mac as a native platform all together.

            Right, because Adobe would never develop software to run on Apple's processors [adobe.com].

            I don't know if they're really going to switch processors, but if they do, I don't think they'll do it without developer buy-in and some serious upside. One of the possible benefits is that it puts all of their devices on the same platform. You could possibly have the same binaries on a MacBook and an iPad-- though you probably don't want the same UI on both.

            • Re:Whoa (Score:5, Interesting)

              by jwhyche ( 6192 ) on Monday April 02, 2018 @06:39PM (#56369507) Homepage

              Right, because Adobe would never develop

              Adobe used develop its flagship products for the Mac market first. Then they would back port their software to Windows. This is no longer the case. Now they develop for Windows first then back port to Mac, if they even port at all.

              This change in policy came about because of the processor switches that the Mac went through. Over the years Adobe support has continued to be scaled back for the Mac and shifted to Windows.

              There is a very good chance that if this switch comes about Adobe will pull all its support for the Mac.

      • Re:Whoa (Score:4, Informative)

        by Pinky's Brain ( 1158667 ) on Monday April 02, 2018 @03:07PM (#56368217)

        Few of Apple products involve as many people as this would 2 years ahead of time. If they can ship this in two years, they've been working on the desktop processors and chipsets for a couple years already. Hell, if this ships in 2 years they would need to be involving third party software parties already. Unlike their Chinese factory workers they can't just suicide a couple of those to make an example of leaker's either :p

      • Hard to believe because such leaks don't happen, or hard to believe that this could be Apple's actual direction? After one of the more recent Ax chips showed very interesting performance levels, numerous people speculated that Apple might be heading in the direction of ultimately replacing x86 with their own chips.
      • I'd love to see a second source of this information besides Bloomberg and the various tech blogs who are just pointing to the Bloomberg article.

        You and me both. Yes, Apple tends to go its own way when it comes to hardware (and often ends up being the 800-lb gorilla-like agent that pushes for changes in the PC/laptop/mobile industries). However, unless Apple's rumored new chip suddenly kicks the crap out of an equivalent-gen Intel chip (without turning a MacBook Pro into a room-heater **), this rumor is likely just that - a rumor.

        The rumor checks off a few plausibility benchmarks - Apple preferring to be its own unique thing, its history with PPC ch

  • Umm yea. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Monday April 02, 2018 @02:34PM (#56367935)

    Am I surprised? No.
    Apple has a track record of moving across chip lines. Being that they make the OS and the Hardware, the processor isn't that big of a deal, and they have a really good track-record of keeping compatibility across different processor lines. Compared to say Microsoft who barely made the 64bit transition.

    That being said. The real question is for the people who duel boot their Macs, or use Virtualization. My biggest fear is if OS X moves to the closed infrastructure that is iOS. I can deal with Apple approved apps for my phone, but for my laptop, I will want to install whatever I feel like.

    • Re:Umm yea. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by UnknowingFool ( 672806 ) on Monday April 02, 2018 @02:40PM (#56367985)
      I am surprised by the time estimate. Five years? Maybe. Two years: I don't think they are ready for that. Their Ax CPUs are good enough to power mobile devices and their small electronics like the AppleTV and the HomePod. I don't think they are ready for laptops and desktops yet.
      • The last few generations of A-processors have been beating increasingly higher-tier MacBooks in performance benchmarks these last few years. They may not be ready to replace the highest-end chips yet, but they were ready to replace the low-end ones a few years ago, and that lead has only been growing.

      • Laptop processors/GPUs are basically a thermal problem.

        x86-64 (whatever the AMD one everyone is using now is named) carries architectural overhead, which has been overcome by simple market size/R&D budgets.

        Desktop processors are basically a bandwidth to RAM problem.

        Similar issues exist as in laptops, the 'same but different'.

        In the 'long run' old architectures won't compete, it's not a railroad gauge analogy. Who knows what and when though.

