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MacRumors
May 27, 2011, 03:05 AM
http://images.macrumors.com/im/macrumorsthreadlogo.gif (http://www.macrumors.com/2011/05/27/apple-testing-an-arm-a5-powered-macbook-air/)


http://images.macrumors.com/article-new/2011/05/1392481298.jpg (http://images.macrumors.com/article-new/2011/05/1392481298.jpg)
Mac Otakara (http://www.macotakara.jp/blog/index.php?ID=12774) claims that Apple is presently testing an A5 powered MacBook Air. And additionally, an anonymous source told more information, Apple already made test equipment of Thunderbolt MacBook Air driven by A5 processor.

According to this source who saw live A5 MacBook Air actually, this test machine performed better than expected.The A5 processor is an ARM-based processor that Apple uses in the iPad 2. Mac Otakara is uncertain what operating system this experimental machine was running. They also add that Quanta Computer manufactured this test-drive machine.

This news comes weeks (http://www.macrumors.com/2011/05/06/apple-to-move-from-intel-to-arm-processors-in-future-laptops/) after another rumor claiming that Apple is planning on transitioning from Intel to ARM-based processors on their laptops in the not too distant future. Most people had dismissed that rumor due to the compatibility issues that would be introduced with such a transition. Another major issue is that while ARM processors are more power efficient, they presently offer significantly lower performance than their Intel counterparts.

The Japanese blog has had some accurate information in the past, being the first to describe (http://www.front.macrumors.com/2010/12/23/next-ipad-with-smaller-bezel-flat-back-and-wide-range-speaker/) some of the new physical characteristics of the iPad 2. It is certainly plausible that Apple might be testing such combinations in their labs, though its unclear if/when Apple might actually decide to introduce such a machine.

Article Link: Apple Testing an ARM (A5) Powered MacBook Air? (http://www.macrumors.com/2011/05/27/apple-testing-an-arm-a5-powered-macbook-air/)



JesterJJZ
May 27, 2011, 03:10 AM
A5 Powerbooks next Tuesday! :apple:

uncle.zed
May 27, 2011, 03:10 AM
What about non Apple software on ARM cpu? would it need rosetta 2.0 ?

freddiecable
May 27, 2011, 03:12 AM
sounds shady...but if you could choose between intel (for power users) and A5 (for non power users)?

d4rkc4sm
May 27, 2011, 03:12 AM
its like ipad with physical keypad

atarobert97
May 27, 2011, 03:15 AM
its like ipad with physical keypad


But you dont have photoshop or flash on the Ipad.

spillproof
May 27, 2011, 03:16 AM
If I could switch into a very low usage state (like an iPad only running one app) and get 10+ hours of battery, that would be awesome. (Plus a backlit keyboard)

blow45
May 27, 2011, 03:17 AM
they might be testing it, but it won't be until a6 or a7 that a solid "desktop" system (as opposed to ios) can be built on arm. Anyone who thinks otherwise is clueless.

Torrijos
May 27, 2011, 03:18 AM
Maybe just an A5 for graphics and openCL purposes since A5 are fully (CPU and GPU) compatible with the standard where Intel current designs only support openCL on the CPU.

asdf542
May 27, 2011, 03:18 AM
Geekbench processor scores for lulz:
A5 (http://browse.geekbench.ca/geekbench2/view/417221) - 747
1.4 GHz Core 2 Duo (http://browse.geekbench.ca/geekbench2/view/408434) (Penryn) - 2255
1.4 GHz Core i5 (http://browse.geekbench.ca/geekbench2/view/413524) (Sandy Bridge)- 4519

Maybe just an A5 for graphics and openCL purposes since A5 are fully (CPU and GPU) compatible with the standard where Intel current designs only support openCL on the CPU.
Ivy Bridge will support OpenCL on the IGP.

gpat
May 27, 2011, 03:25 AM
Screw PowerBook G5, it's about the A5 now!

MacsRgr8
May 27, 2011, 03:25 AM
A5 Powerbooks next Tuesday! :apple:

LOL! :D

Finally the word "PowerBook" may be used again!

cleric
May 27, 2011, 03:27 AM
While I don't doubt this is being considered it seems a long way off.

AAPLaday
May 27, 2011, 03:27 AM
Perhaps this is what the future white MacBook would end up running? Seems like a good way of combating those Google Chromebooks that are coming soon.

peskaa
May 27, 2011, 03:30 AM
Just release the SandyBridge Airs already, then we can talk about some mystical A5 prototypes...

xUKHCx
May 27, 2011, 03:30 AM
What about non Apple software on ARM cpu? would it need rosetta 2.0 ?

At least we can possibly still run bootcamp with Windows 8 also being arm compatible.

I also think it will be a long way off before a public switch to arm if there ever is one but I don't doubt that they are running it their labs.

richcon
May 27, 2011, 03:32 AM
This wouldn't surprise me. Apple has a knack for looking into the future – way into the future in some cases. That doesn't mean that they're preparing for an ARM-based MacBook Air today, just that they're exploring their options for three or four years down the road.

Eventually ARM will go 64-bit and add workstation-level features, and Apple is investing a lot of money into producing their own custom ARM-based chips. Keeping their options open for future Mac hardware makes sense.

Don't forget, Apple had been producing experimental Intel-based Macs since before Mac OS X 1.0 came out in 2001. But they never made this public until they transitioned to Intel processors in 2005; that's a four year period of experimentation and preparation for a possible future.

JesterJJZ
May 27, 2011, 03:32 AM
LOL! :D

Finally the word "PowerBook" may be used again!

It was my first "first post"! :D I couldn't resist.

SockRolid
May 27, 2011, 03:33 AM
they might be testing it, but it won't be until a6 or a7 that a solid "desktop" system (as opposed to ios) can be built on arm. Anyone who thinks otherwise is clueless.

Agree that full-blown Mac OS X needs more than just one A5 to run well. So maybe Apple could put two A5s in a MacBook Air and use Grand Central Dispatch to coordinate tasks among the 4 cores on the two chips.

Inevitably, the ARM chips will get faster, so in the future Apple will be able to use A6, A7, etc. Of course, Mac Pros would still need to use Intel chips until GCD can efficiently handle 8, 16, 32, or more cores.

nagromme
May 27, 2011, 03:36 AM
They tested it, maybe.

And discovered that it wouldn’t run anything :o

Well, that’s what testing is for :)

(Makes sense to consider far-future contingencies, though. Looking ahead and doing a certain amount of work “just in case” is how they were able to pull off the big Intel transition.)

kjjnk
May 27, 2011, 03:37 AM
Agree that full-blown Mac OS X needs more than just one A5 to run well. So maybe Apple could put two A5s in a MacBook Air and use Grand Central Dispatch to coordinate tasks among the 4 cores on the two chips.

Inevitably, the ARM chips will get faster, so in the future Apple will be able to use A6, A7, etc. Of course, Mac Pros would still need to use Intel chips until GCD can efficiently handle 8, 16, 32, or more cores.
Err... GCD can efficiently handle as many cores you can throw at it. Take a look at the dual processor 12-core Mac Pro.

Optimus Frag
May 27, 2011, 03:37 AM
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3_3 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8J2 Safari/6533.18.5)

Can't see this coming to fruition for at least a couple of years for the reasons already stated.

Just out of curiosity however how powerful is the A5 chip in terms of it's graphics abilities compared to the nvidia GPU in the current MBA? Wouldn't be surprised if Apple have dabbled with the idea of using an A5 for low power apps and graphics with an Intel CPU coming in for heavy lifting.

There'd be a lot of technical hurdles to doing that granted but if anyone's going to pull it off, Apple would.

kjjnk
May 27, 2011, 03:39 AM
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3_3 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8J2 Safari/6533.18.5)

Can't see this coming to fruition for at least a couple of years for the reasons already stated.

Just out of curiosity however how powerful is the A5 chip in terms of it's graphics abilities compared to the nvidia GPU in the current MBA? Wouldn't be surprised if Apple have dabbled with the idea of using an A5 for low power apps and graphics with an Intel CPU coming in for heavy lifting.

There'd be a lot of technical hurdles to doing that granted but if anyone's going to pull it off, Apple would.There's no comparison. Even the three year old 9400M takes a crap all over the A5's GPU performance, and rightfully so.

Skika
May 27, 2011, 03:40 AM
Bring on the ARM Macbook hell yeah :cool:

Westyfield2
May 27, 2011, 03:43 AM
No thanks! :eek: :(

blow45
May 27, 2011, 03:43 AM
Agree that full-blown Mac OS X needs more than just one A5 to run well. So maybe Apple could put two A5s in a MacBook Air and use Grand Central Dispatch to coordinate tasks among the 4 cores on the two chips.


my understanding is that gcd is open to developers to implement, if and when they can, but very few have implemented it, so to use a dual A5 scenario would take a lot of engineering, and it's just not ripe for compatibility issues as well.

I would say give it 1-2 years and then we can start talking about arm in macbooks.

Michael CM1
May 27, 2011, 03:44 AM
I don't know all the technical challenges, but exactly how many "power users" buy a MacBook Air? MBA owners want something light with an insane amount of battery time. If you wanted something more "powerful," you would've bought a MacBook Pro.

I tested out the latest MBA when it came out. As far as speed goes (don't confuse this with power), on basic tasks it flies. No old-school spinning hard disk, just fast flash storage. If ARM processors can get iPad-like 10-hour battery life, you'll probably have plenty of buyers. It would also create a little more market separation between the MBA and MBP.

I personally like my iMac at home, iPad on the go setup about 95 percent of the time. I do wish I had desktop apps like Photoshop and a full keyboard from time to time, but mostly the unique abilities of an iPad make up for that. You can't have EVERYTHING you need without buying five or six different devices.

Now if Apple will just put a damn Blu-ray Disc drive on desktops and the capability to even use them in the OS, I WILL BE ONE HAPPY CAMPER.

johneaston
May 27, 2011, 03:44 AM
This might sound dumb - can ARM run OS X? Or does this mean that the next MBA could be running iOS?

w00t951
May 27, 2011, 03:45 AM
Perhaps a second boot option which keeps your files but boots into iOS with a user accessible file system that runs on the A5? I wouldn't be surprised if Apple shoves two or four of the A5 processors into the Macbook. They're certainly small and power efficient enough.

blow45
May 27, 2011, 03:45 AM
Err... GCD can efficiently handle as many cores you can throw at it. Take a look at the dual processor 12-core Mac Pro.

yeah but how many os x software support it?:confused:

kjjnk
May 27, 2011, 03:48 AM
yeah but how many os x software support it?:confused:

Only QuickTime X to my knowledge as of right now but Final Cut Pro X will support it so I'd expect Apple's other apps to follow suit soon.

blow45
May 27, 2011, 03:48 AM
Perhaps a second boot option which keeps your files but boots into iOS with a user accessible file system that runs on the A5? I wouldn't be surprised if Apple shoves two or four of the A5 processors into the Macbook. They're certainly small and power efficient enough.

I think that would be too complicated and unapple like, seeing as they are already attempting a unification of sorts for the oses (ios, os x) for them to add an other layer of complexity just for the airs, and at this moment. All the more so since the new airs are selling like hotcakes. Which of course hasn't stopped apple in the past from making radical changes (see ipod mini) but to something simpler and better, not to a configuration that isn't just there yet.

blow45
May 27, 2011, 03:51 AM
Only QuickTime X to my knowledge as of right now but Final Cut Pro X will support it so I'd expect Apple's other apps to follow suit soon.

oh ok, as I expected. Actually I thought it was a bit better and that adobe where on the gcd bandwagon too (yeah right...). If the pro apps are switching to GCD now I think one can safely assume that most non pro apple apps will go to gcd in a couple of years, if ever, cause of course, I wouldnt think that adding e.g. gcd to mail.app would be something really productive and apple will be up for it.

kjjnk
May 27, 2011, 03:55 AM
oh ok, as I expected. Actually I thought it was a bit better and that adobe where on the gcd bandwagon too (yeah right...). If the pro apps are switching to GCD now I think one can safely assume that most non pro apple apps will go to gcd in a couple of years, if ever, cause of course, I wouldnt think that adding e.g. gcd to mail.app would be something really productive and apple will be up for it.

GCD is only useful for tasks that use a lot of CPU like rendering video. Putting GCD in something like TextEdit would have absolutely no value.

tmuller
May 27, 2011, 03:56 AM
when are all the "anonymous" sources going to get an actual clue?

Thunderbolt and A5 are completely different companies. There is NO way Intel is going to license a chipset technology if they aren't selling the CPU chip, that would be stupid. If the A5 chip was built on top of the IA architecture, maybe, but that something they haven't even DESIGNED yet.

Get a real rumor and find something else to talk about.

Azathoth
May 27, 2011, 04:00 AM
This might sound dumb - can ARM run OS X? Or does this mean that the next MBA could be running iOS?

If you have a compiler and the source code for OS X then you can recompile. The problem is that *all* programs would need to be recompiled (unless you want to do emulation, but this would cause a large performance hit, on an already low CPU-power device)

All programs would need recompilation... Bootcamp would not work.

I hope that this is not true - Im considering to replace my MBP15 with a MBA13 at the next refresh. I'm a semi power user, but travel quite a bit and the 1kg lighter weight and lower bulk of the air is tempting.

QTime
May 27, 2011, 04:01 AM
wow, thats gonna be total ********. (-> so apple will def. make it happen!)

blow45
May 27, 2011, 04:02 AM
GCD is only useful for tasks that use a lot of CPU like rendering video. Putting GCD in something like TextEdit would have absolutely no value.

sure, it's expected. Few apps actually lend themselves to parallelism well.

FvL
May 27, 2011, 04:02 AM
I guess that starting with Lion, Apple will force Apps submitted to the Mac App Store to be compiled with LLVM and distributed in LLVM-IR format. Then the OS will JIT compile to the target processor. This would not only make the Apps mostly processor-independent, but also automatically make use of the most efficient instruction set for the target processor.

JS77
May 27, 2011, 04:02 AM
when are all the "anonymous" sources going to get an actual clue?

Thunderbolt and A5 are completely different companies. There is NO way Intel is going to license a chipset technology if they aren't selling the CPU chip, that would be stupid. If the A5 chip was built on top of the IA architecture, maybe, but that something they haven't even DESIGNED yet.

Get a real rumor and find something else to talk about.

lol, I like the cut of your jib! :D

adztaylor
May 27, 2011, 04:07 AM
Doesn't surprise me this is being tested. Doubt it will hit the market anytime soon!

BLACKFRIDAY
May 27, 2011, 04:08 AM
Seems very appropriate.

Just when you replace:

A5 with A8 &

2011 with 2014.

:cool:

blow45
May 27, 2011, 04:08 AM
I guess that starting with Lion, Apple will force Apps submitted to the Mac App Store to be compiled with LLVM and distributed in LLVM-IR format. Then the OS will JIT compile to the target processor. This would not only make the Apps mostly processor-independent, but also automatically make use of the most efficient instruction set for the target processor.
how come they 've not done it already, I am wondering...maybe they were waiting to establish a developers market place under their control first so they could enforce programming directives better.

martm
May 27, 2011, 04:08 AM
According to Geekbench, iPad 2 compares roughly to iBook G4 form mid 2005 (http://browse.geekbench.ca/geekbench2/compare/413743/417221).

Probably in a year or two, ARM will double it’s performance. Then the performance is comparable to current 11" Macbook Air.

It seems that for everyday computing the ARM will be good enough, but the real problem is software. I would need Firefox and Zotero, MS Office, Omnigraffle, Check Point VPN, STATA etc do get my job done. For instance, I doubt that MS would port Office for Mac to ARM quickly and in quality.

talkingfuture
May 27, 2011, 04:11 AM
I bet here are all kinds of franken-macs in the labs at Cupertino for testing like this. If it works well and they think it will sell I am sure we will see it released.

kxbcvoi
May 27, 2011, 04:27 AM
So OS X will get another life.

kiljoy616
May 27, 2011, 04:32 AM
Could it be a combination of two CPU one for low power need and a regular CPU like an i5 for bigger needs, still who is really cracking much real power user work on an Air. ;)

gnasher729
May 27, 2011, 04:33 AM
Seems cool, when will it release?