        Android has been poking it's nose into the laptop spa

      • I am surprised by the time estimate. Five years? Maybe. Two years: I don't think they are ready for that. Their Ax CPUs are good enough to power mobile devices and their small electronics like the AppleTV and the HomePod. I don't think they are ready for laptops and desktops yet.

        I disagree. Their A10X Fusion chip is already "desktop class," and I'm SURE part of the limitation on its processing power is thermal dissipation, and the need for balance between performance and battery life. They could very well introduce a touchscreen MAC, with a keyboard... oh, wait, they kind of already have that, it's called an iPad Pro, (the 12.9 is almost the size of a MacBook Air or Pro, 13", and almost indistinguishable from a MacBook... Nothing. You know, the new MacBook? Add a keyboard and a

    • Re:Umm yea. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Monday April 02, 2018 @02:46PM (#56368035)

      and they have a really good track-record of keeping compatibility across different processor lines. Compared to say Microsoft who barely made the 64bit transition.

      You're joking right? Compatibility with what? A whole version of Adobe's creative suite was missed on Mac due to one of their transitions, and software vendors almost universally hated them the last few times Apple dictated the move.

      I am surprised. I wonder if software vendors will continue to support the Mac line. I mean it's not like their shitty mobile apps are what laptop and workstation users want. There's some real effort involved in pleasing the fruit's decision of the day.

      • Re:Umm yea. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by tatman ( 1076111 ) on Monday April 02, 2018 @02:52PM (#56368071) Homepage

        I am surprised. I wonder if software vendors will continue to support the Mac line. I mean it's not like their shitty mobile apps are what laptop and workstation users want. There's some real effort involved in pleasing the fruit's decision of the day.

        10 years ago I would say yes. Especially in the audio and visual software application markets. Today those applications are just as performance capable on the PC. When I hear of someone working in those fields, I asked what platforms they use and I'm hearing more say PC whereas the answer used to be exclusively a "Mac". There's a shift going on. And I feel, this time, Apples decision will hurt them more than help.

    • To add to this... I think a bunch have forgotten that Apple used to use its own non-x86 processors for their PowerPC. [wikipedia.org]
      Them getting back into manufacturing after 12-14 years just shows they feel they can get more value out of doing their own processor design and manufacturing rather than "outsourcing" it to Intel. This is moving back to a vertical integration of their hardware supply chain.

      • Apple didn't design OR manufacture the PowerPC processor. It was a variation on the Power architecture that IBM created. Motorola helped with design, to some degree, and manufactured them for a while, too. But at the end, the PowerPC line was an exclusively IBM-designed-and-manufactured CPU.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 02, 2018 @02:36PM (#56367947)
    If Apple switches to ARM based A-series processors then people dual booting macs with Windows/Linux will be out of luck. It would make Mac a more closed ecosystem as Apple will probably use the switch to make only App store apps run on ARM macs. Stock up on Intel macs while you can.
  • by JoeyRox ( 2711699 ) on Monday April 02, 2018 @02:37PM (#56367949)
    To date, Apple has stridently refused to incorporate a touchscreen on their notebooks, which would be the most obvious step in bridging the development/user-interface divide between iOS and OSX, yet they feel it's useful to switch to a single processor architecture to achieve the same goal?
  • Who wants this? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by torkus ( 1133985 ) on Monday April 02, 2018 @02:37PM (#56367951)

    I don't want my Mac to behave like my iPad. I don't want a dumbed-down experience where I can't do anything that Apple doesn't permit.

    • They probably just want to be able to deliver apps which can work well both on 2-in-1 devices and tablets ... and of course save all the money they are paying Intel at the moment. I doubt much will change for pure desktop apps, other than the ISA.

  • Best chip designers? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Apple probably have the best chip designers in the world. A10X is far superior to any rival and theyâ(TM)ll probably do the same for desktop type computing.

  • by MindPrison ( 864299 ) on Monday April 02, 2018 @02:45PM (#56368031) Journal

    ...If Apple want to keep their exclusivity and a niche market, they will have to go on their own, completely.

    Today, An Apple computer is nothing different from a glorified designer laptop with a PC (typical Intel based architecture) inside, which means you could basically without too much effort just run Windows or Linux on it.

    What Apple has gotten much grief for, is that they often use 2-4 year old hardware, instead of bleeding edge hardware. While this is usually good for "tried and tested", meaning that it will result in a relatively stable, well supported computer - it's offering very little new to its userbase, but who are the Apple userbase, this is what you got to take a closer look at:

    The Apple userbase is often designers, musicians, artists, film people and basically people working within the creative industry. They like design, and they're willing to pay for it. It may not be the latest, greatest or best - but it sure looks the part, and it gives them a sense of community as they're not "mainstream", but still like to see themselves as the ones considering the computer just a tool, an accessory - and secondary to their work.

    They don't want hassle with updates, compatibility issues, endless drivers - they just want to get about their workday without getting into "the computers" themselves.

    Apple GET that, but in order to stay really truly "off" the rest, they have to find their own way again...

    • by Hognoxious ( 631665 ) on Monday April 02, 2018 @03:16PM (#56368287) Homepage Journal

      The Apple userbase is often designers, musicians, artists, film people and basically people working within the creative industry.

      I think it used to be. Now it's people pretending to be those things.

      • by King_TJ ( 85913 ) on Monday April 02, 2018 @04:36PM (#56368895) Journal

        I have to disagree with you there. I work for a company that does communications marketing and they're primarily on Macs. They most assuredly are not "just pretending" to be designers or artists.

        I also took a tour of some of the major recording studios in Nashville last year and guess what? They still used Macs almost exclusively, even when doing so required special effort (such as finding custom rack mount kits to mount the "trash can" 2013 Mac Pro in their acoustically isolated rack enclosures).

        The Apple userbase may be declining in areas it traditionally dominated, like the education sector and 3D animation work. But the creative fields, in general, are still big customers for Apple products.

        I don't think it's necessarily bad if Apple parts ways with Intel and makes its own CPUs .... but as others said, the whole switch to Intel enabled a lot of possibilities with running Windows in a dual boot mode, or ensuring virtualization software worked 100%. I think that's a big negative if Apple discards it as unnecessary with the new chips.

    • by MeNeXT ( 200840 )

      You describe an Apple ecosystem not an artist, musician, designer, film ecosystem. People need more than Apple proprietary stuff they need to get a job done. As of yet I haven't seen anyone who uses exclusively apple products. In most cases the iOS products are limited and restricted.

  • Yup (Score:4, Funny)

    by Ryanrule ( 1657199 ) on Monday April 02, 2018 @02:57PM (#56368115)
    Here comes macOS. Only runs on macs, and macs only run it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 02, 2018 @02:59PM (#56368137)
    How well will Intel virtualization work with these? If I can't run my various VirtualBox VMs on this, no sale.
    • by krray ( 605395 )

      I'm with you ... and THEN what???

      Mac's going Intel was the selling point to put them all over the office at work. A handful of people (myself included) have to run Windows -- for accounting software (which I chose). There's the corner -- just boxed myself into it I guess (?)

      Most of the employees here have -0- use for Windows (and don't run it accordingly). Once in a blue moon we'll hit a website for a bid, to collect money, whatever ... that absolutely REQUIRES Internet Explorer (not Edge thankfully).

      Fuck.

      • Windows is also aiming for running on an ARM processor, so as long as they have similar standards, they may still be able to Dual Boot?

  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Monday April 02, 2018 @03:06PM (#56368207)

    Apple has learned; first from Motorola, now Intel, this deep truth:

    Over a long enough timeframe any chip maker is an incompetent asshole.