Apple had MacOS X running on Intel processors four years before it was released.


I guess that starting with Lion, Apple will force Apps submitted to the Mac App Store to be compiled with LLVM and distributed in LLVM-IR format. Then the OS will JIT compile to the target processor. This would not only make the Apps mostly processor-independent, but also automatically make use of the most efficient instruction set for the target processor.

Nonsense. Just build for three architectures (Intel 32 bit, Intel 64 bit, ARM) instead of two (Intel 32 bit, Intel 64 bit).


GCD is only useful for tasks that use a lot of CPU like rendering video. Putting GCD in something like TextEdit would have absolutely no value.

I suppose you don't write multithreaded code. GCD is a godsend for anything talking to a server with long latency to avoid the hated beach balls.


This might sound dumb - can ARM run OS X? Or does this mean that the next MBA could be running iOS?

You can bet that Apple has a machine with an ARM processor running MacOS X somewhere and has had one for quite a while. Unlikely that they went to the pain of squeezing one into a MacBook Air case as this rumour says.

KylePowers
May 27, 2011, 04:36 AM
Not surprised this is being tested; however, I'd say it's a little incorrect to say Apple is moving from Intel to ARM. Wouldn't it be x86 to ARM? I get what they mean, but with Apple's future A5's (etc, etc) possibly (and more than likely) being manufactured by Intel, I'd say the article's wording is a little misleading.

Granted, I'm just nitpicking and one could easily argue both sides. But anywhoooooooooo, I don't think ARM is ready for this sorta debut yet (though it's quickly getting there). I'd say unless Intel blows the competition outta the water in the future years (seems as if Ivy Bridge will be a good start), ARM could be a viable option.

MattInOz
May 27, 2011, 04:37 AM
my understanding is that gcd is open to developers to implement, if and when they can, but very few have implemented it, so to use a dual A5 scenario would take a lot of engineering, and it's just not ripe for compatibility issues as well.

I would say give it 1-2 years and then we can start talking about arm in macbooks.

If the time frame is realistically two years then...
We are talking the OS after Lion (and iOS5 Lion cub) has run it's course.
If we are talking major major system change that would seem to be needed.
So we should expect that they would have been testing A4 machines before the A4 was even public on top of A5 prototypes, there may even be an A6 prototype in the super secret lab already.

Also expect that this new OS gets previewed this WWDC and dominate the next two.

KnightWRX
May 27, 2011, 04:42 AM
they might be testing it, but it won't be until a6 or a7 that a solid "desktop" system (as opposed to ios) can be built on arm. Anyone who thinks otherwise is clueless.

KDE builds on ARM :

http://www.kde.org/announcements/4.6/screenshots/46-w09.png

Gnome builds on ARM :

http://www.gnome.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/overview.png

Unity most certainly builds on ARM (it's tailor made for ARM netbooks afterall) :

http://lwn.net/images/2010/unity/Current_Ubuntu_Netbook_Edition.png

Heck, all the Linux DEs build on ARM and run fine. They have for years. And all the Linux DEs make perfect "desktop" systems for people who do Web, E-mail, Facebook. Who's clueless exactly ?

However, I doubt Apple would go forward with this, especially with a build of OS X for ARM. Too much commercial software to through a whole CPU architecture change again, especially that now they are on Intel, the most popular architecture out there for laptops/desktops.

ChristianJapan
May 27, 2011, 04:42 AM
Put the high-res/ retina touch screen in and call is iPad Pro. I bet there would already enough people lineing up to get an iPad with build-in physical keyboard. And for many users it will be even enough (email, flash-free surfing etc). Overall a very plausible idea ...

Synaesthesia242
May 27, 2011, 04:43 AM
The cool thing is Cocoa is so portable, that any Cocoa app will run perfectly on ARM with no extra coding required. Just a quick recompile. Pretty awesome. :apple:

MattInOz
May 27, 2011, 04:44 AM
how come they 've not done it already, I am wondering...maybe they were waiting to establish a developers market place under their control first so they could enforce programming directives better.

Or in a less sinister take...
LLVM JIT runtime is still about 12 months away from being mature enough but has shown great promise already in there Java JIT. There may even be a Flash JIT running in Adobe's labs.

KnightWRX
May 27, 2011, 04:45 AM
I don't know all the technical challenges, but exactly how many "power users" buy a MacBook Air?

*Raises hand*. It's also my primary computer. Not all power users are about sheer CPU power. In my case, I use the shell and the Unix tools a lot. The MBA is plenty of computer for that.

I dabble some in graphics, but only when I make some websites/iOS stuff, I could do these graphics on my Pentium 2 333 mhz in Gimp if I really needed to (so it's not sweat for the MBA).

eAi
May 27, 2011, 04:50 AM
The cool thing is Cocoa is so portable, that any Cocoa app will run perfectly on ARM with no extra coding required. Just a quick recompile. Pretty awesome. :apple:

You don't think endianness might be an issue?

FvL
May 27, 2011, 05:03 AM
You don't think endianness might be an issue?
No. First, Objective-C programs typically don't rely as much on the cpu's endianness as C programs do - and it's bad programming style anyway to rely on endiannness.

But most importantly, ARM happens to use the same endiannness as x86 does.

StealthGhost
May 27, 2011, 05:16 AM
Testing is one thing but if they bring anything to market thats slower than the Core2Duo it uses they'll have a netbook on their hands. Steve Jobs loves netbooks.

mrkramer
May 27, 2011, 05:18 AM
I'm sure apple has ARM machines running in their labs, just like they used to have intel machines, but for now intel has a big enough advantage that I don't see Apple actually releasing this. Maybe in 4 or 5 years though.

weedy
May 27, 2011, 05:24 AM
Geekbench processor scores for lulz:
A5 (http://browse.geekbench.ca/geekbench2/view/417221) - 747
1.4 GHz Core 2 Duo (http://browse.geekbench.ca/geekbench2/view/408434) (Penryn) - 2255
1.4 GHz Core i5 (http://browse.geekbench.ca/geekbench2/view/413524) (Sandy Bridge)- 4519

You for the LOLZ

A5 is dual core and runs at 884MHz.
Maximum cores for this ARM architecture (Cortex A9) is 4.
"Normal" clock is 1GHz.

So, a normally clocked four-core A5 would be MUCH closer to the C2D version.
Plus, ARM is so far ahead of Intel in efficiency, that even a significant overclock would change nothing - it would still be FAR less consumption.
Now, how about a dual-processor (2x4 cores) design and some overclock?

That would come close if not beat the Penryn version and still be cheaper and consume less power (longer battery life).

And I bet Apple is not even looking to replicate the Sandy Bridge performance - if it can do web, documents and HD video without a hiccup, it's just what's needed for Macbook Air.
And MUCH better battery life / component price on top of that.

emulator
May 27, 2011, 05:25 AM
Heck, all the Linux DEs build on ARM and run fine. They have for years. And all the Linux DEs make perfect "desktop" systems for people who do Web, E-mail, Facebook. Who's clueless exactly ?
Those people, who only do Web, E-mail, Facebook. :D

Nobita
May 27, 2011, 05:35 AM
Is it a possibity that apple supports two architectures at the same time? Maybe ARM for MBA and MB, Intel for MBP, iMac, and Mac Pro?

From history, this is the windows way of doing things though.

RoelJuun
May 27, 2011, 05:38 AM
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3_3 like Mac OS X; nl-nl) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8J2 Safari/6533.18.5)

I ask myself, how did the source 'see' that it was performing better than expected when it was not clear which operating system was used?
Benchmarks? Cheering engineers?

Actually hoped for a powerfull Air but hey, let's see what Apple will do.

gnasher729
May 27, 2011, 05:41 AM
You don't think endianness might be an issue?

No, since Intel processors and ARM processors have the same endianness. Code written with the intent of running on a 32 bit Intel processor but avoiding inline assembler and vector operations will run just fine on an ARM processor (if you intend to do lots of unaligned memory accesses you better tell the compiler to make the code run fast, but that is very rare).

Bentov
May 27, 2011, 05:41 AM
Geekbench processor scores for lulz:
A5 (http://browse.geekbench.ca/geekbench2/view/417221) - 747
1.4 GHz Core 2 Duo (http://browse.geekbench.ca/geekbench2/view/408434) (Penryn) - 2255
1.4 GHz Core i5 (http://browse.geekbench.ca/geekbench2/view/413524) (Sandy Bridge)- 4519



With that level of performance, there are two possibilities.

1)This rumor is few years to early.
2)Steve had some near death experience we don't know about and he has decided to make "budget" machines.

thejadedmonkey
May 27, 2011, 05:46 AM
If you have a compiler and the source code for OS X then you can recompile. The problem is that *all* programs would need to be recompiled (unless you want to do emulation, but this would cause a large performance hit, on an already low CPU-power device)

All programs would need recompilation... Bootcamp would not work.

I hope that this is not true - Im considering to replace my MBP15 with a MBA13 at the next refresh. I'm a semi power user, but travel quite a bit and the 1kg lighter weight and lower bulk of the air is tempting.

Why wouldn't bootcamp work? Windows 8 will run on ARM.

Personally, I'm excited if Apple's going to come out with a low-priced Macbook Air that can compete with the Chromebook.

dernhelm
May 27, 2011, 05:48 AM
I guess that starting with Lion, Apple will force Apps submitted to the Mac App Store to be compiled with LLVM and distributed in LLVM-IR format. Then the OS will JIT compile to the target processor. This would not only make the Apps mostly processor-independent, but also automatically make use of the most efficient instruction set for the target processor.

You hit it on the head. LLVM now gives them the capability to make hardware platform agnostic app deliveries. Rather than JIT compile, they could simply have the installer perform the IR -> native translation and install the now native compiled application.

You can do something similar with Microsoft .Net programs and shave seconds (sometimes 10s of seconds) off of startup time.

rdlink
May 27, 2011, 05:56 AM
I don't know all the technical challenges, but exactly how many "power users" buy a MacBook Air? MBA owners want something light with an insane amount of battery time. If you wanted something more "powerful," you would've bought a MacBook Pro.

I tested out the latest MBA when it came out. As far as speed goes (don't confuse this with power), on basic tasks it flies. No old-school spinning hard disk, just fast flash storage. If ARM processors can get iPad-like 10-hour battery life, you'll probably have plenty of buyers. It would also create a little more market separation between the MBA and MBP.

I personally like my iMac at home, iPad on the go setup about 95 percent of the time. I do wish I had desktop apps like Photoshop and a full keyboard from time to time, but mostly the unique abilities of an iPad make up for that. You can't have EVERYTHING you need without buying five or six different devices.

Now if Apple will just put a damn Blu-ray Disc drive on desktops and the capability to even use them in the OS, I WILL BE ONE HAPPY CAMPER.

As a "power user" who sold my MacBook Pro 15" to replace with a MacBook Air, I can tell you that I get better performance from the MBA than I was getting from my MBP. Granted, my MBP was a Core Duo 2.66. I know that a new SB MBP would offer better performance. I own a 27" iMac i7, with 2TB of HD, and 16GB of RAM. And I love it. But my MBA is the best computer I have ever owned.

I wouldn't welcome the switch, personally. We're just now getting beyond the transition to Intel, and Apple doesn't need the FUD of incompatibility claims out in the wild.

I believe that if it's true, it's strictly laboratory stuff for now. At least 2-3 years from being public.

carmenodie
May 27, 2011, 05:59 AM
While I don't doubt this is being considered it seems a long way off.
I agree.

0815
May 27, 2011, 06:00 AM
First - it's only testing ... So might be a while

This might be the cheap answer to net books for users who mostly browse and probably write a few docs. lion could have a intel-Rosetta. Bit more full computer than iPad but still cheaper than current MBA for loe power users.

As long as there is still a powerful intel option I'm fine with it ( don't think arm will be as powerful in the near future)

realmike15
May 27, 2011, 06:01 AM
I can see them doing this with the Air, but I cannot for the life of me see how they would justify this in all their laptops... at least not as the rumor suggests. I supposed it's possible they could offer both an Intel and A5 in the MB/MBP to have a High Power and Low Power mode. But to suggest that they would just replace the entire Intel lineup with their A5 processor is silly. All the professionals from Photographers to Directors to Audio Engineers would immediately move away from Apple to another company, because an A5 simply can't keep up with the processor demands. Even semi-pros and hobbyists would move away from Apple. Apple tried to make their own processors before and they couldn't compete with Intel. The likely hood of this rumor seems so far fetched I can't even believe it's being brought up, again. They've done a great job designing a low-power chip for mobile devices. But competing with Intel and AMD is a whole different league. These guys have way more money invested into CPU design, and anything Apple tries to create just won't be able to compete.

maflynn
May 27, 2011, 06:04 AM
Interesting, will this be a slow progression away from the intel platform or is it a targeted use of the A5.

I hope they'll not be charging a thousand bucks for something that will run slower, and run less applications (windows, vmware etc)

In case it hasn't been said yet being a long thread. So people chafed at calling the MBA a netbook, there's no much excuse now, I mean it is a netbook at this point and given apple's propensity to over charge it will be one expensive slow laptop

KnightWRX
May 27, 2011, 06:06 AM
No. First, Objective-C programs typically don't rely as much on the cpu's endianness as C programs do - and it's bad programming style anyway to rely on endiannness.

I have some image manipulation written using Quartz that disagrees with you. Try to manipulate RGBA values inside an 32 bit integer without conforming to the platform's endianness and come back and tell me the result. ;)

That's just how it is. It's not bad programming style, it depends on the requirements. If you're required to go to a lower level (I translate images to a series of pixel values using a CGBitmapContext so I can then manipulate the pixel data (to superimpose images partially) before displaying it on screen), you most certainly have to pay attention to endianness.

The beauty of ARM though is that it's endian-curious. It can be either big or little endian, based on what the chip designer makes it. Though for some odd reason, Apple picked the wrong endianness for iOS based devices so we're running opposite of Intel's.

You for the LOLZ

A5 is dual core and runs at 884MHz.
Maximum cores for this ARM architecture (Cortex A9) is 4.
"Normal" clock is 1GHz.

So, a normally clocked four-core A5 would be MUCH closer to the C2D version.
Plus, ARM is so far ahead of Intel in efficiency, that even a significant overclock would change nothing - it would still be FAR less consumption.
Now, how about a dual-processor (2x4 cores) design and some overclock?

You assume desktop and real-world tasks can be made parellele with 100% efficiency. That is unfortunately not the case. You'll never be able to reproduce synthetic benchmarks results with real world software as instructions are highly dependant on one and the other and while some form of out of order execution is possible, you cannot throw instructions on the cores in a round-robin fashion and hope something good comes out.

And a quad-core to catch up to a dual core ? Please. The ARM stuff might be highly efficient, but it's no where near the Intel mobile CPUs. It's good for handheld and embedded devices, why force yourself to stuff it in something like a laptop when you can simply go for Intel's mobile stuff which is already pretty efficient and much much better at brute instructions per clock.

Those people, who only do Web, E-mail, Facebook. :D

How are they clueless ? That's what they need out of a computer. Who are you to judge their needs ? I know many people who need nothing besides those things, especially now that Web encompasses a rich multitude of web applications (like iWork.com, Google Docs, etc..).