    Of course, by taking this action, Apple will become more and more a chip maker themselves... hmm.

  • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Monday April 02, 2018 @03:07PM (#56368221)

    It’s not like we haven’t heard these rumors for years now... we even heard stuff like this before Apple move to Intel. But still, some things are out of their control.

    - Will Adobe play along, or walk away? Much as I hate Adobe, they’re a necessary evil when it comes to doing real work on many Macs.

    - How locked down will these “computers” be? Right now, I can install just about anything I want... and I have a bash/zsh shell, to boot.

    - What about the few Apple pro apps which remain? They’ve already shed a huge number of customers - it seems unlikely the remaining nes will tolerate another backwards jump.

    One would hope that Apple would do their homework on this, since people who still use a laptop or desktop generally have very different requirements than people who use an iPad with a keyboard. A “laptop” which is just a glorified iPad would serve no purpose.

    • I have no inside knowledge of this, but I think I can answer your questions with some business logic.

      1. Adobe CS/Apple Pro apps will work on Mac Pro hardware with XEON. So you'll pay $10k for professional work. You will, because Apple.
      2. iOS/MacOS will become the same thing for non Mac-Pro devices. If you want the full power of MacOS, see above.

      I read the article and while it says "All Macs" I am extremely skeptical that Apple would abandon the full horsepower that Intel gives. Then again, it is App
      • Or you'll pay $2k for an Intel machine that will run the same software for Windows 95% as well... Apple will be throwing away a lot of middle-of-the-line professional market share.
  • Will we still have to throw out our Mac after three years when something goes bad because we can't replace it?

    How much will all those extra welds add to the weight of their MACs?

  • Once they make the move ...
    (1) Any new native apps will likely ONLY run if they're "approved" by Apple, meaning that they are either from the App Store, or if they are signed with an Apple certificate.
    (2) They'll drop support for "legacy" apps within 2-3 years.

    Closing the walls of the walled garden: complete.

  • It's trivial to run iOS apps natively on x86 chips - Apple already does so with their iPhone emulator in Xcode. Why not just have Xcode perform two compiles for iOS apps - one for ARM and the other for x86?
  • inevitable (Score:2, Insightful)

    This has been an ongoing story fro a few years now. Anyone paying attention to Ax development has seen how fast they have become. They are putting up x86 numbers (in some cases) while running in a passively cooled no ventilation phone. Pretty amazing. But Apple has an issue using third party products. Not because they don't like the tech, but because they can't release features until someone else's silicon supports it. That isn't something a company planning on shipping 100+ million devices a year needs to
  • Lag... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Hallux-F-Sinister ( 5127197 ) on Monday April 02, 2018 @03:21PM (#56368339)
    You guys do realize that the news is THIRD hand, posted on April SECOND, which could mean that the information originated on April FIRST... just saying.
  • Different analysis (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 02, 2018 @03:38PM (#56368485)

    This has been in the works since the start of the LLVM project.

    A few years back, Apple and the LLVM project made the announcement that code compiled for x64 with CLang was finally able to run unmodified on the ARM architecture. By compiling into an intermediate language, Apple has made it possible to write code that should run unmodified on any LLVM platform so long as all libraries are present to support it and that the code doesnâ(TM)t depend on hand written assembly or code which needs direct access to the stack for the platform ABI.

    With the transition from PPC to x86, a lot of transitional APIs such as Carbon were introduced. Also, the principle of fat binaries were made common place in such that each application or framework could be compiled for two or more platforms. Consider that Apple had Yellow Box running in house on x86, PPC and Sparc.

    Over the years, Apple has progressively deprecated any API which was too tightly bound to a single architecture one by one. All code not compiled with LLVM has been slowly killed off. The App Store on IOS and MacOS have set restrictions as to what system calls could be made. Most performance oriented libraries such as QuickTime have been altered, enhanced, etc... to slowly eliminate the need for hand written code. Apple has bullied developers into never writing Mac targeted compilers and instead focused them on compiling to IL or Swift/Obj-C first.