The same guy you just called clueless for using a computer only for Web access probably thinks you're as clueless for not needing a full set of allen wrenches, in all imperial and metric sizes. Not everyone has the same use for the tools we use (computers are tools) and you can't judge someone based on their needs in a particular field.

jmpnop
May 27, 2011, 06:06 AM
Geekbench processor scores for lulz:
A5 (http://browse.geekbench.ca/geekbench2/view/417221) - 747
1.4 GHz Core 2 Duo (http://browse.geekbench.ca/geekbench2/view/408434) (Penryn) - 2255
1.4 GHz Core i5 (http://browse.geekbench.ca/geekbench2/view/413524) (Sandy Bridge)- 4519


Ivy Bridge will support OpenCL on the IGP.

Thats a significant loss in processing power!

KDE builds on ARM :

Gnome builds on ARM :

Unity most certainly builds on ARM (it's tailor made for ARM netbooks afterall) :

Heck, all the Linux DEs build on ARM and run fine. They have for years. And all the Linux DEs make perfect "desktop" systems for people who do Web, E-mail, Facebook. Who's clueless exactly ?

However, I doubt Apple would go forward with this, especially with a build of OS X for ARM. Too much commercial software to through a whole CPU architecture change again, especially that now they are on Intel, the most popular architecture out there for laptops/desktops.

+1

Also I don't think it'd be as good as Intel ones atm. That would mean a significant performance hit. And $1000+ for such a device would be too much.

yourstation
May 27, 2011, 06:09 AM
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Apple ran an intel version of Mac OS for years before the switch, this is not going to happen anytime soon. Apple is very clear in its behaviour to not be overly reliant on sole suppliers, it will always investigate alternatives, some of which will come to fruition in the future as a superior option. This is nothing right now. I would also expect Apple to be looking at iOS development throughout the range as a possibility.

realmike15
May 27, 2011, 06:09 AM
As a "power user" who sold my MacBook Pro 15" to replace with a MacBook Air, I can tell you that I get better performance from the MBA than I was getting from my MBP. Granted, my MBP was a Core Duo 2.66. I know that a new SB MBP would offer better performance. I own a 27" iMac i7, with 2TB of HD, and 16GB of RAM. And I love it. But my MBA is the best computer I have ever owned.

I wouldn't welcome the switch, personally. We're just now getting beyond the transition to Intel, and Apple doesn't need the FUD of incompatibility claims out in the wild.

I believe that if it's true, it's strictly laboratory stuff for now. At least 2-3 years from being public.


That's because the Air has an SSD. Throw an SSD in your old Core2Duo MacBook Pro and the MBP would be faster. I can understand if you prefer the Air, it's very portable... but it ain't faster than an '09 MacBook Pro. It's the SSD that's making the difference.

KnightWRX
May 27, 2011, 06:27 AM
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Apple ran an intel version of Mac OS for years before the switch, this is not going to happen anytime soon.

How can you come to this conclusion ? For all you know, OS X runs on Intel, PPC, ARM, MIPS, Alpha, PA-RISC, Acorn, SPARC and other architectures.

Linux does. BSD does. Having a source tree compatible to dozens of CPU architectures is quite feasible, open source projects do it all the time. If a bunch of basement dwelling volunteers can write architecture independent code, I bet Apple can to. ;)

That's because the Air has an SSD. Throw an SSD in your old Core2Duo MacBook Pro and the MBP would be faster. I can understand if you prefer the Air, it's very portable... but it ain't faster than an '09 MacBook Pro. It's the SSD that's making the difference.

Only in disk I/O operations. The SSD has no impact on anything else in the system. If anything, that means rdlink's workflow is highly disk I/O dependent (and in this day and age, CPU bound tasks are getting much, much rarer).

mdriftmeyer
May 27, 2011, 06:29 AM
Geekbench processor scores for lulz:
A5 (http://browse.geekbench.ca/geekbench2/view/417221) - 747
1.4 GHz Core 2 Duo (http://browse.geekbench.ca/geekbench2/view/408434) (Penryn) - 2255
1.4 GHz Core i5 (http://browse.geekbench.ca/geekbench2/view/413524) (Sandy Bridge)- 4519


Ivy Bridge will support OpenCL on the IGP.

Yes and AMD's Bulldozer and their GPU/APU options will run circles around it and AMD's already full support for OpenCL 1.1 on the CPU and GPU.

Dagless
May 27, 2011, 06:32 AM
Well that's not a machine I could buy. The reason why Macs are so appealing to me now, the reason why I just bought the top of the line iMac model, was because of Intel chips. They're powerful and run both main consumer OS's and are compatible with all my applications.

ˇalgiris
May 27, 2011, 06:34 AM
Well that's not a machine I could buy. The reason why Macs are so appealing to me now, the reason why I just bought the top of the line iMac model, was because of Intel chips. They're powerful and run both main consumer OS's and are compatible with all my applications.

This rumor is about MBA specifically and jumping to wild conclusions is your own problem.

neuropsychguy
May 27, 2011, 06:35 AM
Maybe Apple will include an ARM processor as well as an Intel chip on future machines. This way you could run OSX or iOS. I could see being able to start the computer in iOS (or OS X) first with OS X loading in the background, ready to switch into should you want to switch. Some people would stay in the iOS environment most of the time, others in OS X. That could be an immediate use of ARM processors with a gradual switch to them as they become faster and more powerful.

KnightWRX
May 27, 2011, 06:38 AM
This rumor is about MBA specifically and jumping to wild conclusions is your own problem.

What wild conclusions ? He said he would not buy that machine. He didn't say he would never buy another Mac again.

Is it not you that's jumping to conclusions in this case ?

jclardy
May 27, 2011, 06:44 AM
But you dont have photoshop or flash on the Ipad.

You wouldn't have it on this either...all software would have to be recompiled as ARM binaries.

"Universal" Mac apps would have to make a comeback.

I could still see this happening, but probably not for another year or two.

realmike15
May 27, 2011, 06:48 AM
The SSD has no impact on anything else in the system. If anything, that means rdlink's workflow is highly disk I/O dependent (and in this day and age, CPU bound tasks are getting much, much rarer).

Haha, I understand how computers work dude. I'm explaining to him that the performance increase he's seeing is from the SSD. A regular HDD is the single biggest bottleneck to a modern computer. They simply can't keep up with the processor and ram. I guarantee you it has less to do with his tasks being overly disk intensive, and more to do with the snappy response he gets from any user requests that require the SSD to deliver information.

KnightWRX
May 27, 2011, 06:50 AM
A regular HDD is the single biggest bottleneck to a modern computer.

Really ? Because based on my workflow, it's the 802.11n that's the biggest bottleneck, I rarely hit the hard drive. ;)

realmike15
May 27, 2011, 06:52 AM
Really ? Because based on my workflow, it's the 802.11n that's the biggest bottleneck, I rarely hit the hard drive. ;)

That's because all you do is surf the web and check your e-mail ;)

Edit: Also a wireless card is not required to run a computer, I said main component. So your point is completely moot.

robecq
May 27, 2011, 06:54 AM
Would it be possible to have both a A5 and and intel chip on board? Imagine being able to run both OSX and iOS:) on the same machine

jonnysods
May 27, 2011, 06:56 AM
ARM gets annihilated by anything intel. Yes battery life is good, but so is processing power, power is more important to me anyways.

KnightWRX
May 27, 2011, 06:57 AM
That's because all you do is surf the web and check your e-mail ;)

No, I VPN into work and run all my media off a network based NAS mostly. The other bottleneck is my typing speed, as about the only other main tasks I do on my computer is write code or type out Unix commands.

In fact, about the only web browsing I do is Mac Rumors, Slashdot and a Harley-Davidson forum.

Edit: Also a wireless card is not required to run a computer, I said main component. So your point is completely moot.

A computer without a network connection is worthless to me. The network connection is about as main a component as it gets in 2011. On another note, I could boot off iSCSI for all I care and have no hard drive at all in my machines. In fact, at work we essentially do that, no local storage at all, all done over the network (except there we have budget and run the stuff over a dual fabric FC SAN).

Would it be possible to have both a A5 and and intel chip on board? Imagine being able to run both OSX and iOS:) on the same machine

The question is why would we want to ? OS X is instant on already (has been for years on laptops with the sleep mode) and offers all the same functionality iOS does.

iOS on a Mac is redundant if that same Mac is running OS X.

Chupa Chupa
May 27, 2011, 07:06 AM
This story is much ado about no too much. It seems some here forget that Apple is experimenting with Intel chips in Macs well, well before it dumped PPC out of necessity.

Apple's decision to go Intel was not random. PPC as far as desktop computing goes was at the end of the line, it was a sinking ship. Evidence of Apple toying with ARM in laptops means nothing other than Apple isn't sitting on its laurels.

If Apple does ever jump to ARM it will not be on a whim, or at the expense of damaging the Mac brand or aliening consumers tired of bi-decade transitions. Like going Intel (something many here screamed would doom Apple), if Apple goes ARM it will be with a specific purpose to strengthen the brand.

*LTD*
May 27, 2011, 07:07 AM
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Told yas.

A-series chips in all Apple notebooks in less than two years. ;)

dodegy
May 27, 2011, 07:11 AM
I like the idea of having an ARM and Intel CPU in one machine. But I think it's more likely OSX runs on ARM. iOS support would be a nice feature on an OSX machine, but including an ARM CPU only for IOS, I don't think so.

Concerning the Universal binaries or recompilation problems, there should be a huge battery improvement solely from running OSX parts on the ARM chip, perhaps Safari too. So if you only use Mail and Safari you get a nice battery life and if you need Photoshop, this runs on the Intel CPU. This way Apple gets a nice migration pattern over time.

mcnallym
May 27, 2011, 07:17 AM
For the MBA then it makes sense, an ultra portable lightweight laptop with a proper keyboard. Think iPad but with a proper keyboard.

If portability, battery life are the main criteria, then it makes sense, you can always find someone who has different needs, ( over at the efi-x forums there was a guy wanting to build a dual cpu portable computer ), so it won't work for everyone however for the people that Apple target at (not necessarily everyone that buys MBA's is in that target) then it is likely a good move

If people want to do heavy processsor intensive work then they would/should be looking at the MB or MBP anyway so if people using the Air that need the extra grunt don't but an ARM air but an MB or MBP instead Apple are hardly going to lose sleep over it.

Of course it also helps encourage Intel to get more power efficient on their CPU's, and Intel do seem to be trying to get that on there Atom series chips. I believe there was even a story recently about some exec at Intel saying that the roadmap we influenced by Apple.

However I wouldn't expect to see until at least Lion launches, and possibly even later.

42streetsdown
May 27, 2011, 07:21 AM
i just want ivy bridge MacBook Airs. the power efficiency increases for those should be good enough for me. :)

realmike15
May 27, 2011, 07:27 AM
No, I VPN into work and run all my media off a network based NAS mostly. The other bottleneck is my typing speed, as about the only other main tasks I do on my computer is write code or type out Unix commands.

In fact, about the only web browsing I do is Mac Rumors, Slashdot and a Harley-Davidson forum.



A computer without a network connection is worthless to me. The network connection is about as main a component as it gets in 2011. On another note, I could boot off iSCSI for all I care and have no hard drive at all in my machines. In fact, at work we essentially do that, no local storage at all, all done over the network (except there we have budget and run the stuff over a dual fabric FC SAN).



So you're assuming that everyone's needs is similar to your own then? I told you a single regular HDD is the biggest bottle neck of the main components that are required for the computer to run. Nothing you're describing is required hardware. Not to mention you're trying to defend your point, but describing your completely unique situation that you and about 1% of the population are in. Read any review on an SSD, almost every reviewer will tell you it was the single most significant improvement added to their computer. I'd bet $100 that you're not even coming close to capping the bandwidth speeds that your Network Connection is capable of. More than likely, you're reaching the cap of your VPN connection. And in the rare likely hood that you are... get a Dual Gigabit LAN connection like someone in your field should have in the first place.

Lesser Evets
May 27, 2011, 07:33 AM
I love watching the posters get twisted and confused over such reports.

This story is much ado about no too much. It seems some here forget that Apple is experimenting with Intel chips in Macs well, well before it dumped PPC out of necessity. ... if Apple goes ARM it will be with a specific purpose to strengthen the brand.

And there you go. The intelligent post of the day. Excellent.

ciTiger
May 27, 2011, 07:37 AM
We probably won t see an MBA on ARM this year and maybe not even the next but I sure am glad they are testing it...

wizard
May 27, 2011, 07:38 AM
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What about non Apple software on ARM cpu? would it need rosetta 2.0 ?

The ARM CPUs simply don't have the performance to emulate an i86 processor, especially considering that much of today's software is going 64 bit.

I'm still of the opinion that if Apple goes this route the machine will be an IOS device. The other point here is the phrase "better than expected" I'm certain the Apple engineers where not expecting much out of the experiment, so better than expected tells us nothing about how the platform performs under load. It could easily be ten times slower than a Sandy Bridge based AIR and still perform better than expected.

In any event I honestly think Apple would need another spin on it's "A" series processor to get performance up a bit. Not so much via clock rate but via more cores. It would not make any sense to loose the thermal advantage of low clock rates.

In the end I guess it depends upon ones personal needs. I find the current AIRs desirable but just a little to little performance wise so I don't see myself in the market for an ARM based AIR. t least not today where my light weight portable needs are handled pretty well by the iPad.

Speaking of iPad they could be using this machine for prototyping others iOS devices. An iPad with a slide out keyboard or a convertible tablet might be in the works. I don't care much for convertibles but an iPad with a programmable slide out key board would be interesting. How they would make it programmable and at the sometime more suitable for touch typing is a mystery. The reality is we don't know why this machine was built, it is likely one of hundreds of prototypes built every year.

M-O
May 27, 2011, 07:39 AM
Make it happen Apple!

aliensporebomb
May 27, 2011, 07:42 AM
Some of you don't have a very long memory.

The PPC to Intel was a huge pain for the userbase.

Those of us who had PowerMac G5s were sort of kicked to the curb when the Intel switch was announced. Two years after the switch the writing was on the wall that our stuff was not only obsolete but support for that machine in most software was quickly ushered out.

Another switch so soon? Ugh. I'd rather go off to the PC and Windows and be done with it rather than leaping architectures again anytime some incremental improvement in battery life appears.

My uses are power uses, not some "I need 12 hours of battery life so I can watch movies on my next transatlantic plane flight".

Now if the thing benches over 10,000 in geekbench and then still gets 12 hours of battery life I'd consider it but this "you need to rebuy all of your expensive pro apps every 5 years because Apple wants to make more money and inconvenience and fragment their userbase" forget it.

Plus, I discount the rumor: Thunderbolt is an Intel technology. They're not going to license it to run on an Arm processor even as a lab experiment since ARM would technically be considered a competitor.

Now there's no doubt there's oddball lab machines out there but if they go "yay, we're changing again". I can't say I'll be onboard this time. That PPC to Intel debacle was unbelievably annoying.

roadbloc
May 27, 2011, 07:44 AM
Some of you don't have a very long memory.

The PPC to Intel was a huge pain for the userbase.

Those of us who had PowerMac G5s were sort of kicked to the curb when the Intel switch was announced. Two years after the switch the writing was on the wall that our stuff was not only obsolete but support for that machine in most software was quickly ushered out.

Another switch so soon? Ugh. I'd rather go off to the PC and Windows and be done with it rather than leaping architectures again anytime some incremental improvement in battery life appears.

My uses are power uses, not some "I need 12 hours of battery life so I can watch movies on my next transatlantic plane flight".

Now if the thing benches over 10,000 in geekbench and then still gets 12 hours of battery life I'd consider it but this "you need to rebuy all of your expensive pro apps every 5 years because Apple wants to make more money and inconvenience and fragment their userbase" forget it.

Plus, I discount the rumor: Thunderbolt is an Intel technology. They're not going to license it to run on an Arm processor even as a lab experiment since ARM would technically be considered a competitor.

Now there's no doubt there's oddball lab machines out there but if they go "yay, we're changing again". I can't say I'll be onboard this time. That PPC to Intel debacle was unbelievably annoying.

+1. At last. Someone with sense. Apple would be stupid to go ahead with yet another chipset change. It would only drive away developers and customers.

wizard
May 27, 2011, 07:45 AM
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they might be testing it, but it won't be until a6 or a7 that a solid "desktop" system (as opposed to ios) can be built on arm. Anyone who thinks otherwise is clueless.

Exactly!!! The phrase "better than expected" in this context means nothing. Though I take it as implying that the engineers had very low expectations.

However this might be a suitable platform for those that find ATOM based notebooks usable. I'm not in that category so I will say this machine likely would not replace my iPad nor my Mac Book.

Bear
May 27, 2011, 07:47 AM
[In the following take A5 to mean A5 or other Arm processor.]

Switching to a new processor (like the PowerPC to Intel change) now and in the near future would hurt Apple more than it could help. Although I'm sure if it's done, it will be done with APple's usual polish.

On the other hand, what I can see an A5 powered Air being used for is as a machine for those who need a keyboard most of the time, but just need the type of apps found on iOS devices.

If Apple did introduce an A5 Air, they would need to still keep selling an Intel Air as well.

Now I can see the same types of applications being available for an A5 running Mac SO X that an A5 running Windows 8 would have. However, for Apple to totally switch to an A5, gaming companies would have to be on board with the switch or Apple could very well lose a number of customers.

Basically I see Arm based systems for low power portables whereas currently I see Intel based systems (including portables) for the users that need them. As ARM technology advances, this could and probably will change.

X38
May 27, 2011, 07:48 AM
Completely useless. The iPad can already work with an external keyboard. All that is needed is to give it the ability to work with a mouse or external trackpad (which already exists in the iOS SDK) and an app that mimics the OS/X Finder, which should be a pretty simple port. It shouldn't take more than a point update to iOS.

For anything that such an iPad configuration can't handle, an A5 based MacBook Air would do no better. For anything that it can handle, the iPad would still have a huge portability advantage and better integrated multi-touch interface for operating without a keyboard and trackpad when maximum portability is needed.

iSee
May 27, 2011, 07:49 AM
The only way I see this happening is if an A5 and x86 CPU are included.

The A5 uses low power and runs the core OS. Apple compiles apps that require low power but are often on -- browser, finder, email, etc for A5 and encourages others to do the same.

The x86 kicks in to execute x86 processes. It is good for apps that need the extra power.

Hm.... actually, this still doesn't make any sense.

Bear
May 27, 2011, 07:52 AM
Plus, I discount the rumor: Thunderbolt is an Intel technology. They're not going to license it to run on an Arm processor even as a lab experiment since ARM would technically be considered a competitor..Most of what you said was spot on. This part I have to disagree on. If Intel wants Thunderbolt to be an industry standard, then they need to license it to whomever wants to use it. No matter what processor will be in the system.

dodegy
May 27, 2011, 07:53 AM
Some of you don't have a very long memory.

Plus, I discount the rumor: Thunderbolt is an Intel technology. They're not going to license it to run on an Arm processor even as a lab experiment since ARM would technically be considered a competitor.



What about the rumor that Intel would be pleased to integrate other IPs to their CPU design as long as a Intel CPU is in it.

http://www.macrumors.com/2011/05/26/intel-expresses-interest-in-making-foundry-deals-to-produce-custom-chips/

Was just a few days ago!
The ARM CPU could also gain a big improvement considering Intel's manufacturing process…

And by the way Apple don't have to enforce a Platform transition. They could give the developer/user the decision which CPU to use. And begin by delivering OSX parts running on ARM.

This dual CPU is essentially the same situation we have with GPUs in high end systems.

maflynn
May 27, 2011, 07:54 AM
Some of you don't have a very long memory.

The PPC to Intel was a huge pain for the userbase.

I remember and I also remember the boost in market share because folks were buying Macs and loading windows on it. While we're only talking about one model. Its clear that moving towards a slower platform that's less compatible is a mistake.

iAppleseed
May 27, 2011, 07:56 AM
So, this is Mac OS X's Third Secret Life? :apple: 
If this is real, then OSx86 will be gone.

wizard
May 27, 2011, 07:56 AM
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Agree that full-blown Mac OS X needs more than just one A5 to run well. So maybe Apple could put two A5s in a MacBook Air and use Grand Central Dispatch to coordinate tasks among the 4 cores on the two chips.


my understanding is that gcd is open to developers to implement, if and when they can, but very few have implemented it, so to use a dual A5 scenario would take a lot of engineering, and it's just not ripe for compatibility issues as well.

I would say give it 1-2 years and then we can start talking about arm in macbooks.

Your understanding is wrong. GCD is widely used by the system and by developers. Sometimes it is leveraged through the NSOperation abstraction or other methods instead of calling low level GCD code directly.

This is almost as bad as the people that think OpenCL isn't being used in software development. Which is something I find to be funny because I'm seeing wide adoption. That is in areas where OpenCL makes sense. GCD on the otherhand can be used by most apps and is in one form or another.

Bear
May 27, 2011, 07:58 AM
Completely useless. The iPad can already work with an external keyboard. All that is needed is to give it the ability to work with a mouse or external trackpad (which already exists in the iOS SDK) and an app that mimics the OS/X Finder, which should be a pretty simple port. It shouldn't take more than a point update to iOS.Ahh yes, the external keyboard for an iPad... How well will that work on somebodies lap on a train? Sitting on a bench in a park?

An author would be a good example of someone who would use an A5 Air yet find an iPad to be cumbersome. Especially if an A5 Air costs noticeably less than an Intel Air.

One size doesn't fit all.

dagamer34
May 27, 2011, 07:59 AM
OS X isn't the problem, it's software. And the current suite of software out there right now is all either Universal binaries (x86 and PPC) or Intel-only. Rosetta only worked because the performance from the first Core Duo was a LOT faster than whatever PPC machines came before it, and even then it wasn't the best.

Apple already has an ARM machine running a variant of OS X, and it's call the iPad!

Mal
May 27, 2011, 08:00 AM
I don't doubt that Apple's been testing ARM processors in Macs, they've probably been doing that for years. Along with AMD, probably even some PPC chips still, and anything else that might maybe be viable at some point. Doesn't mean they're actually going to use them.

jW

Mr. Retrofire
May 27, 2011, 08:04 AM
...it's bad programming style anyway to rely on endiannness.

If the format of incoming data is big endian, and the software runs on a little endian platform, and uses data types larger than a byte, then it is necessary to convert the data. It has nothing to do with "bad programming style".

miknos
May 27, 2011, 08:07 AM
This topic is about performance vs consumption. ARM is improving performance and Intel is improving consumption. Who will reach the best balance first?

Take a look at iPad. It has an ARM ("slow") chip. Apps open instantly and run smoothly. What if Apple is working on a much improved OS? You don't see Apple advertising Mhz in iOS hardware.


My doubt is:

Is it possible to improve performance decreasing consumption? Maybe improved multi-tasking is the answer?

Mr. Retrofire
May 27, 2011, 08:08 AM
Apple already has an ARM machine running a variant of OS X, and it's call the iPad!

Wrong! They call it iPod touch! :eek:

:D & ;)

Rafterman
May 27, 2011, 08:08 AM
they might be testing it, but it won't be until a6 or a7 that a solid "desktop" system (as opposed to ios) can be built on arm. Anyone who thinks otherwise is clueless.

I hope you are right because an A5 now would mean the end of Apple as a serious player in the notebook business. Steve Jobs said that Apple would never build a netbook, but that's just what they would be doing with the A5.

KnightWRX
May 27, 2011, 08:09 AM
So you're assuming that everyone's needs is similar to your own then?

Nope, just pointing out that a SSD is only an advantage in a disk I/O heavy workflow. ;) Which was my initial and still is my point really. You went off on a tangeant about main computer components (again, network is as much a main component in today's boxes as HDDs) and assumptions about my own workflow.

dlewis23
May 27, 2011, 08:09 AM
Geekbench processor scores for lulz:
A5 (http://browse.geekbench.ca/geekbench2/view/417221) - 747
1.4 GHz Core 2 Duo (http://browse.geekbench.ca/geekbench2/view/408434) (Penryn) - 2255
1.4 GHz Core i5 (http://browse.geekbench.ca/geekbench2/view/413524) (Sandy Bridge)- 4519


Thats exactly why this wont happen. It would be a giant leap backwards.

Stingray454
May 27, 2011, 08:11 AM
Wrong! They call it iPod touch! :eek:

I hereby dub the new ARM laptop product line to LackBook :)

mygoldens
May 27, 2011, 08:12 AM
With Apple's innovation, I can imagine a dual processor Macbook, one A5, tremendous battery life running IOS apps and Intel for the hardcore apps.

This would be just like the dual graphic processor Macs.

Outstanding idea Apple if I am right!

I could have my Macbook Air and iPad all in one with a keyboard! :apple:

;)

I would be so happy!

DrJohnnyN
May 27, 2011, 08:13 AM
I hope you are right because an A5 now would mean the end of Apple as a serious player in the notebook business. Steve Jobs said that Apple would never build a netbook, but that's just what they would be doing with the A5.

Steve says a lot of things.

wizard
May 27, 2011, 08:13 AM
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This might sound dumb - can ARM run OS X? Or does this mean that the next MBA could be running iOS?

Arm can run many different OSes. As it is iOS has most of Mac OS low level features. The UNIX kernel and even some utilities are already there in iOS. In a nut shell iIS is Mac OS with a different face. The technical details go further but for now just consider iOS as a UNIX platform with a really restricted graphical system.

The other way to look at this is with respect to Mac OS/X running on older machines. Some of the older PPC machines where actually very slow Apple marketing not with standing. Once people got a taste of the Intel machines they didn't look back.

In any event I just don't see this making sense in an AIR, AIR needs to become more powerful not less powerful. Where it might make sense is in a Mac Book replacement that is targeted at the K thru 6 educational market. This would allow for a laptop that could run on a battery through out the school day. Even here though I'd worry about performance.

diamond.g
May 27, 2011, 08:14 AM
Does ARM support PCIe?

Mr. Retrofire
May 27, 2011, 08:16 AM
This is almost as bad as the people that think OpenCL isn't being used in software development.

http://cuetools.net/doku.php/flacuda

:D

caspersoong
May 27, 2011, 08:18 AM
This would only occur if the price were low enough to justify the poor performance, which I don't see coming from Apple. Or an amazing solution coming out in WWDC.

wizard
May 27, 2011, 08:20 AM
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Err... GCD can efficiently handle as many cores you can throw at it. Take a look at the dual processor 12-core Mac Pro.

yeah but how many os x software support it?:confused:

Almost all apps use GCD to one extent or another. The number of cores an app can leverage depends upon how the code is written and what the data models can support. Some apps are inherently single threaded but most can find some level of concurrancy.

I'm not sure where all your negativity with respect to GCD comes from. GCD provides one approach to leveraging modern hardware that works in hand with other approaches.

djrod
May 27, 2011, 08:27 AM
Aren't this things scallable? What if there is not only one A5 but 4 or more A5 working together...?

wizard
May 27, 2011, 08:28 AM
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Only QuickTime X to my knowledge as of right now but Final Cut Pro X will support it so I'd expect Apple's other apps to follow suit soon.

oh ok, as I expected. Actually I thought it was a bit better and that adobe where on the gcd bandwagon too (yeah right...). If the pro apps are switching to GCD now I think one can safely assume that most non pro apple apps will go to gcd in a couple of years, if ever, cause of course, I wouldnt think that adding e.g. gcd to mail.app would be something really productive and apple will be up for it.

My mind is totally blown! Do you guys actuall know what GCD is?

As to that Mail app you are whining about it got a fairly significant speed up when Snow Leopard was released. That was directly due to GCD being enabled in SL. Many apps that had used NSOperation prior to SL got a speed up with zero to little effort on the developers part when SL arrived. That again due to high level abstractions making use of GCD.

You guys seem to have jumped on this GCD is shlt bandwagon without having a clue as to it's usage. You really need to read up on things a bit.

frjonah
May 27, 2011, 08:33 AM
This sounds like it would resemble the performance of PC "Netbooks", which Apple has explicitly stated they don't want anything to do with. I agree 100% with those who say that, if this rumor is true, it was for purely experimental purposes and no implementation will be possible until ARM performance comes close to that of Intel with significantly lower power usage... otherwise, what's the draw (no pun intended).

Apple refused to do netbooks because they know that a poorly performing Apple branded device (i.e. poor/choppy video playback, constant "rainbow wheels", etc) is only going to hurt their reputation... they would gain nothing from this in the long run.

Dagless
May 27, 2011, 08:36 AM
This rumor is about MBA specifically and jumping to wild conclusions is your own problem.

Pardon? I think you're getting confused (much like in that discussion regarding games). I only said I wouldn't buy a MBA with an A5. What conclusions were I jumping to?

wizard
May 27, 2011, 08:38 AM
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I guess that starting with Lion, Apple will force Apps submitted to the Mac App Store to be compiled with LLVM and distributed in LLVM-IR format. Then the OS will JIT compile to the target processor. This would not only make the Apps mostly processor-independent, but also automatically make use of the most efficient instruction set for the target processor.

This might very well be where they are going. LLVM is one of the most interesting open source projects going with a lot of great brains behind it.

I do wonder if it is ready for prime time though. It would be a big jump for Apple. That and the lack of rumors or leaks has me thinking Lion won't get it. The other issue is with developers some whom might object to the distribution of IR code. This would eliminate the emulation problem though. Of course optimizing for a platform won't be easy this way.

newdeal
May 27, 2011, 08:38 AM
I called this a year ago, and yes Apple will eventually do it. It will run iOS not OSX its just a matter of getting iOS to be close enough to a desktop OS that it is acceptable...I think that will only take a year or two more. Then it will basically be an ipad with a real keyboard and a small mirrored LCD touchscreen instead of a trackpad so you don't have to touch on the vertical surface. In a laptop that thing would have days and days of battery life (but still no flash lol)

Scottological
May 27, 2011, 08:39 AM
Ahh yes, the external keyboard for an iPad... How well will that work on somebodies lap on a train? Sitting on a bench in a park?

An author would be a good example of someone who would use an A5 Air yet find an iPad to be cumbersome. Especially if an A5 Air costs noticeably less than an Intel Air.

One size doesn't fit all.

Correct. I'm a journalist and author and while I love the iPad for taking notes (yes, typing on the screen -- which isn't nearly as bad as everyone says it is) for long form writing I'd prefer a physical keyboard.

Perhaps these A5 MBA's are just a testing platform for a whole new class of notebook positioned below the Air. They're just using Air hardware -- or something that resembles Air hardware.

Scottological
May 27, 2011, 08:42 AM
This sounds like it would resemble the performance of PC "Netbooks", which Apple has explicitly stated they don't want anything to do with. I agree 100% with those who say that, if this rumor is true, it was for purely experimental purposes and no implementation will be possible until ARM performance comes close to that of Intel with significantly lower power usage... otherwise, what's the draw (no pun intended).

Apple refused to do netbooks because they know that a poorly performing Apple branded device (i.e. poor/choppy video playback, constant "rainbow wheels", etc) is only going to hurt their reputation... they would gain nothing from this in the long run.

There's a big difference between poor performance and low power, though. I wouldn't say the iPad has poor performance, but it certainly does last a long time on a single charge. Those Atom netbooks couldn't even play YouTube videos and were cheaply made. A theoretical ARM Air would almost be slotted north of $500.

realmike15
May 27, 2011, 08:43 AM
Nope, just pointing out that a SSD is only an advantage in a disk I/O heavy workflow. ;) Which was my initial and still is my point really. You went off on a tangeant about main computer components (again, network is as much a main component in today's boxes as HDDs) and assumptions about my own workflow.