    Just like Microsoft has been trying to universally move to .NET for a retargettable platform, Apple has moved to LLVM.

    There is no technical reason why Mac couldnâ(TM)t run on ARM today. Iâ(TM)d imagine Apple has had Mac OS running on an iPad Pro for some time. The main difference would probably be the type of SSD they employed.

    Performance wise, current Apple chips should have more than enough CPU to handle tasks at least as well as the m3 chips in the Mac Book. 4GB or RAM should be enough for most users as well. PCIe for M.2 storage should be a trivial change for Apple. And Apple has already said they are preparing their own GPU core. I would expect that GPU core to be comparable to Intelâ(TM)s from the beginning. Unlike other GPUs, OpenCL and even most of OpenGL are optional as Apple will dictate the OS graphics API. Of course they already have a strong enough following among game developers that if they cut corners, the developers will suck it up and continue.

    What most people mention is a problem is that Mac has a huge dual boot audience. I would expect an agreement with MS or Amazon to happen to push cloud based virtual desktops. Many enterprises get security by using Mac because malicious Mac software doesnâ(TM)t tend to screw with virtual machines. So they deliver the enterprise desktop on a VM and let the user mess with their Mac however they want.

    What I expect to really shake things up will be an announcement from Apple to support Windows for ARM as an application/subsystem. Then I expect to see Microsoft support their x86 emulator possibly with acceleration on Mac. Unlike Transmeta. Apple working with Microsoft could easily make their x86 JIT perform better than real hardware. This has to do with how branch prediction, pipelines and cache work.

    I honestly donâ(TM)t see anything particularly amazing about this other than the long time it took to get here. Apple must have assessed that the lost business will be offset by the profits gained. Of course, I have been hoping to buy a new Mac Mini this year, my 2012 model is getting old. If Apple releases something âoerespectableâ for $500 or so, Iâ(TM)m in. I only need it for testing Mac builds.

  • by rickb928 ( 945187 ) on Monday April 02, 2018 @03:52PM (#56368583) Homepage Journal

    Apple hasn't made a secret of their intentions to homogenize the experience, the OS, the apps along their product lines. iPhones drive the business, iPads are a shrinking market, Macs are still busy, and Apple TV is probably better defined as 'we wish it was viable', but they keep their feet wet in it. Speakers are an also-ran. Siri needs to be upgraded to offer value to Mac users.

    Making an 'A" style CPU makes sense, and developers who can't learn iOS will find life hard for other reasons. It remains to be seen if iOS is useful for traditionally desktop apps, but this could encourage devs to start building cloud-dependent apps for Macs, and that lets Macs be lightweight and have longer battery life. Add an LTE modem and that's that.

    I was at an Intel facility the day Dell announced they would sell servers with AMD processors. You would have thought people had lost their firstborn. The rumor that a team member had been fired just because they were laughing in the cafeteria was partly true; they weren't in the cafeteria. Miserable day. I wonder what's going on there today...

    I'm not there any more. Completed the project.

  • by organgtool ( 966989 ) on Monday April 02, 2018 @04:23PM (#56368817)
    Apple is getting rid of Intel but they're not making their own chips. Instead, they're getting rid of processors in their computers entirely. Their new computers will be .2mm slimmer and processors will be made available via dongles for primitive people who refuse to let go of outdated technologies.
  • This story keeps popping up every year or two. Iâ(TM)ll need to see something more official from Apple before I waste many cycles on this.

    Nothing to see here. Move along...
  • by kriston ( 7886 ) on Monday April 02, 2018 @11:55PM (#56370863) Homepage Journal

    It sure would be nice if they were to choose RISC-V [wikipedia.org].

Q: How many IBM CPU's does it take to execute a job? A: Four; three to hold it down, and one to rip its head off.

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