We're not talking about you, we're talking about the OP who I quoted and you chimmed in on. So by talking about your own personal needs, who went off on a tangeant?

cgc
May 27, 2011, 08:45 AM
A5 Powerbooks next Tuesday! :apple:

Close enough to "G5 Powerbooks"...finally, eh?

Thomas2006
May 27, 2011, 08:51 AM
how come they 've not done it already, I am wondering...maybe they were waiting to establish a developers market place under their control first so they could enforce programming directives better.
Apple needs to get their ducks in a row first. Mac OS X and iOS have to share the same core functionality, the hardware has to be powerful enough, and Apple needs to get their apps (iLife, iWork) running on anything from an iPad to a dual, 8-core Mac Pro with hyper-threading. The minimum requirements to make this happens are:
iOS 5 and OS X "Lion"
1.5GHz, quad-core processor (at least for the MacBook Air)

More than likely, iOS and OS X "Lion" are going to be used for "testing" and we will not see an ARM processor on the Mac until the next OS update. Look what Apple has already done with/to iCal. To change the day/week/month view you used a slider, but now you press a button. UI elements could change based on the device it is on, so when an app is installed on a Mac you press buttons, but if it is installed on an i<device> then you use a slider. I can even see the same thing happening with input devices (fingers on screen, trackpad, keyboard, mouse, etc).

To make this a seamless as possible, Apple might combine iOS and OS X into one OS which would need Xcode 5 to create the binaries.

aarond12
May 27, 2011, 08:55 AM
Those Atom netbooks couldn't even play YouTube videos and were cheaply made.
I sprinkled a bit of Apple magic on my Dell Mini 9 netbook, allowing it to run Mac OS X. Not only can it play YouTube videos, it can play them full screen without dropping frames. Running Windows XP on the same netbook causes it to take about 3x longer to boot and YouTube videos drop frames like crazy.

It's all about the software. The hardware existed for a long time. I think Apple could do some amazing things with the combination of ARM and Mac OS X. Hell, if Microsoft can get Windows running on ARM (albeit poorly from the reports I heard), Apple can make OS X sing on ARM.

vincenz
May 27, 2011, 08:56 AM
Not excited about this at all. If they end up going this way for the MBA, they'll never have me as a customer. I'd stick with the MBP as long as it exists.

wizard
May 27, 2011, 08:57 AM
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I don't know all the technical challenges, but exactly how many "power users" buy a MacBook Air?

*Raises hand*. It's also my primary computer. Not all power users are about sheer CPU power. In my case, I use the shell and the Unix tools a lot. The MBA is plenty of computer for that.

I dabble some in graphics, but only when I make some websites/iOS stuff, I could do these graphics on my Pentium 2 333 mhz in Gimp if I really needed to (so it's not sweat for the MBA).

You aren't the only one! I've seen many posts from people using AIRs in advanced or demanding ways.

Personally I don't have an AIR (yet) but I'm tempted to replace my old 15" MBP with one. Being an old fart the biggest thing keeping me from doing so is the small screen followed by the lack of storage. These are things Apple could easily address in the future.

Sometimes people mix up the concepts here. A power user in my mind is anyone conversant with his machine and the tools required for whatever he is working on. Frankly there are not many power users out there with most people having a casual relationship with their machine.

Back in the day there where many HP calculator power users out there. That is a tiny device compared to the AIR but the same concept applies. For every one HP calculator power user there where tens of more casual users.

In the end the new AIRs are very capable. With a Sandy Bridge implementation they will simply attract more users.

RalfTheDog
May 27, 2011, 08:58 AM
There is no reason why ARM can't blow the doors off of X86. There is no reason why Intel might not be thinking of moving to an ARM based architecture.

X86 is getting old. It needs to die someday. Now is as good a time as any.

shanmugam
May 27, 2011, 09:02 AM
I think it will take 2 to 3 years to go ARM in any laptop with considerable performance and battery life.

Intel CPU is the expensive part in $999 MacBook Air (almost $250 to $300), I was surprised Apple gotta good discount on LV/ULV CPUs and making profits on the MBA (35% margin).

so this rumor is doing checkmate to Intel and see how the industry plays out in next 24 to 36 months.

of course these are prototypes are on the work to see how ARM performs in a laptop form

remember there was a rumor Samsung working on Desktop class ARM CPUs

give it a few years we will be there, not now :D

silentnite
May 27, 2011, 09:05 AM
This is a great idea for the A5 and what better way to this on a Macbook air. The only problem I see is a release date & what about pricing. Shouldn't it be a little less.

jkichline
May 27, 2011, 09:08 AM
Many people are speculating that the Macbook Air will ONLY run on the A5. But what if they add an A5 and offload things like audio/video playback or iOS apps to it? This could lower the Intel chip usage and increase battery life...

*LTD*
May 27, 2011, 09:11 AM
Many people are speculating that the Macbook Air will ONLY run on the A5. But what if they add an A5 and offload things like audio/video playback or iOS apps to it? This could lower the Intel chip usage and increase battery life...

Interesting point.

KnightWRX
May 27, 2011, 09:12 AM
We're not talking about you, we're talking about the OP who I quoted and you chimmed in on. So by talking about your own personal needs, who went off on a tangeant?

Re-read my initial post in reply to you. It talked only about the OP.

Bear
May 27, 2011, 09:13 AM
Many people are speculating that the Macbook Air will ONLY run on the A5. But what if they add an A5 and offload things like audio/video playback or iOS apps to it? This could lower the Intel chip usage and increase battery life...Or Apple could release an A5 Air as a new machine and not a replacement for the Intel Air.

The 2 different Air lines would be for different classes of users.

I do think it would need a name differentiation if they did have both.

reallynotnick
May 27, 2011, 09:13 AM
They were testing Intel processors since basically the first release of OS X, Apple wants to keep it's options open. If they made the switch to ARM it wouldn't be for another 2 years most likely

maflynn
May 27, 2011, 09:14 AM
There is no reason why ARM can't blow the doors off of X86.
Yes there is a reason why intel blows the door off of ARM based processors. They're orders of magnitude faster. ARM is great low powered mobile devices, not for desktop computing needs. How many cores does the typical ARM processor currently have 2? How many does the core i7 have with hyper-threading 8. Additionally Sandy Bridge has shown to be incredibly faster over the prior edition, never mind ARM based products.

NAG
May 27, 2011, 09:14 AM
Many people are speculating that the Macbook Air will ONLY run on the A5. But what if they add an A5 and offload things like audio/video playback or iOS apps to it? This could lower the Intel chip usage and increase battery life...

Seems more plausible. We'll see, if Apple does use the A5 in a Mac I'm sure they'll explain their reasoning well enough.

RalfTheDog
May 27, 2011, 09:19 AM
Yes there is a reason why intel blows the door off of ARM based processors. They're orders of magnitude faster. ARM is great low powered mobile devices, not for desktop computing needs. How many cores does the typical ARM processor currently have 2? How many does the core i7 have with hyper-threading 8. Additionally Sandy Bridge has shown to be incredibly faster over the prior edition, never mind ARM based products.

That is because current ARM based products are designed for low power not performance. My comment was that ARM has far better POTENTIAL performance than X86.

little.pm
May 27, 2011, 09:20 AM
This might sound dumb - can ARM run OS X? Or does this mean that the next MBA could be running iOS?

Darwin (which is the very low level core system of Mac OS X) runs on Intel Macs as well as on ARM iPod Touch/iPhone/iPad.

THe Darwin Mach Kernel is a key to make that possible.

So, the difference between Mac OS X and iOS is Cocoa on the Mac and Cocoa Touch on the iOS devices.

So, from that point it is possible to run Mac OS X on any iOS device (despite the occasional need to recompile some specially optimized parts / components for that very cpu).

A MacBook Air as a computing device for the most common tasks would not need more than an ARM CPU. But users with stronger needs would turn to the MacBook Pro's then anyway - as they already do.

But an ARM CPU gives tremendous battery life.

However, even if think this is interesting I still do believe, that Apple would prefer to have an ultra low energy consuming macbook air, which implies that they would need to change to a low energy display as well. (But, wheren't there already rumors about apple being interested in color OLED?)

If you don't play racing games or anything else with high speed moving graphics, then a macbook air with an OLED and an ARM CPU might be for you: read, write, draw - just what you'd do with a netbook.

But to be honest, where should such arm/oled macbook air be priced? Shouldn't be cheaper than an iPad but must be cheaper than the low end MacBook Pro. That sounds expensive then.

coldmack
May 27, 2011, 09:21 AM
Funny how you guy don't like it when Apple Head and purist speak the truth about Intel and desire something that isn't a dying dog, but once talk of an ARM Macbook Air comes up they seem to be all over it. To you guys I say eat a pie.

Now, on to the best news I have heard all week. If they can bring this out by next year, maybe just maybe we can make people forget about the dark history in time that will be known as the big Intel mistake.

wizard
May 27, 2011, 09:22 AM
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Plus, I discount the rumor: Thunderbolt is an Intel technology. They're not going to license it to run on an Arm processor even as a lab experiment since ARM would technically be considered a competitor..Most of what you said was spot on. This part I have to disagree on. If Intel wants Thunderbolt to be an industry standard, then they need to license it to whomever wants to use it. No matter what processor will be in the system.

Not to mention Apple will be implementing Thunderbolt on all sorts of devices. Many of those devices will have ARM or other processors embedded in them. Beyond that Apple would likely want to make sure third party developers have the chips available to them to make low cost accessories.

In this regard I would not be surprised to find a Thinderbolt port embedded right in the next "A" series processor from Apple. The ability to put Thunderbolt right into the SoC would be huge for Apple.

kdimitt
May 27, 2011, 09:23 AM
Funny how you guy don't like it when Apple Head and purist speak the truth about Intel and desire something that isn't a dying dog, but once talk of an ARM Macbook Air comes up they seem to be all over it. To you guys I say eat a pie.

Now, on to the best news I have heard all week. If they can bring this out by next year, maybe just maybe we can make people forget about the dark history in time that will be known as the big Intel mistake.

Could you explain to me how Intel was a mistake. I'm not attacking you, I honestly would like to hear your opinion.

maflynn
May 27, 2011, 09:24 AM
That is because current ARM based products are designed for low power not performance. My comment was that ARM has far better POTENTIAL performance than X86.

Perhaps but we're talking about a current ARM processor being used in an MBA and the implications of that, not some pie in the sky processor that doesn't exist.

Intel is not about to give up on the X86 instruction set, and given how they're still banging out faster and faster processors I don't see the need either.

coldmack
May 27, 2011, 09:25 AM
There is no reason why ARM can't blow the doors off of X86. There is no reason why Intel might not be thinking of moving to an ARM based architecture.

X86 is getting old. It and Intel needs to die someday. Today is as good a time as any.
Fixed!

wizard
May 27, 2011, 09:34 AM
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This is almost as bad as the people that think OpenCL isn't being used in software development.

http://cuetools.net/doku.php/flacuda

:D

Nice! This is another item I can reference when trying to combat the "no apps use OpenCL" BS. To put it mildly OpenCL is getting a lot of traction in industry.

The problem is many people have unrealistic expectations for GPU exploitation. GPUs are only useful when the task at hand works well sighing the structure of a GPU processor.

RalfTheDog
May 27, 2011, 09:36 AM
Could you explain to me how Intel was a mistake. I'm not attacking you, I honestly would like to hear your opinion.

Mind if I answer that one? Apple going to X86 was not a mistake, X86 currently has the best bang for the buck because a great deal of money is being dumped into making x86 fast. That is not to say X86 is not very flawed.

X86 is CISC based architecture with large numbers of slow executing instructions. X86 gets around this by translating all the CISC instructions into faster executing RISC instructions. This takes up big portions of the core. The translated instructions are also not as efficient as code that was originally written with the native instruction set.

Because ARM does not need the circuitry to translate CISC instructions to RISC, they have more room for cache as well as registers and instruction reordering and speculative execution (Just like the Texas court system). ARM also has the potential to run at much faster clock speeds than legacy X86.

It is perfectly reasonable to expect 64 core ARM chips running at a faster clock than X86 in the near future. It is also perfectly reasonable to expect that those chips will be designed and built by Intel.

weckart
May 27, 2011, 09:43 AM
I think this is just the ARM-Marklar Apple keeps in case the architecture ever becomes a viable alternative to x86. It might never see the light of day if Intel can keep Apple happy with the chip de jour.

powers74
May 27, 2011, 09:44 AM
This is pretty obvious.

It's be pretty cool it they could get two in there. Especially when the dual/quad comes out. A6? is A5 dual core? Can't remember.

Bonte
May 27, 2011, 09:45 AM
This could be the first Mac that only works with applications from the app-store, the Mac that isn't a truck.

kdimitt
May 27, 2011, 09:45 AM
Mind if I answer that one? Apple going to X86 was not a mistake, X86 currently has the best bang for the buck because a great deal of money is being dumped into making x86 fast. That is not to say X86 is not very flawed.

X86 is CISC based architecture with large numbers of slow executing instructions. X86 gets around this by translating all the CISC instructions into faster executing RISC instructions. This takes up big portions of the core. The translated instructions are also not as efficient as code that was originally written with the native instruction set.

Because ARM does not need the circuitry to translate CISC instructions to RISC, they have more room for cache as well as registers and instruction reordering and speculative execution (Just like the Texas court system). ARM also has the potential to run at much faster clock speeds than legacy X86.

It is perfectly reasonable to expect 64 core ARM chips running at a faster clock than X86 in the near future. It is also perfectly reasonable to expect that those chips will be designed and built by Intel.

I appreciate the response, so I assume ARM is less speedy then x86 due to its lack of attention to development? It sounds entirely more efficient design wise. I know ARM is known for it's battery life capabilities, will speeding that up compromise it's battery potential?

Great addition about the Texas court system, couldn't stop laughing.

Carlanga
May 27, 2011, 09:46 AM
couldn't this just be an extra processor (A5) to run the iOS apps or something in that style.

SilentCrs
May 27, 2011, 09:50 AM
But you dont have photoshop or flash on the Ipad.

And nothing of value was lost.

bdkennedy1
May 27, 2011, 09:51 AM
So I was close....

http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?p=12637076&highlight=#post12637076

RalfTheDog
May 27, 2011, 09:53 AM
Perhaps but we're talking about a current ARM processor being used in an MBA and the implications of that, not some pie in the sky processor that doesn't exist.

Intel is not about to give up on the X86 instruction set, and given how they're still banging out faster and faster processors I don't see the need either.

The first step to building an OS based around the next generation of ARM is to get it running on the current generation. As to Intel, if they could get 16 times the performance or more for less cost, they would be morons not to move to a better architecture.

I appreciate the response, so I assume ARM is less speedy then x86 due to its lack of attention to development? It sounds entirely more efficient design wise. I know ARM is known for it's battery life capabilities, will speeding that up compromise it's battery potential?

Great addition about the Texas court system, couldn't stop laughing.

If you ramp up clock speed, add more cores or more cache, you will increase power consumption. That is not to say, high performance RISC will not use less power than a CISC chip of the same performance.

realmike15
May 27, 2011, 09:55 AM
Re-read my initial post in reply to you. It talked only about the OP.

Your initial post said he was most likely using disk intensive applications, which is not the case and not why he saw an improvement. The reason he saw an improvement was the read/write speeds between a regular HDD vs an SSD. It's pretty simple. Just about every program accesses the HDD when you launch it, and many continue to access it after the application has launched. This is where he's seeing the improvement. It has nothing to do with a program having heavy disk usage, moderate disk usage, or even light disk usage.

wizard
May 27, 2011, 09:58 AM
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3_3 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8J2 Safari/6533.18.5)

Just because this prototype was built on an AIR it does not mean that is where the final eager platform will be. Going to ARM on an AIR would simply result in to many lost customers.

However let's imagine that Apple was to target the low end education market aggressively. An ARM based laptop would allow them to place a laptop with extremely long battery life into a glass room very cheaply. The end product might very well be a MacBook though I think it is more likely to be an iOS device. IOS devices are great for the k-6 market as the administrative costs would be low and the machines can be easily locked down. The trouble with iOS of course being the touch screen interface

In this market performance wouldn't be an issue. Even then a laptop likely could support a hotter running processor though a fanless machine if preferrable. If Apple can do this for $400 a crack there will be lots of interest.

In any event I agree with the many here, AIR needs more powerful hardware not less powerful.

MrCrowbar
May 27, 2011, 10:02 AM
I could sorta see some kind of hybrid where the core OS and all Apple supplied software runs on the A5 so you could be editing your Keynote presentation, surf the web, write your E-Mails etc. on the power saving chips. For photoshop, video/audio editing, or games, it could switch on the Intel CPU (and a real GPU other than the one on the G5) and run under some sort of compatibility mode.

Sort of how Intel Macs can run PPC programs using rosetta. Let's face it, most consumers only run rudimentary applications on their shiny Apple laptops and would love it if they had double the runtime on the same battery.

KnightWRX
May 27, 2011, 10:02 AM
It has nothing to do with a program having heavy disk usage, moderate disk usage, or even light disk usage.

Yes it does. If your program is only sustaining 10 MB/sec of read/write I/O, then a normal HDD is plenty and you won't see a difference with a SSD. ;)

Again, you're reading way too much into this. I simply pointed out that he saw the improvement because in his case, he had a workflow based around disk I/O, which does not apply to everyone.

You're going off on a tangeant again btw. We're saying the same thing, you're just applying the "SSD is best!" in a more general sense and I'm simply realistically looking at SSD advantages and not claiming it's a miracle cure.

Xenomorph
May 27, 2011, 10:08 AM
That is because current ARM based products are designed for low power not performance. My comment was that ARM has far better POTENTIAL performance than X86.

Aren't there companies selling big servers with like 256 ARM CPUs?

I think I've read stuff that said ARM is *far* more powerful than x86 per watt.

So if a typical x86 CPU is 10 times more powerful than an ARM CPU, you could put ten ARM CPUs in a small box, get the same performance as the x86 CPU, yet still use *less* power than the x86 CPU.

Maybe the A5-based MacBook Air is like a 16-core ARM or something.

Also, is A4/A5 the name for ARM+PowerVR specifically, or just ARM+Graphics? Couldn't Apple load these with ARM + NVidia GPUs? That would help a lot.

macnews
May 27, 2011, 10:09 AM
7 pages so not enough time to read through all 7 but even if it was posted before, it warrants posting again:

Apple made test intel machines before they moved, and KNEW they would be moving, to intel. Apple isn't stupid and hedging their bets. This might see the light of day and may not. Just because they made it doesn't mean it will come to pass.

realmike15
May 27, 2011, 10:13 AM
Yes it does. If your program is only sustaining 10 MB/sec of read/write I/O, then a normal HDD is plenty and you won't see a difference with a SSD. ;)

Again, you're reading way too much into this. I simply pointed out that he saw the improvement because in his case, he had a workflow based around disk I/O, which does not apply to everyone.

Every application you launch uses the disk... anything that's not already in memory uses the disk. Anyone who uses Photoshop regularly is going to notice it opening in 3 seconds rather than 10 seconds. I get the feeling you don't understand what disk heavy is, because these are not disk heavy applications. Anything you launch is at least partially loaded into RAM, that's accessing the disk right there. Therefore anything that accesses the disk for more than 50MB is going to be noticeably more responsive. Any feature within the program that you click that has to access the disk will be faster, page filing is used quite frequently since not everything can be loaded into RAM... this another feature where the SSD gain an advantage. Boot times increase. I could go on and on all day, but it's come to my attention that you just like to breeze over facts I'm throwing at you because you're someone who just can't admit to being wrong. So I'm not going to bother anymore.

KnightWRX
May 27, 2011, 10:17 AM
So I don't know why I bother.

I know all that (how applications work, you do understand that as a sysadmin, this is part of my work), that is not what he was claiming though. You bother because you don't want to admit you were wrong in your generalization. ;)

Launching applications is a very small part of one's workflow.

realmike15
May 27, 2011, 10:19 AM
I know all that (how applications work, you do understand that as a sysadmin, this is part of my work), that is not what he was claiming though. You bother because you don't want to admit you were wrong in your generalization. ;)

Launching applications is a very small part of one's workflow.

The point is where he noticed the difference. That's one of the first things people notice, boot times, and launch times. But I'm sure in your world PFing isn't used much either. :rolleyes:

Funny how almost every review out there says SSD's are one of the single greatest improvements to computers in the last decade. But according to you, it's only for those who use really disk heavy applications. You obviously know something the rest of us don't.

toddybody
May 27, 2011, 10:22 AM
At least it's not an Intel Atom :rolleyes:

motodc
May 27, 2011, 10:24 AM
I get why this is sexy, but another CPU change will be painful for developers, and not to mention painful for customers of those developers.

We run a business on Macs. We had to wait for custom drivers for hardware. It was painful enough to wait for these to be developed. A processor change will create a whole world of hurt in these spaces.

I hope Apple continues along the x86 architecture for Mac OS.

Gemütlichkeit
May 27, 2011, 10:32 AM
I'm for whatever one works.. if it consumes less power but still let's me do the day to day tasks, I'm for it.

deputy_doofy
May 27, 2011, 10:33 AM
7 pages so not enough time to read through all 7 but even if it was posted before, it warrants posting again:

Apple made test intel machines before they moved, and KNEW they would be moving, to intel. Apple isn't stupid and hedging their bets. This might see the light of day and may not. Just because they made it doesn't mean it will come to pass.

Exactly. In fact, just because this is the first we're hearing about it doesn't mean this is their first machine of this nature. Apple is VERY smart about these things...

Val-kyrie
May 27, 2011, 10:35 AM
As much as I do not want to see another architectural shift, there is a distinct possibility that this rumor is true.

Some of you don't have a very long memory.

The PPC to Intel was a huge pain for the userbase.

Those of us who had PowerMac G5s were sort of kicked to the curb when the Intel switch was announced. Two years after the switch the writing was on the wall that our stuff was not only obsolete but support for that machine in most software was quickly ushered out.

Another switch so soon? Ugh. I'd rather go off to the PC and Windows and be done with it rather than leaping architectures again anytime some incremental improvement in battery life appears.

My uses are power uses, not some "I need 12 hours of battery life so I can watch movies on my next transatlantic plane flight".

Now if the thing benches over 10,000 in geekbench and then still gets 12 hours of battery life I'd consider it but this "you need to rebuy all of your expensive pro apps every 5 years because Apple wants to make more money and inconvenience and fragment their userbase" forget it.

Plus, I discount the rumor: Thunderbolt is an Intel technology. They're not going to license it to run on an Arm processor even as a lab experiment since ARM would technically be considered a competitor.

Now there's no doubt there's oddball lab machines out there but if they go "yay, we're changing again". I can't say I'll be onboard this time. That PPC to Intel debacle was unbelievably annoying.

I do remember the transition, especially because I was looking to switch from Windows to OS X at the time but when the Intel transition was announced, I refused to purchased the PPC machines and I had a hunch that the 32-bit Intel chips were a mere stop-gap. (Isn't Lion going 64-bit only?) Thus I was left dangling on Windows for another two years before I was willing to jump to OS X.

However, I am willing to bet that Apple will transition to ARM, much to my chagrin, for the following reasons:
1) Win 8 will run on ARM (http://windows8news.com/2011/01/05/windows-8-arm-press-release-microsoft/). It is slated for release in 2012 or 2013. Apple and Microsoft are no longer engaged in an OS war (if SJ is to be believed), and I would not doubt that both have discussed the possibility of using ARM-based hardware. Is it just coincidence that MS has ported Win 8 to ARM and now Apple appears to be testing OS X on ARM?

2) ARM processors are going to get much faster and are going to gain more cores. According to a recent article (http://www.tested.com/news/arm-plans-2012-release-for-cortex-a15-chip-platform/2211/):

"ARM expects to ship dual-core Cortex-A15 SoCs in 2012 . . . the company predicts devices running on the 2.5GHz Cortex-A15 will actually reach store shelves before the end of 2012, with quad-core variants showing up in 2013."

The article mentions that the A15 is expected to perform at a level five fold that of the A9 chip and does state that the "quad-core SoCs expected for 2013 [are] geared towards tablets rather than phones," but Apple now appears to be interested in this technology for its future computers. Consequently, current analysis of A5 processors to current Intel chips is irrelevant with regard to Apple's future plans.

Geekbench processor scores for lulz:
A5 (http://browse.geekbench.ca/geekbench2/view/417221) - 747
1.4 GHz Core 2 Duo (http://browse.geekbench.ca/geekbench2/view/408434) (Penryn) - 2255
1.4 GHz Core i5 (http://browse.geekbench.ca/geekbench2/view/413524) (Sandy Bridge)- 4519


Ivy Bridge will support OpenCL on the IGP.

Based on the article I cited and these scores, the A15 may deliver equivalent performance or even outperform Ivy Bridge and its successors. We will have to wait to see. Again, though, is it coincidence that MS is porting Win 8 to ARM in 2012/2013 and that much more advanced ARM chips are arriving in 2012/2013 or is this indicative of a larger trend?

3) As pointed out, Intel seems open to fabbing custom chips, and even seems willing to fab ARM chips.

What about the rumor that Intel would be pleased to integrate other IPs to their CPU design as long as a Intel CPU is in it.

http://www.macrumors.com/2011/05/26/intel-expresses-interest-in-making-foundry-deals-to-produce-custom-chips/

Was just a few days ago!
The ARM CPU could also gain a big improvement considering Intel's manufacturing process….

4) Apple's emphasis on Cocoa.(?)

The cool thing is Cocoa is so portable, that any Cocoa app will run perfectly on ARM with no extra coding required. Just a quick recompile. Pretty awesome. :apple:

I do not understand much about programming, but if the above quote is accurate, then Apple appears to be laying the foundation for a shift to ARM.

5) Apple has already re-written certain of its programs (e.g., iWork, iMovie) for ARM via the iPad. I have not used these apps (yet), so I do not know if they are as full-feature as their X86 counterparts (probably not), but it may represent the beginning of an experiment for Apple.

I personally dread the thought of another transition, but I wonder if this leak isn't intentional in order to provide Apple with advanced feedback without any commitment, much like the leak of the Intel transition the weekend before it was announced. I am a little more skeptical that such a transition would occur this year, but I could see a transition as early as next year (4Q?) depending upon the state of the development of ARM processors. However, I think the key to any transition is WWDC. If this transition will occur with Lion, it will be announced then. Otherwise, the soonest I would expect this transition would be the subsequent OS (after Lion).

xraydoc
May 27, 2011, 10:43 AM
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_2_8 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8E401 Safari/6533.18.5)

I haven't read all the posts but I call BS. I don't believe there is any way to graft Thunderbolt, which is an extension of the PCIe bus, on to an ARM platform/SoC. No way.

While an ARM-based Mac may be possible, it's not going to run TB any time soon.

lilo777
May 27, 2011, 10:51 AM
At least it's not an Intel Atom :rolleyes:

Yeah. Even those are faster than A5. So, Apple finally comes to its senses and decides to release a netbook (the magic one, I know).

meecect
May 27, 2011, 10:59 AM
they would convert the appletv into a standalone, cheap computer. Maybe sell it with a wireless keyboard/magic track pad compo for 149.99

They have all the iOS apps they need, like mobile safari/mail/imovie/iwork, etc.

It would be a great basic machine for a lot of people. Throw in cloud storage and you got yourself a winner.

rdlink
May 27, 2011, 11:05 AM
That's because the Air has an SSD. Throw an SSD in your old Core2Duo MacBook Pro and the MBP would be faster. I can understand if you prefer the Air, it's very portable... but it ain't faster than an '09 MacBook Pro. It's the SSD that's making the difference.

I get that, and I almost bought the SSD for the MBP. But at the end of the day the longer battery life, and smaller form factor also came into play. That's why I said that the MBA is the best computer I've ever owned. Overall, I find it much more functional than my MBP for my needs.

0815
May 27, 2011, 11:06 AM
I get why this is sexy, but another CPU change will be painful for developers, and not to mention painful for customers of those developers.

We run a business on Macs. We had to wait for custom drivers for hardware. It was painful enough to wait for these to be developed. A processor change will create a whole world of hurt in these spaces.

I hope Apple continues along the x86 architecture for Mac OS.

If it is just a architecture change without changes of the API it won't be that painful for (most) developers - should be (for most) as easy as firing up xcode and recompile with the latest compiler that creates Universial binaries. Yes, probably different for really hardware related stuff (but for the target group of an arm based MBA there shouldn't be too much need for that)

It might be painful for the user to wait until the developer of their favorite app gets around to recompiled ... Not sure how good/fast a intel-rosetta environment would work on the arm processor.

Yamcha
May 27, 2011, 11:08 AM
I don't understand where Apple is going with this, the ARM we've seen so far is no where powerful enough to be in a mainstream laptop, unless Apple has plans to bring iOS to the a more of a laptop platform, maybe Apple plans on having Macbook Air run iOS, if thats the case then it's fine, but I don't think that it can ever replace a desktop or even a low end Intel laptop..

Marx55
May 27, 2011, 11:10 AM
Hopefully not! Did Apple learn from the PowerPC fiasco? An x86 chip is a must for compatibility across the Mac line and with the windoze world (read Microsoft Office). Or else, it will be the end of the Mac.

0815
May 27, 2011, 11:16 AM
Could you explain to me how Intel was a mistake. I'm not attacking you, I honestly would like to hear your opinion.

I was wondering the same thing. In addition to the intel processores being great processors I think one thing many people underestimate is that many people switched to mac because of the intel processor. I was most of my live in the windows only world. When Apple came out with intel processores, I decided to give MacOS a try. I always wanted to try them, but didn't want to get stuck with MacOS (and a machine that can't run anything else) in case I hate it or can't do what I need to do. The Intel processor gave me a nice backup solution: I always could turn it in a windows box if needed. Well, turns out I stopped using the Virtual Machine after 3 month and never looked back to my windows days and enjoyed MacOS. I know from many others that tried Macs (knowing that have an easy backup plan)

So hope is that ARM is just an additional option for the 'low end'/'ultra portable' machines - but they will keep the intel options too.

bearcatrp
May 27, 2011, 11:29 AM
Looks like the writing is on the wall if this actually happens. Give iOS to consumers and sell the power of OSX to companies with deep pockets. I guess intel can shrink a die only so much so bring in a new platform. I figured the mini would have been the test bunny with iOS but guess apple figured differently. Only time will tell how this plays out. Part of the cloud computing coming our way.

KnightWRX
May 27, 2011, 11:32 AM
1) Win 8 will run on ARM (http://windows8news.com/2011/01/05/windows-8-arm-press-release-microsoft/). It is slated for release in 2012 or 2013. Apple and Microsoft are no longer engaged in an OS war (if SJ is to be believed), and I would not doubt that both have discussed the possibility of using ARM-based hardware. Is it just coincidence that MS has ported Win 8 to ARM and now Apple appears to be testing OS X on ARM?

Yes, it is. Microsoft's plan for Windows 8 on ARM is very much a OS for tablets, seeing how the current tablet FAD is going.

A lot of your speculation is based on Windows 8 on ARM. A lot of it is thus based on a flawed premise : That Windows 8 on ARM is somehow for anything other than just tablets.

FroMann
May 27, 2011, 11:33 AM
This sounds like a great idea for a portable computer like the MacBook Air, but please keep it out of the iMac, Mac Pro, and MacBook Pro.

Thomas2006
May 27, 2011, 11:38 AM
Apple made test intel machines before they moved, and KNEW they would be moving, to intel. Apple isn't stupid and hedging their bets. This might see the light of day and may not. Just because they made it doesn't mean it will come to pass.
When Steve announced the Intel transition, he said OS X was designed to be CPU agnostic so they can switch without much difficulty. Steve is not all about PowerPC/Intel/ARM/MIPS/whatever, he is all about user experience.

theosib
May 27, 2011, 12:07 PM
That Apple would have full OSX builds for ARM should be obvious. They were making sure OSX always ran on x86 from the start, long before they seriously undertook making the transition. It's perfectly sensible for them to have a prototype ARM-based notebook machine that runs OSX.

Then there's the idea of releasing hardware. First, they have a good relationship with Intel, and they need Intel chips for high-performance systems. It's going to be a long time before any ARM processor can hit the performance levels offered by Intel chips. And with Intel's new 22nm FinFET process, they're leaping ahead in silicon efficiency. Since they need x86 for their high end machines, it's unlikely they'll want to deviate for their low-end laptops. It's one thing to design a whole new platform, there the iPad has a completely different type of UI and therefore requires completely reengineered apps. But for notebooks and above, with keyboards and trackpad, they're going to want to retain software compatibility.

That being said, Intel is keen on putting x86 cores on SoCs. There's no reason an ARM core couldn't be integrated on the same die. ARM binaries would execute on the ARM core(s), and x86 binaries would run on the x86 core. The kernel would be hybrid, with mostly ARM code, and so would all the built-in apps and low-level facilities. So things like Finder, Keynote, Quartz, SystemUIServer, etc. would all be ARM code. Any app that's either legacy or requires higher performance (e.g. Final Cut Pro or Garage Band) would be x86, requiring that the x86 core be woken up for those tasks.

A little care would have to be taken with IPC protocols to make sure that processes on each architecture can communicate properly. For instance, Safari 64-bit uses a 32-bit process wrapper for Flash. On the hybrid system, Safari ARM would use an x86 32-bit wrapper for Flash. Moreover, Safari itself might be a hybrid app, where the UI decorations and stuff and much of the DOM system would run on ARM, while the Javascript would JIT for x86 or dynamically for either architecture, depending on the compute demand of the Javascript code.

whooleytoo
May 27, 2011, 12:08 PM
If I could switch into a very low usage state (like an iPad only running one app) and get 10+ hours of battery, that would be awesome. (Plus a backlit keyboard)

Interesting idea! I wonder if Apple could/would offer dual CPUs. Apple already employs a high-power/low-power GPU pairing in the MBPs, but I'd imagine doing so with dual Intel & ARM CPUs would be massively more complex, given the architecture differences.

jasonxneo
May 27, 2011, 12:15 PM
But you dont have photoshop or flash on the Ipad.

Thats right!!!! flash is a great addition to any computer!!!

MagnusVonMagnum
May 27, 2011, 12:20 PM
Maybe just an A5 for graphics and openCL purposes since A5 are fully (CPU and GPU) compatible with the standard where Intel current designs only support openCL on the CPU.

Yes, because we all know how useful OpenCL has been to most people thus far. :rolleyes:

They tested it, maybe.

And discovered that it wouldn’t run anything :o

Well, that’s what testing is for :)


They found it runs iPad apps just fine. Look at how the iPad is selling. It shouldn't be a shock that Apple might be thinking that a cheaper Macbook Air running iOS instead of OSX might just sell like hotcakes.

I know I don't like having an exposed screen when carrying something that big around. A clamshell lid/screen with keyboard and protection against scratches, etc. would be quite a boon to some, especially if it cost about the same price as an iPad. The Macbook Air may become the new "Netbook" solution from Apple. It's already been on a downward cost trend. This will simply be iPad + keyboard/trackpad/lid.

aliensporebomb
May 27, 2011, 12:21 PM
All I know is that they may decide to go this route but unless there is a huge advantage by doing it (greatly increased power savings with greatly increased processor performance) it seems odd they would pursue this route.

It makes sense for the IOS devices - but even if they introduce a quadcore 2.5 ghz chip, well, my iMac already has a 45 nanometer 2.8 ghz quadcore chip that can on the fly auto-overclock itself to 3.48 ghz and also can hyperthread and perform as an eight core chip in cases where the software was written to take advantage of doubly threaded processes.

So, if ARM can beat that - say double 2.5 ghz or double quadcore motherboard on a super small 22 nanometer fabbing with faux 12 or 24 core capability with the power draw of an average laptop maybe it would be worth it.

It will be interesting that's for sure.

macfrik
May 27, 2011, 12:21 PM
Bear me with this one,

Apple is losing its creativity overtime. iPad 3, iPhone 5, New MacBook Pro every year, new revamped iPod every October every year.

Now, they are putting A5 chips on MacBook Air. Seems like a rip-off to me :)

gnasher729
May 27, 2011, 12:30 PM
It might be painful for the user to wait until the developer of their favorite app gets around to recompiled ... Not sure how good/fast a intel-rosetta environment would work on the arm processor.

Not well at all. It was fine for PowerPC->x86 because the x86 was the faster processor; an x86 at twice the speed runs PowerPC code written for a processor of half the speed just fine. If you moved from 1.4 GHz G4 single core to 1.83 GHz Core Duo your PowerPC code ran about as fast as before. Moving to ARM would be moving to a much slower processor; your x86 code would run quite badly.


I appreciate the response, so I assume ARM is less speedy then x86 due to its lack of attention to development? It sounds entirely more efficient design wise. I know ARM is known for it's battery life capabilities, will speeding that up compromise it's battery potential?

The market for ARM processors is low power, not-too-high performance devices, and it does very well at what it is designed to do. First I think ARM chips are running nowhere near the speed limit for a mostly unchanged device, but increasing the clock speed would mean much higher power consumption (double clock speed = four times the power, roughly). Intel has been working very hard to extract as many instructions per cycle as possible from their chips; that is hard work and uses up immense amount of transistors and therefore power. No doubt ARM could be changed to execute more instructions per cycle, but that would be lots of design work, lots of transistors, lots of power.

On the other hand, ARM processors are tiny and dirt cheap. I think it would be not too difficult to make an eight core design that is quite powerful when needed, with most of the cores powered down most of the time to save battery life.

Mac Heretic
May 27, 2011, 12:44 PM
If they do make a portable computer, that has as good form factor as my current Air, has an operating system that I can use with my current production software plus some more, not needing paying twice for that software, I could be interested. Otherwise, I couldn't care less for their "new exciting stuff".

gpolk50
May 27, 2011, 12:54 PM
This has to be some sort of hybrid Macbook/iPad device--there's absolutely no way that an iPad CPU can power a fully functional laptop. Now if you flipped the Macbook screen around to be flush with the back and it turned INTO an iPad...

KnightWRX
May 27, 2011, 12:58 PM
This has to be some sort of hybrid Macbook/iPad device--there's absolutely no way that an iPad CPU can power a fully functional laptop.

Laptop CPUs weren't all that powerful back 8-10 years ago, yet we had full desktop environnments and did a lot of stuff with our computers.

Computing power has grown tremendously, but demand for such power grows at a much smaller pace. Computer hardware is pretty overpowered these days for most of what people want to do with computers.

tmuller
May 27, 2011, 01:00 PM
And I'll have to disagree with you. Industry standard on what? X86? Yes. Not ARM. Thunderbolt will not be on a ARM based system, regardless of what you think, unless they get some licensing in on the deal.

Most of what you said was spot on. This part I have to disagree on. If Intel wants Thunderbolt to be an industry standard, then they need to license it to whomever wants to use it. No matter what processor will be in the system.

segfaultdotorg
May 27, 2011, 01:02 PM
I wish they would bring back the backlit keyboard.

mganai
May 27, 2011, 01:18 PM
Please Apple, I think I can speak for all of us when I demand a 15" Air if you won't be shrinking the Pro (that is, nixing the SuperDrive once and for all and going over to SSD). That won't happen with ARM.

Mac Heretic
May 27, 2011, 01:22 PM
Laptop CPUs weren't all that powerful back 8-10 years ago, yet we had full desktop environnments and did a lot of stuff with our computers.

Computing power has grown tremendously, but demand for such power grows at a much smaller pace. Computer hardware is pretty overpowered these days for most of what people want to do with computers.

It is. In theory we could do with less indeed. HD video editing, image filtering, movie conversions, sound sampling, those all are tasks which require data packaging and can use computing power Many but not all people do that. But even the most basic software and operating system UI's are pretty demanding nowadays. Who knows if the reason for that is sloppy coding or cross-platform developer tools, but f.ex. 7 years old G4 would honestly be pretty bad to drive anything "modern", for the most of the people.

Yes, one could use an archaic user interface, but there is some reason, why people do not do their jobs with Emacs and Lynx any more. How essential those jobs or "updated convience "are for daily surviving is another matter. The more important matter is, one could use old software, but he would be out of sync with "the new world "in no time (browsers, banks and other services...) I am not saying, that everybody should buy the latest stuff, I am using relatively old computers myself, but there is a limit how far behind I can stay. Modern, supported software is the most important thing. And I like usability improvements too.

KnightWRX
May 27, 2011, 01:33 PM
I think that it is precicely people's need and expectations which have grown. HD video editing, image filtering, movie conversions, sound sampling, those all are tasks which require data packaging and can use computing power.

Niche use.

Even the most basic software and operating system UI's are pretty demanding nowadays.

GPU based compositing.

Yes, one could use an archaic user interface, but there is some reason, why people do not do their jobs with Emacs and Lynx any more. How essential those jobs or "updated convience "are for daily surviving is another matter.


Interfaces have not change. Eye candy has, but then again, those are based off the GPU and are just compositing effects. The CPU is not hit hard at all for interface effects.

Mac Heretic
May 27, 2011, 01:44 PM
Niche use.
...
GPU based compositing.
...
Interfaces have not change. Eye candy has, but then again, those are based off the GPU and are just compositing effects. The CPU is not hit hard at all for interface effects.

You have a good point there. Now, when I think about it, that could be the reason, why GPU power is preferred instead of CPU power nowadays. Power consumption seems to be tha main target for CPU development. Which is not bad thing. 95 Watt cpus with massive cooling system are ridiculous nowadays. Major inconvenience, that extra heat and size and a bill.

MacTheSpoon
May 27, 2011, 02:44 PM
If that ran a version of OSX that let me install my normal desktop applications I'd be all for it, even if it were less powerful--assuming it also significantly boosted battery life. The battery life and the glossy screen were the only things keeping me from an 11" MBA. Well, I guess the screen opening angle wasn't ideal for me, either. Still, this would be progress!

hglk
May 27, 2011, 02:51 PM
http://www.freescale.com/webapp/sps/site/prod_summary.jsp?code=i.MX515

There are already laptops with ARM processors. If I read Correctly.

stevep
May 27, 2011, 03:47 PM
This is all about the future, so all those who are saying 'no way, an Arm chip is nowhere near fast enough' have completely missed the point:

Sales of desktops - going down
Sales of mobile devices (android and iOS devices) - going up
Cloud computing - on the increase
- along with a host of other changes like Google apps, increase in the use of social networking sites for businesses, the widespread acceptance of on-line purchasing of music, films and apps and the huge numbers of developers who are producing worthwhile and useful apps for smart phones and tablets.

Given that background, and the task of designing the computer that will be the 'next big thing' who in their right minds would start with an x86 chip and a damn big box?

The nature of computing is changing and we will all be using them differently in 5 years time. An Arm powered Apple laptop will just be a small part of that change. If you look at the way Apple sorted out their music business (ie creating an infrastructure based on the iPod, digital music files and the iTunes Store) my guess is that they are heading toward a similar setup - not just an Arm powered Air but a complete infrastructure which includes cloud storage, the App store and an integrated iOS/OS X.

It's not about Arm vs Intel. It's about what will happen in the future. Intel may decide to become part of it if they can get their act together (they've already admitted they've missed the mobile computing boat, despite having the capability to fab Arm processors - they even hold some Arm licenses for gawds sake).

MattInOz
May 27, 2011, 04:51 PM
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_2_8 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8E401 Safari/6533.18.5)

I haven't read all the posts but I call BS. I don't believe there is any way to graft Thunderbolt, which is an extension of the PCIe bus, on to an ARM platform/SoC. No way.

While an ARM-based Mac may be possible, it's not going to run TB any time soon.

There are arm CPU with PCIe buses. So no problem there.
Remember one PA semi specialties was switch chips for PCIe networks.
They had extensive knowledge of tying PCIe to low power processors.

If anyone can got thunderbolt to work on Arm it's those guys. I say this in past tense as I assumed this happen many months ago but not publicly.

lilo777
May 27, 2011, 05:41 PM
http://www.freescale.com/webapp/sps/site/prod_summary.jsp?code=i.MX515

There are already laptops with ARM processors. If I read Correctly.

Yes there are. And nobody uses them (for obvious reasons).

CaptainCannabis
May 27, 2011, 06:24 PM
If I could downvote this idea I would.

This is starting to suck just as much as Lion (which doesn't feel like a real OS anymore, it simply feels like a closed limited system watered down for dumb people).

Switching to Ubuntu.

diamond.g
May 27, 2011, 06:43 PM
There are arm CPU with PCIe buses. So no problem there.
Remember one PA semi specialties was switch chips for PCIe networks.
They had extensive knowledge of tying PCIe to low power processors.

If anyone can got thunderbolt to work on Arm it's those guys. I say this in past tense as I assumed this happen many months ago but not publicly.
Does it have the bandwidth for the interconnect?

KnightWRX
May 27, 2011, 06:43 PM
This is starting to suck just as much as Lion (which doesn't feel like a real OS anymore, it simply feels like a closed limited system watered down for dumb people).

Switching to Ubuntu.

Oh the irony.

AppleScruff1
May 27, 2011, 08:35 PM
When Steve announced the Intel transition, he said OS X was designed to be CPU agnostic so they can switch without much difficulty. Steve is not all about PowerPC/Intel/ARM/MIPS/whatever, he is all about user experience.

More like all about profits and control.

Starfires
May 27, 2011, 08:40 PM
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3_2 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Mobile/8H7)

I'm thinking ARM alongside Intel, so with a touchscreen you can run the iOS apps when you want, or for a supremely low-power mode. A bit like Nvidia Optimus.

AidenShaw
May 27, 2011, 08:51 PM
More like all about profits and control.

I hope that the post-Jobs era is more balanced.

KPOM
May 27, 2011, 09:38 PM
I hope that the post-Jobs era is more balanced.

More likely the next CEO will be tilted more toward milking the cash cow that Jobs leaves him or her. Companies are in the business of making money. Steve Jobs, as a founder who made a successful transition to big company CEO, is a bit different since he's more visionary. That's not to say Jobs is necessarily more consumer-focused than his successor, but up to this point, he's done a good job of predicting consumer tastes.

AppleScruff1
May 27, 2011, 09:51 PM
More likely the next CEO will be tilted more toward milking the cash cow that Jobs leaves him or her. Companies are in the business of making money. Steve Jobs, as a founder who made a successful transition to big company CEO, is a bit different since he's more visionary. That's not to say Jobs is necessarily more consumer-focused than his successor, but up to this point, he's done a good job of predicting consumer tastes.

This is quite possible. The next era of leadership may try resting on their laurels a bit more. I think I disagree with you about Jobs predicting consumer tastes. I think he actually created it and put in the consumers mind and convinced them that is what they wanted. The consumer didn't know what they wanted. The man is a marketing genius and has produced some high quality products. And the rest is history.

AidenShaw
May 27, 2011, 10:52 PM
The man is a marketing genius and has produced some high quality products. And the rest is history.

...and before too long, any man is history.

shawmanus
May 28, 2011, 01:42 AM
For those who think ARM will be just able to scale up to SNB performance must read article by David Kanter.

http://www.realworldtech.com/page.cfm?ArticleID=RWT050911220752

the8thark
May 28, 2011, 04:19 AM
think is just like Apple and Intel. I'll explain.

Apple had OS X running off intel hardware long before the public PPC to intel switch. I'm sure when they started developing OS X for intel they had no need to make it public. Just for their lab testing purposes. But it was a nice insurance policy. If the PPC architecture went belly up Apple would have to spend yeats making OS X work for another architecture. In this case the intel one.

But Apple spent those years making it work for intel much before it was even needed. So when it was needed the transition could immediately take place. They didn't have to wait a few years first to make it work them transition. That wait would have killed Apple.

And it's the same with OS X on ARM. Will Apple ever release a public OS X for ARM? In the foreseeable future probably not. But if anything happened to Intel and ARM suddenly became the architecture to go with, Apple will have already have made it work so they can immediately transition.

Apart from the geek fun factor. It's a little like Apple Care. You probably will not need it. But if on the rare occasion you do need it (The PPC to Intel switch a good example of when they did need it) they'll be so glad they had already did the work in the past.

Alvi
May 28, 2011, 09:33 AM
Makes sense, I wouldn't be surprised to see this on Mac OS 10.8 or 10.9 or even 11/(my theory of a unique OS for both Handheld devices and desktop/Laptop computers)

Some fast iPad-ish chip could be as fast as a Core2Duo Processor that is now in the MacBook Airs

KnightWRX
May 28, 2011, 10:32 AM
(my theory of a unique OS for both Handheld devices and desktop/Laptop computers)

iOS and OS X already are a unique OS.

mabaker
May 28, 2011, 01:24 PM
A5 Powerbooks next Tuesday! :apple:

best line ever. :) Bring them on.

And the idea of having A5 driven MBA is a FANTASTIC one. iPad thinness with the power of a dual A5 processor. A dream. :)

kdimitt
May 28, 2011, 02:35 PM
If I could downvote this idea I would.

This is starting to suck just as much as Lion (which doesn't feel like a real OS anymore, it simply feels like a closed limited system watered down for dumb people).

Switching to Ubuntu.

Wow, please elaborate. What is a "real" operating system? Convenience does not make it closed. Please tell me every single thing that Lion will not allow you to that you could previously do. Then, explain to me how that is life-changing to you. Seriously.

kdimitt
May 28, 2011, 02:37 PM
best line ever. :) Bring them on.

And the idea of having A5 driven MBA is a FANTASTIC one. iPad thinness with the power of a dual A5 processor. A dream. :)

An A5 processor, in it's current generation, running Mac OS X Lion....yeah, definitely sounds like a dream...not.

SeattleMoose
May 28, 2011, 03:34 PM
since MBA is typically used by people to do the same things others do on their iPads.

Otherwise, too whimpy to be used for any serious computer usage (video, audio, etc.).

cirus
May 28, 2011, 03:56 PM
I don't know.

If this is true for the A5 chip then apple will effectively be selling a sub-netbook level computer. Many of the netbooks out there do get 6-9 hour battery life so there would not be a huge jump in battery life (the screen uses quite a bit of power after all).

If this does turn out to be true then apple will be selling a sub netbook level or netbook level device (probably running a version of iOS and so will not be as slow as netbooks running a full OS). However, for this to be economically feasible, it will have to compete with the other netbooks out there which cost $200-$400. The problem is, I don't see apple lowering the price to that level.

Bonte
May 28, 2011, 05:43 PM
This is quite possible. The next era of leadership may try resting on their laurels a bit more. I think I disagree with you about Jobs predicting consumer tastes. I think he actually created it and put in the consumers mind and convinced them that is what they wanted. The consumer didn't know what they wanted.

The iPad/iPhone was internally known as the "Safari Pad" and the first version of the iPhone was basically Safari with web-apps. Apple added real apps later on because the users were demanding them, it goes both ways.

' r i S e n
May 28, 2011, 05:48 PM
This is actually really neat, and will make the Air even more unique in comparison to the other notebook models.

Nameci
May 28, 2011, 05:50 PM
This is what we call progress.

coldmack
May 28, 2011, 06:31 PM
The moment this happens people will be in the street dancing ding dong the witch is dead the wicked Intel witch is dead. Then months later we will see companies like Toshiba, Sony, and Asus will make press releases that they have to leave the computer market because they can't compete with the greatest computer line on the market. Oh h to the e to double hockey sticks yes!

AppleScruff1
May 28, 2011, 08:29 PM
The moment this happens people will be in the street dancing ding dong the witch is dead the wicked Intel witch is dead. Then months later we will see companies like Toshiba, Sony, and Asus will make press releases that they have to leave the computer market because they can't compete with the greatest computer line on the market. Oh h to the e to double hockey sticks yes!

Only a complete moron would think that would be a good thing.

coldmack
May 28, 2011, 10:57 PM
Only a complete moron would think that would be a good thing.
I would beg to differ, and we will see how much more the Apple brand will soar once Intel Mac meets its demise. Mac has been dying in the Pro space, and it mostly has to do with Intel(some of it also has to do Apple focusing on the iPhone and domination in that sector), but once this dark time passes over and we leave Intel(garbagetel really), then the Mac brand will rise back up to Pro prominence it once had before the Intel. Think about it, a CPU that can be designed and made how Apple really wants it, not a company who all they care about is taking your dole as you are tied up in room that smells rancid. Think about a quad core Air that is fanless(or at the very least uses a small fan), 10-12 hours of battery life, thinner than it currently is by a good margin and is extra fun to use like an iPad, but it runs a OSX Lion. Yeah it could be that good our Mac laptops.

AidenShaw
May 28, 2011, 11:08 PM
I would beg to differ, and we will see how much more the Apple brand will soar once Intel Mac meets its demise. Mac has been dying in the Pro space, and it mostly has to do with Intel (some of it also has to do Apple focusing on the iPhone and domination in that sector)

Is Intel refusing to sell Core i7 CPUs to Apple, so that Apple's only choice for an expandable desktop is the oversized, overpriced maxi-tower called the Mac Pro? Is Intel refusing to let Apple produce an affordable, expandable mini-tower? Did Intel tell Apple to stop making the only pro server (the entry-level Xserve)?

Apple is dying in the pro space because Apple isn't providing the systems (e.g. single socket mini-tower, portable workstations rather than anorexic super-thin fashion accessories) and features (e.g. Blu-ray Discs, eSATA, 3G/4G modems) that pros need.


...and we leave Intel (garbagetel really)

Junior high school students like to come up with (what they think are clever) puns on names.


Think about a quad core Air that is fanless(or at the very least uses a small fan), 10-12 hours of battery life, thinner than it currently is by a good margin and is extra fun to use like an iPad, but it runs a OSX Lion.

Who is making such a CPU?

bniu
May 28, 2011, 11:30 PM
Apple has teams testing OS X on all sorts of CPUs. Remember WWDC 2005 where Steve revealed that 10.0 through 10.3 had all been compiled on Intel CPUs? One of the key requirements of OS X is to be processor independent. I'm not surprised they're trying out OS X on the A5. Heck, i'm sure they've even run OSX on the A4 before as well.

maclaptop
May 28, 2011, 11:55 PM
I knew sooner or later Apple would cave in, after spending lots of time convincing their followers they'd never do it. Apple can be predictable at times. Finally we may get an Apple netbook.

Just imagine the premium we'll pay :)

AidenShaw
May 29, 2011, 12:02 AM
Apple has teams testing OS X on all sorts of CPUs. Remember WWDC 2005 where Steve revealed that 10.0 through 10.3 had all been compiled on Intel CPUs? One of the key requirements of OS X is to be processor independent. I'm not surprised they're trying out OS X on the A5. Heck, i'm sure they've even run OSX on the A4 before as well.

I would also be surprised if Apple isn't building and testing OSX on ARM, PowerPC, and other mainstream architectures frequently.

"Processor independence" isn't free - you not only have to train your development team to think about it, you also have to actually build and test across different architectures.

Even if you don't ship on an architecture, you may want to build and test against it.

For example, PPC is currently dead as far as Apple is concerned -but PPC is "big-endian" where Intel is "little-endian". If Apple wants to verify that "little-endian specific" code doesn't creep into Apple OSX, then continuing to build and test the PPC version of Apple OSX is the way to test.

While I've said "build and test" repeatedly, for some architectures the "test" part can be a problem if reasonable hardware doesn't exist. How could you test Apple OSX on an Ipad? It has no mouse, nor a keyboard. Perhaps the BlueTooth support in Apple OSX will take care of that - or perhaps the BlueTooth controller on the Ipad is one for which there is no driver in Apple OSX.

coldmack
May 29, 2011, 01:09 AM
Who is making such a CPU?
Nvidia, Texas Instruments, Qualcomm, Samsung, Freescale ZiiLabs......take your pick. Nvidia and both TI currently have quad core cpus in the pipeline coming out sometime this year, and I am sure the others have plans of this also.

lilo777
May 29, 2011, 01:28 AM
Nvidia, Texas Instruments, Qualcomm, Samsung, Freescale ZiiLabs......take your pick. Nvidia and both TI currently have quad core cpus in the pipeline coming out sometime this year, and I am sure the others have plans of this also.

The length of the list itself clearly indicates that those are comparatively simple CPUs nowhere near the complexity and performance of x86 devices. Just read a good article suggested by shawmanus here (http://www.realworldtech.com/page.cfm?ArticleID=RWT050911220752). It explains in details why ARM is not suitable architecture for laptops (or any modern computers to that matter).

Rodimus Prime
May 29, 2011, 01:42 AM
I would beg to differ, and we will see how much more the Apple brand will soar once Intel Mac meets its demise. Mac has been dying in the Pro space, and it mostly has to do with Intel(some of it also has to do Apple focusing on the iPhone and domination in that sector), but once this dark time passes over and we leave Intel(garbagetel really), then the Mac brand will rise back up to Pro prominence it once had before the Intel. Think about it, a CPU that can be designed and made how Apple really wants it, not a company who all they care about is taking your dole as you are tied up in room that smells rancid. Think about a quad core Air that is fanless(or at the very least uses a small fan), 10-12 hours of battery life, thinner than it currently is by a good margin and is extra fun to use like an iPad, but it runs a OSX Lion. Yeah it could be that good our Mac laptops.

Intel was a good thing for it. PPC was killing Apple and if they went back to a RISC design chip again the software gains they have made will drop like a rock. Company will say FU to apple and not dev for it. The cost for the small market will sky rocket compared to now. Now porting over to OSX from windows or dual developing is a hell of a lot easier as they are the same chip as the rest of the world. Most of the stuff can be written and recompliled and have relatively minor changes done to them and require a lot less work to optimise the stuff. Change ARM well now you are going to have a huge shortage of programers who first know how to program for ARM. 2nd most of the compililers out there sure as hell are NOT opimises for ARM and then doing clean up between different OS will be a lot nastier and a lot harder.


Nvidia, Texas Instruments, Qualcomm, Samsung, Freescale ZiiLabs......take your pick. Nvidia and both TI currently have quad core cpus in the pipeline coming out sometime this year, and I am sure the others have plans of this also.


umm cores does not mean much. You are believe a multicore myth like the Mhz myth of the past. More cores does not mean faster.
ARM does not scale very well. It is great at low speeds and things that a phone needs in terms of power but when you scale that up to laptop or desktop power demands they suck. They just do not have the power to handle the stuff plane and simple. Power effeminacy goes out the window and it can take 10x more power to do the same task as an x86-64 chip.

Yes they can and do make dual core 1.2Ghz ARM chip but that does not mean much when you put the demands of a modern laptop on them. I am willing to bet good money that my i7 laptop running on 1 of it cores and at a clock down speed of 1 ghz (from its standard 1.6) would still out perform it.

bimmzy
May 29, 2011, 04:57 AM
Just because ARM hasn't been used for desktop style computing (mac os based rather than iso based) doesn't mean it can't or won't happen.

Remember porting applications to ARM is not a world apart from porting them to PPC. After all they both use a similar instruction set (RISC). Furthermore PPC was a developmental step-up from ARM style processing. Of course there have been advances in ARM processors since the 90s when IBM and Apple started their collaboration.

I'm quite sure Apple's version of Xcode at Cupertino is already porting across multiple platforms. A good example would be iMovie 11, a 64 bit X86 application happily running on 32 bit ARM.
How much time it took to debug after compiling is anyones guess, but i suspect it wasn't that long, as the same team developing video products at apple, are currently up to there eyeballs working on the new Final Cut Pro.

It's worth noting that there are already allot of programmers capable of writing RISC code, and they're not just doing it for Apple.
ARM processors can be found in almost any kind of electronics, or machines that require cheep computing power, and not just found in tablet or palm computers.
Now add the developers writing code for the iphone and ipad, and dare i say those writing for Android devices too. All in all there are a lot of ARM programmers out there! But more than that. Not so long ago the big developers like Adobe wrote all their OS X software for Apples RISC processors.

What it will take for ARM to run Lion or its successor, will be a bump in performance. Maybe the rumour about MAC OS and ARM is less about the desktop and more about a faster chip in the pipeline!

diamond.g
May 29, 2011, 08:00 AM
Just because ARM hasn't been used for desktop style computing (mac os based rather than iso based) doesn't mean it can't or won't happen.

Remember porting applications to ARM is not a world apart from porting them to PPC. After all they both use a similar instruction set (RISC). Furthermore PPC was a developmental step-up from ARM style processing. Of course there have been advances in ARM processors since the 90s when IBM and Apple started their collaboration.

I'm quite sure Apple's version of Xcode at Cupertino is already porting across multiple platforms. A good example would be iMovie 11, a 64 bit X86 application happily running on 32 bit ARM.
How much time it took to debug after compiling is anyones guess, but i suspect it wasn't that long, as the same team developing video products at apple, are currently up to there eyeballs working on the new Final Cut Pro.

It's worth noting that there are already allot of programmers capable of writing RISC code, and they're not just doing it for Apple.
ARM processors can be found in almost any kind of electronics, or machines that require cheep computing power, and not just found in tablet or palm computers.
Now add the developers writing code for the iphone and ipad, and dare i say those writing for Android devices too. All in all there are a lot of ARM programmers out there! But more than that. Not so long ago the big developers like Adobe wrote all their OS X software for Apples RISC processors.

What it will take for ARM to run Lion or its successor, will be a bump in performance. Maybe the rumour about MAC OS and ARM is less about the desktop and more about a faster chip in the pipeline!
iMovie isn't 64 bit. You also notice you can't share projects across platforms either.

KnightWRX
May 29, 2011, 08:07 AM
Remember porting applications to ARM is not a world apart from porting them to PPC. After all they both use a similar instruction set (RISC).

Uh... I think someone hasn't programmed in a long time. Porting applications and the complexity behind it has nothing to do with CISC and RISC anymore. Almost no one writes assembly these days.

MacNewsFix
May 29, 2011, 12:07 PM
...and before too long, any man is history.

Exactly. (http://www.macgasm.net/2011/05/29/call-ballmer-step-microsoft-blood-step/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+macgasm%2Fmain+%28Macgasm%29) Hey (http://blogs.forbes.com/ericsavitz/2011/05/26/microsoft-investor-einhorn-says-steve-ballmer-should-step-down/), we (http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/1047447/pressure-mounts-on-ballmer-to-step-down) finally (http://theweek.com/article/index/215714/should-microsoft-ceo-steve-ballmer-step-down) agree (http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/228714/ballmer_needs_to_step_down_says_hedge_fund_manager.html) on (http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2385950,00.asp) something (http://www.destructoid.com/microsoft-s-steve-ballmer-being-called-to-step-down-202064.phtml)!
:p